Do you personally believe everything Lawrence wrote in his book the Seven Pillars of Wisdom? I read that there is a debate over the whole Deraa scene.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom was written several years after the war and I’m sure due to the passage of time and Lawrence’s tendency to exaggerate and glorify, there are likely some inaccuracies. In addition, the book was actually written three times. The first draft of the book was lost at a train station and Lawrence had to rewrite the entire book from start to finish. The second draft was burned because he felt it was a failure. He did keep a journal and notes during the war, which he used to guide his memories, but he destroyed many of these notes after the completion of his first (lost) draft, which means that the second two drafts were probably less accurate.
Am I the only one hoping that someday the lost first manuscript turns up in a British attic somewhere?
As for the Deraa scene, you can read my feelings about it from a previous question: http://telawrence.com/post/59102038678/was-lawrence-tortured-when-captured
Was Lawrence the shortest out of his brothers?
A page from the promotional brochure for Lowell Thomas’ “With Allenby in Palestine,” a travelogue which propelled T.E. Lawrence to fame. Circa 1920. Click to enlarge!
My husband and I are planning a UK trip this October. I'm so excited to get to see Lawrence's cottage at Cloud's Hill, but I'm hoping to see other items of his in London museums. I know his motorcycle had been at the Imperial War Museum, but heard it had been taken out? Do you know if it's still on display somewhere? What other Lawrence sites would you recommend around London? Thanks!
Even if Lawrence’s motorcycle has been removed from the Imperial War Museum (can any readers confirm or deny this?) there are still a few of his war relics on display there and I would definitely still pay the museum a visit. Plus, it’s a great museum regardless, especially if you love history. You could also visit 14 Barton Street in Westminster. This is where T.E. lived when he wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom. I don’t think the building allows for tours, but it’s always interesting the visit the haunts of historical figures. Eric Kennington’s bust of Lawrence can be seen in St. Paul’s Cathedral, the same one that appears at the beginning of the film Lawrence of Arabia, if I’m not mistaken.
When you visit Dorset to see Cloud’s Hill, you could also check out a few things: his grave in Morton cemetery, Kennington’s carved effigy at a church in Wareham, and the Bovington Tank Museum.
Do any readers have any additional recommendations for Lawrence sites in London or Dorset?
I’ve had a few requests to share my favorite books about T.E. Lawrence. I tried to limit myself to just those books I find myself reaching for often.
- My favorite biography is John E. Mack’s A Prince of Our Disorder. I’m partial towards it because it was the first Lawrence biography I read, but it is also well-researched, beautifully written, and I enjoyed the psychological analysis Mack provides. The author was a psychiatrist and professor at Harvard.
- Victoria Ocampo’s 338171, T.E. (Lawrence of Arabia) is another interesting read, a short biography by an Argentinian writer. T.E. Lawrence’s brother Arnold felt that it gave the best-balanced portrait of T.E.
- Harold Orlans’ T.E. Lawrence: Biography of a Broken Hero discusses obscure aspects of Lawrence’s life in great detail — things that are usually left out or only touched upon in most biographies.
- I think my favorite books are those of his letters. I’m a little more partial towards David Garnett’s Letters of T.E. Lawrence, but Malcolm Brown’s T.E. Lawrence: The Selected Letters is another essential. There’s a lot of overlap, but Malcolm Brown’s book contains letters that were purposefully omitted from Garnett’s.
- T.E. Lawrence by His Friends was edited by Lawrence’s youngest brother Arnold Lawrence. It is a collection of stories about T.E. from his dearest friends and colleagues.
- Finally, for beautiful photographs, I include Joseph Berton’s T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt and Malcolm Brown’s Lawrence of Arabia: the Life, the Legend.
I haven’t got a heart: only the former site of one, with a monument there to say that it has been removed and the area it occupied turned into a public garden, in pursuance of the slum-clearance scheme.
T.E. Lawrence to Lady Astor, 1930.
When did Clare Sydney Smith die and where is she buried? There is little or no information on her after The Golden Reign.
Sorry, I have no clue on this one! Any readers have any information?