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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to David Garnett



Dear D.G.

You will have thought me buried, or burnt: whereas I have only been away for months in Southampton Water, wholly engrossed in tuning and testing new fast motor-boats being designed for the R.A.F. No Easter holiday, no Whitsun: and no near holiday yet, I fear.

The Grasshoppers is however imperative need for a letter. In it you have suddenly broken, I think, into sincerity. The flying is real. For the first time, in all that you have written, I feel a necessity of utterance, a fusion of matter and manner so complete that the manner is almost absorbed. Only one precious word I saw - 'sighed' for the prop-tip - and what a good word!

You told me about the tale long months ago, and it frightened me that one with no sense of the air should touch it. There are so many bad flying books. Then you went flying, and qualified yourself superbly, and this little masterpiece is it. I'm only sorry that he should have had but the one eye and a big tooth, like Hinchcliffe. Probably that is an accident.

The book has pleased me quite beyond what I had thought possible. It is the first account of real flying by a real writer who can really fly: and it gave me a very great sense of long distance, and of the incommunicable cradle-dandling which is a cockpit in flight.


T. E. Shaw.

Note. David Garnett, The Grasshoppers came (London, 1931)  

Source: DG 723-724  
Checked: dn/  
Last revised: 3 February 2006  

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