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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to E. M. Forster


13 Birmingham St
Southampton

24.V.34

Dear E.M.F.

It is Thursday night, and I have just finished your life of G.L.D., upon which I have been quite happy for many evenings. In the daytime I run boats up and down the Solent ( and shall do, for another month ) and in the evening I try always to read a little.

Your book has been quite precious. The restraint, the beautiful tidiness of it, the subtlety, and its commonsense... your glorification of quiet and care for the average man... all these points lift it far above ordinary biography. It must have been hard to do, but seldom can an artist have so surely and confidently achieved his aim. The very care to avoid the unattainable is wisdom. Full marks to you. I wish I had known G.L.D.

I found pleasure in your wit widespread over the pages. The sentence 'She forgave him' is almost your best: not so quotable as the smoking-room chairs, but of greater style. I looked back at it three or four times as I read further, just for the pleasure of its finality.

Your quotations, where you quote so often, are quite beautifully inlaid into the texture. It is a very self-sacrificing book too. Very very good.

I am late in telling you so: but I was away in Wolverhampton when I got the book, and my leisure for reading is now so small. March next, and I leave the R.A.F. for a boundless prospect of leisure at Clouds Hill. Let us try to meet, then.

Yours

T.E.S.

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Source: DG 804-5
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 17 January 2006

 



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