Updated July 2012
T. E. Lawrence to C. J. Greenwood
I must apologise for my seeming remissness: all your letters waited here, while I dodged the pressmen. I have been seeing the bigger noises with the newspaper world, and have promised them never to earn another paragraph, while they effectually leave me alone. An unholy contract which puts me into cold storage - but there seems no alternative.
Now about your case. It seems to be monstrous. To say that every publisher is at the mercy of the discretion of any Police Chief, at any time - why, it makes publication an almost impossibility. This altogether apart from the personal question of penalties assessed upon your firm and yourselves. They seem wholly disproportionate to Boriswood, but would be a fleabite to Macmillan, for example. What evidence had the Judge as to your means?
It does not seem to me that the Authors' Society has much right of entry. Hanley has not been involved (and will not savour being dragged in!) and that rather cuts E.M.F. out of it. It would be a new thing for the body of authors to rush to the defence of a publisher: unless the body of publishers was also active in your defence and should call upon the body of authors to help. What chance is there of concerted protest by the governing body of Publishers? Not much, I gather. The big ones disregard the little ones.
I saw E.M.F. while the case was pending and talked to him about it. He is one of the few writers who might dare lead an attempt at help. Most of them are afraid of the word sodomy. I wonder why?
I thought it would be more effective if I tackled E.M.F. before rather than after judgement. A very subtle mind, that one. You are seeing him, you say: he likes Hanley's work (but not The Furys) and will help, if he can. I do not know how much he weighs with the Authors' Society. I am so out of things, after all these years.
I don't want to come up to London again, at the moment: short of cash, full of cottage-duties, very empty in mind, tired-out, and futile feeling. But I feel, too, that your case is a dangerous one, an inroad on book-security. It ought to be the publishers move, all the same. I wish Cape was not abroad. He can mobilise the young ones and compel the old stodgers to move. Without him there is no courage in their ranks: and many of them resent your rise.
Let me know how the E.M.F. interview goes, and of any other concrete measures of help.
|Last revised:||15 January 2006|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset