Glad you are reading the thing. Please don’t inhibit yourself from scribbling comments of an insulting sort in the margins, made especially wide for the purpose. Your praise makes my stomach warm: but your criticisms are really helpful: whether in the field of morality, belles-lettres, tactics, or just manners. Down with them while you can!
The ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ is a quotation from Proverbs: it is used as a title out of sentiment: for I wrote a youthful indiscretionary book, so called, in 1913 and burned it (as immature) in ‘14 when I enlisted. It recounted adventures in seven type-cities of the East (Cairo, Bagdad, Damascus etc) & arranged their characters into a descending cadence: a moral symphony. It was a queer book, upon whose difficulties I look back with a not ungrateful wryness: and in memory of it I named the new book, which will probably be the only one I ever write, & which sums up & exhausts me to the date of 1919.
|—||T.E. Lawrence to Robin Buxton, 1923|
Bedouin and Circassian chiefs on the Aerodrome at Amman, 1921. T.E. Lawrence is seen on the far right in suit and hat.
Happy Halloween! I thought I would share with you my Lawrence of Arabia (film version) costume from ten years ago complete with hilariously terrible Photoshopping skills. I can’t believe I am posting this. If you have a Lawrence-related costume you would like posted on the blog today, send it over and I will post it!
T.E. Lawrence’s drawing of a Syrian castle (Citadel of Salah Ed-Din) which he produced on his walking tour of Lebanon and Syria in 1909. He was gathering information and evidence for his senior thesis at Oxford which was later published under the title Crusader Castles.
|—||T.E. Lawrence to Colonel S.F. Newcombe, February 1929.|
Thanks so much for your kind words and good luck in your quest for books! My collection took me a number of years to amass (and it’s still growing) — but it’s a fun and worthwhile hobby. Also a great conversation piece when guests come over and stare at them in disbelief, when previously they had no idea T.E Lawrence was an actual historical figure and not just some guy played by Peter O’Toole in an old movie.
The quote from the cover of Seven Pillars of Wisdom comes from a letter that T.E. wrote to artist Eric Kennington in 1922:
"The sword was odd. The Arab Movement was one: Feisal another (his name means a flashing sword): then there is the excluded notion, Garden of Eden touch: and the division meaning, like the sword in the bed of mixed sleeping, from the Morte d’Arthur. I don’t know which was in your mind, but they all came to me — and the sword also means clean-ness, and death.”
As far as I know, he did not create the drawing of the sabers on the cover of Seven Pillars. T.E. was actually a talented artist (in a variety of mediums), but I have also never seen one of his letters with doodles or drawings. He hired a number of artists to create illustrations and portraits for Seven Pillars and none of his own artwork appears in the book. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that Kennington created it as he was the book’s art editor in addition to being one of the primary contributing artists.