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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Edward Garnett


13 Birmingham Street,
Southampton

5.10.33.

Dear E.G.

It is most good of you to have sent that Prussian Officer - a very difficult book to get. I now have all the essential D.H.L. - which is good! At the same time I feel a little guilty of greed: you should have sold this duplicate for much silver money, and had a weekend on the profits (Or perhaps you shouldn't; some scruple makes me unable to sell books by people I like. I profiteered once on Galsworthy firsts - but that was different. He left me cold.)

The curiosity is indeed a curiosity. I wonder what took you into publishing, forty-four years ago? And so small a book. As you say, the two short sketches show power and a sustained line of excitement which is very instructive. From them I turned to the first, long, story: and was left puzzled. The gift of description, the sense of character - and by contrast the XIXth Cent. Moral. Very strange it is. Whoever wrote it was no negligible person.

The book-plate is nice, but puzzling: for Ford Madox Brown was alive a hundred years ago, and the forerunner of the pre-Raphaelites. It's no use your pretending to be as old as that. Perhaps your father knew him, and he knew you as a child and did it for you as a gift? It is a remarkable spanning of the generations. Did you use it as a book-plate? I'm not able to put any mark in my books - unless, sometimes, T.E.S. in pencil on the fly-leaf corner. Whence, I suppose, my losses partly flow. However from the cottage there will be no borrowers and so no losses!

By my energy and your gifts I am now complete on D.H.L., Crane and Reynolds. This weekend I am at the cottage, and aspire to read Wounds in the Rain or something of the sort - and then I'll try and tell you more about my modern idea of Crane. I remember him as a man of astonishment - one who surprised and shocked, by turns of incident and vivid phrases. Rather that, than a sustained artist. But that is an inarticulate memory, the surviving notion after years of neglect. I have always meant, in my leisured age, to re-read all those men who
excited me in my youth.

T.E.S.

Little Dunn is so pleased and happy. Asked if he ought to thank you. I have said we will all three meet in London, some time. I think you would be good for him. He is too timid - and too drastic - by fits.

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Source: DG 778-9
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 21 January 2006

 



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