Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to G. W. M. Dunn
Like me, your main life chokes the side issues. The R.A.F. detached me to Hythe on special duty, to test and tune their new-type speed-boats for the Schneider Cup. So two months flew; leaving me weary and quite unrepentant.
Only the Odyssey is unfinished, and the unhappy publisher is unhappier, apparently. However, in his contract I put the clause 'service conditions permitting' and so am saved.
It is to be published by subscription only, through Emery Walker, and will be 12 guineas and then some! My brother is, I fancy, doing Herodotus. I hope so. It would be beyond a joke if the family competed in Odysseys: and he would probably out-do me, he being a scholar.
Even so you have not written any more poems, and don't feel like it? Ah well. There is always the R.A.F. to fall back upon. I am ever astonished at the chance given us. For thousands of years nature has held this mastery of the last element in her lap, patiently waiting for our generation, and you and I are of the lucky ones chosen.
By this lyric outburst you will understand that this morning I was hut orderly, and got checked for dull brass door-knobs: though I had really cleaned them: but a foggy sea-coast station does not deserve brass anywhere.
Some day spur yourself to write something. There was hope in your Engines.
|Last revised:||3 February 2006|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset