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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Henry Williamson


Plymouth

13.2.33 

Dear H.W.

I've been grinning through the week-end over The Falcon, of which a vellum and gold copy reached me from Faber on Saturday.

By the same post arrived a plain copy, sent me from an indignant reviewer, demanding to know why I had fathered this decadent bilge upon an innocent world! It's a queer world, my mistresses!

The Falcon has that jumpy, nervous, stippled technique that you were developing in The Dream of Women. It fits a jazzy subject, and conveys an astonishing sense of movement, all through the tale.

I thought old Homer duplicated too often. Tricks in books feel sharper than in real life. There are several astonishing bits of characterisation. The climax was perhaps your only way out of a difficulty... but about it I'd repeat my 'tricks' remark. All right in life, but too coloured for a tale.

Wrink I didn’t recognise: but all your contemporaries (except Priestley, perhaps) will recognise themselves preeningly. I preened. Are my letters real extracts, or have you polished?

To write the day after's not wise. I can't say how I really regard the book. You are a long way from the chiselled and rather static prose of your beginning: and it is always good to go on, and bad to repeat. Only I sometimes wonder where you are going.

They'll all call Manfred a self-portrait: but somehow I remember you as much more solid than that. I wish I could get over to you and see. Will they leave me in Plymouth this summer, or will it be Hythe, again? Ever so many thanks for the book. It has been a great pleasure for 8 hours reading, and will be re-read before I write to you properly.

Yours

T. E. Shaw

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Source: DG 761-2
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 1 January 2006


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