Military Report on the Sinai Peninsula
Towards 'An English Fourth'
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text
'The Mint' and Later Writings About Service Life
Boats for the R.A.F. 1929-1935
reports and correspondence
The Forest Giant
Correspondence with Bernard and Charlotte Shaw
Correspondence with E. M. Forster and F.L. Lucas
More Correspondence with Writers
Correspondence with Edward and David Garnett
Correspondence with Henry Williamson
Translating the Bruce Rogers 'Odyssey'
Correspondence with the Political Elite 1922-1935
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T. E. Lawrence, Correspondence with Henry Williamson
Edited by Peter Wilson
With a Preface by Jeremy Wilson and a biographical Prologue and Epilogue by Anne Williamson
T. E. Lawrence Letters, Volume IX
First edition, limited to about 500 numbered copies (originally 702 copies, but only about 500 were produced)
T. E. Lawrence was fascinated by the art of creative writing, and by creative writers. This fascination drew him into friendships with poets and novelists such as Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, Thomas Hardy and E.M. Forster. When Lawrence read Henry Williamson's Tarka the Otter in 1928, he recognised that its author had extraordinary descriptive power: 'I put Williamson very high as a writer,' he later wrote.
From this beginning grew a correspondence that lasted until Lawrence's death in 1935. The two kept one another’s letters, and the series printed here is largely complete.
Until now, the principal published accounts of their relationship have been those by Williamson, notably his contribution to T. E. Lawrence by his Friends (1937), and his book Genius of Friendship (1941). In this volume, we are able to read both sides of the correspondence for the first time. From this it becomes clear that Williamson's version reflects a personal view which Lawrence, on his side, probably did not share.
Nevertheless, even though their friendship may have seemed more important to Williamson than it did to Lawrence, it is easy to see why Lawrence kept in contact. Williamson's letters provide a fascinating insight into a novelist's mind, and it is not difficult to imagine that Lawrence valued them as greatly as he valued, for example, his letters from Robert Graves.
The parallel with Graves is relevant, because in some ways the two friendships followed a similar path. As Williamson became better established and more confident, he had less need of Lawrence's helpful criticisms and encouragement; or at any rate Lawrence felt that there was less that he could usefully offer. Gradually, their evident differences became more significant than the interest in the craft of writing that had drawn them together.
Just as Graves, while drafting Lawrence and the Arabs, had offended Lawrence by pandering to commercialism, so Williamson damaged the relationship in 1933 by including Lawrence, unasked, as a character called 'G.B. Everest' in The Gold Falcon – even quoting from his letters. Lawrence made light of it; but since he dreaded publicity he may well have feared that a closer friendship with such an unpredictable novelist would be a risk as long as he wished to remain in the ranks of the RAF.
Later, he was nonplussed when Williamson told him about the complications that had arisen from extra-marital entanglements (here again there is a parallel with Robert Graves). It is tempting to read into Lawrence's silence some kind of personal inhibition; but in truth, friendships often falter when one party or the other makes an unwarranted assumption of intimacy.
Despite these reservations, there really was an unusual quality in their relationship. Williamson is revealed here as a skilful and supremely observant writer, but nevertheless a man who was introspective, egocentric, insecure, and intensely lonely. Exactly the same words could be used to describe Lawrence, and the similarity that Williamson sensed was real. He was writing to someone he knew would understand.
238 pages. Tall octavo, trimmed page size 282x176mm. Typeset in Garamond by Castle Hill Press. Printed by The Burlington Press on 100 g.s.m. Supreme Bookwove, a high-quality acid-free paper.
- Quarter-cloth series binding, with stained top edge
- Subscribers' full cloth, with gilt top edge and dust jacket (no longer available)
- Library full-cloth, similar to the subscribers' cloth but with a stained top edge, issued without dust jacket.
Additional content in the special issues
The quarter-goatskin and full-goatskin bindings contain 16 pages of facsimiles, including the working draft of an apparently unpublished essay on Lawrence by Henry Williamson not printed elsewhere in the book
238 pages + 16 pages of facsimiles. Trimmed page size 282x176mm. Typeset in Garamond by Castle Hill Press. Printed by The Burlington Press on 100 g.s.m. Supreme Bookwove, a high-quality acid-free paper.
45 copies, numbered 56-100, contain a 16-page section of facsimiles not in the standard edition, in quarter brown goatskin with cloth sides; top edge gilt, hand-marbled end-papers. Issued in a card slipcase.
238 pages + 16 pages of facsimiles. Tall octavo, trimmed page size 282x176mm. Typeset in Garamond by Castle Hill Press. Printed by The Burlington Press on 100g.s.m. Supreme Bookwove, a high-quality acid-free paper.
40 copies, numbered 16-55, of a total edition of 475 copies, contain a 16-page section of facsimiles not in the standard edition and are bound in full brown goatskin. Hand-marbled end-papers, all edges gilt, head and tail bands. Issued in a rigid slipcase.
Related pagesList of contents
Foreword by Jeremy Wilson
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Some opinions of our work:
Considering the tastefulness of the physical design of the Castle Hill volumes - which undoubtedly would have pleased Lawrence, who was a devotee of William Morris's idea of 'the book beautiful' - and the spare tastefulness of their editing, and especially their making available important but otherwise hard-to-access texts, this is a project for which Lawrence scholars will indeed be grateful now and in years to come. [Professor Stephen E. Tabachnick, reviewing Castle Hill Press books in English Literature in Transition]
. . . I couldn't be more pleased. The attention to detail, and conception of this edition, are wonderful . . .
I cannot praise too highly the quality of the production, with exceptional clarity and beauty of print, the erudition of editing, and the excellent on-line service. Important correspondence in beautiful books - the perfect combination.
. . .Excellence in research and editing, and magnificently produced books in superb bindings. Last but not least, efficient and friendly service, with books posted in rock solid packaging.
. . . These books are a pleasure to own and read . . .. . . a quite invaluable job in publishing (very beautifully . . .) many of the writings of TEL which hitherto have been available only in manuscript form in museums, libraries or private collections, or in out-of-print books which are very hard to obtain.
An excellent set of publications that are beautifully edited and produced. A wonderful addition to my library and to any library.