Military Report on the Sinai Peninsula
Towards 'An English Fourth'
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text
Paperback edition in preparation
'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 (forthcoming)
Correspondence with Henry Williamson
Check for programme updates on our News page
The T. E. Lawrence Letters series
A definitive edition of T.E. Lawrence's correspondence including much previously unpublished material.
T. E. Lawrence was remarkable, among other things, for the quality of his letters. It is not just that they are interesting and well-written; they also provide intriguing links to different aspects of British life in the first half of the twentieth century. As many have discovered, an interest in Lawrence can quickly become a gateway to the history and culture of his time.
He corresponded with writers such as John Buchan, E.M. Forster, David Garnett, Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, and Bernard Shaw; artists such as Augustus John, Eric Kennington, Paul Nash, William Roberts and William Rothenstein; archaeologists and travellers such as Gertrude Bell, C.M. Doughty and D.G. Hogarth, and public figures such as Nancy Astor, Winston Churchill and Lord Trenchard.
Lawrence's career and personality often provoked strong reactions in people he met. Some admired and respected him. Others questioned his achievements and resented his post-war enlistment. Someone's reaction to Lawrence often provides clues to their attitudes towards other topics.
Around six thousand of his letters survive, as do a fair number of those he received. The major letters collections edited by David Garnett (1938) and Malcolm Brown (1988) include only a fraction of this material.
History of the project
I first discussed the idea of a major scholarly edition of T.E. Lawrence's letters with his brother and literary executor A.W. Lawrence in the late 1960s. For years I tried to persuade commercial and university publishers to take on the project - but with no success.
Commercial publishers saw Lawrence mainly as a topic for sensational or controversial popular biographies. They didn't see a worthwhile market for more serious work.
Academics dislike the popular legend, but have done little to correct it. The problem is simple: Lawrence's career crossed too many academic demarcations. No university department feels that his entire life falls within its competence.
I might have abandoned the project, but in 1988 I edited Lawrence's Letters to E. T. Leeds for John Randle's Whittington Press. Its success showed a way to publish editions of letters without using third-party publishers. If my wife and I were willing to tackle the production and marketing – areas where we had some experience – we could set up a publishing company of our own. By selling direct, we could publish scholarly editions to standards that we, rather than a commercial publisher's finance director, thought fit. That would apply not only to the editing, but also to design, typesetting, paper, printing, and binding.
The first two volumes in our T.E. Lawrence Letters series appeared in 2000. In all, we plan to publish around twenty. The general pre-war, wartime, political and service volumes will be chronological. Other volumes will group the correspondence and collateral material for individual recipients.
There is unlikely to be another major edition of T. E. Lawrence's letters, so the editing takes account of the needs of future readers. Many of them will be far less familiar than we are today with the history of Britain in the first half of the twentieth century.
Each volume will make a valuable contribution to knowledge of both Lawrence and the other party to the correspondence.
Vols I, II, III and IX, subscribers' bindings
Note: The revenue from volumes in the T.E. Lawrence Letters series has to cover not only the cost of producing and marketing the books, but also the cost of editorial research. The volumes are therefore more expensive than popular trade editions. We are very conscious of this - but there is no other solution. If revenue from the volumes failed to cover costs, the project would halt.
Nevertheless, for buyers the cost of volumes is a tiny fraction of the cost of securing accurate transcripts of the original letters and then doing all the editorial research and indexing. Our indexer Hazel Bell won Britain's top indexing award, the Wheatley Medal, for her index of our 1922 Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
The quality of Castle Hill Press editions has been highly praised. Each title is offered on a subscription basis for a set period before publication, and thereafter by direct sale. See FAQs for general information on Castle Hill Press editions and replies to questions about our work.
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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.