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Updated July 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Sydney Cockerell

Ozone Hotel,


Well, I read The Valleys of the Assassins. I am grateful to you for the chance. She unfolds herself as a remarkable person. It is astonishing how the book takes life whenever she or anyone else speaks in it. Subtract the characters and the journeys fall dead. She uses far too many names, and hasn't the faculty to express places as she does people. A gallant creature. I hope she does not meet mishaps in Yemen or Hadhramaut. I suppose it is this Sheba myth that she pursues. Better that, anyway, than an uncrossed desert which when crossed proved to be empty. The political complexion at the moment might be favourable to her exploration.

Thank you very much for it. Press her, some day, to care far more than she does for the communication of landscape to her readers. She fails to 'see' it.

Yours ever


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Source: SCC 371-2
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 1 January 2006


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