The Many Ways of T. E. Lawrence
  • Charles M. Stang


In December 1927, on the strength of his singular work Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T. E. Lawrence was invited by Bruce Rogers, a talented American typographer, to undertake a new translation of Homer’s Odyssey—by Lawrence’s reckoning the twenty-eighth such translation into English. Nearly ten years since World War I and the Arab Revolt that won for him the epithet “of Arabia,” Lawrence was at that time in the ranks of the Royal Air Force, fleeing from the prison of his own legend in a remote air station in Karachi, India. He therefore accepted Rogers’s invitation on the condition that a “virgin” name, “Shaw,” be attached to the translation.1


Wild Boar Mountain Pass Side Show Arabic Teacher Hashemite Kingdom 
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  1. 1.
    Letter to Bruce Rogers dated February 1, 1928 (from Introduction by Bruce Rogers to Letters from T. E. Shaw to Bruce Rogers, unpaged), quoted in John E. Mack, A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T. E. Lawrence (Boston: Little & Brown, 1976), 373. When Lawrence enlisted in the Tank Corps in 1923, he did so under the name “Shaw.” He kept that name when he reenlisted in the RAF in 1925.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    T. E. Lawrence, trans., The Odyssey of Homer (New York: Oxford, 1991), xxiii. For a more detailed discussion of Lawrence as an Odyssean polytrope, see Maren Cohns essay in this volume.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Stephen E. Tabachnick, ed., The T. E. Lawrence Puzzle (Athens: University of Georgia, 1984), 1.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Robert Graves and B. H. Liddell Hart, eds., T. E. Lawrence to His Biographers (Garden City: Doubleday, 1963), Vol. I, 63.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Letter to Eric Kennington, dated August 6, 1934, David Garnett, ed., The Letters of T. E. Lawrence (Garden City: Doubleday, 1938), 813–14.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    A. W. Lawrence, ed., T. E. Lawrence by His Friends (London: Cape, 1954), 82.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Ibid., 165.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    Letter to Sarah Lawrence dated August 28, 1908, Malcolm Brown, ed., T. E. Lawrence: The Selected Letters (New York: Paragon, 1992), 16–17.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    Ibid., 15.Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom (London: Penguin, 1962), 38.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    T. E. Lawrence, “Evolution of a Revolt” in S. and R. Weintraub, eds., Evolution of a Revolt: Early Post-War Writings of T. E. Lawrence (University Park and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1968), 118; quoted in Jeremy Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia (Stroud: Sutton, 1998), 55.Google Scholar
  12. 29.
    E. M. Forster, back cover of the Penguin edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom (London: Penguin, 1962).Google Scholar
  13. 39.
    B. H. Liddell Hart, T. E. Lawrence in Arabia and After (London: Jonathan Cape, 1935), 18; quoted in Paul Marriot and Yvonner Argent, eds., The Last Days of T. E. Lawrence (Portland: Alpha, 1996), 168.Google Scholar

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© Charles M. Stang 2002

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  • Charles M. Stang

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