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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Nancy Astor



If you see O'Casey again, before this letter grows cold, will you bless him from me? For I have seen his Park play twice, and it has cost me only half-a-crown in all. That is real kindness.

I don't want to see it again, for it is too painful, despite its beauty. How far he has gone since he was in Ireland, on paper! This play is London and human (and inhuman) nature: all of us, in fact: and about as helpless.

And talking of inhumanity, how dare he pile loads like these upon his actors and actresses? He asks the impossible, but gets, I think, more than he deserves. Poor dumb laden beasts.

The poignancy of Act ii, The Tassie, is not here: it could not be, for much lay in the contrast of that act's neighbours, in the wonderful lighting and setting; in the experience which came rawly upon those new from the war. This play deals with the life we all have to lead (temporarily) and so we dare not detach ourselves from it and criticise or pass judgement. That's why I do not want to see it again. However I shall read it once more, in the peace of my cottage, which is ever so fare away from his park - and equally solid, too, God be praised.

I was right in feeling that this play would be bigger seen and heard, than merely read.

Bless him again. He is a great man, still in movement. May it be long before he grows slow, stops, returns on his tracks! I have learned a great deal from him.

Your Airman

When a rare Irishman does go on growing, you see, he surpasses most men. Alas that they are so rare

Making for Southampton again.


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Source: DG 790
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 16 January 2006


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