Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to K. W. Marshall
It is certainly awkward, and prolongs the uncertainty. On the other hand, at the Assizes you come before a professional Judge, with a possibility of cultivated judgement.
I cannot advise, for my experience of English Courts, or Law, is nil. G.B.S. is an insecure guide, too, I should say; and besides Mrs. Shaw is desperately ill. She didn't like Boy, however.
My inclination would be to say 'This book was published in 1932 and has been continuously on sale, in England and the Colonies, ever since, passing through four editions. It was never challenged, or described as indecent, till last month at Bury, in Lancashire. Here is a book of all the reviews it has had, in the British Press. You will notice that no reviewer appears to have perceived any moral objection to the subject or the treatment, and I will confess that no such notion had occurred to myself until the Bury Police action. I then examined the book again, and perceived that the challenged passages could be charged with an offensive significance, by a trained mind.'
'While the case has been sub judice I have suspended the further circulation of the book, but in justice to the author (who has written many novels of very high critical reputation) I am hoping that your decision will permit the edition again to be released. Naturally I am willing to do all in my power to prevent further copies being supplied to booksellers in the Bury neighbourhood.'
But in cold fact, you'll be in the hands of your counsel. I should go to Chatto & Windus and ask them for advice, pointing out that the case is likely to react on the future of The Furys - and they will probably tell you who is a likely lawyer to brief. I believe that the actual briefing has to be done by a solicitor.
It is very hard luck. If you can find out who at Bury initiated the prosecution, and send me his name and address, I will try and get him sent from Paris, by post, a regular supply of really indecent literature: something that will show him the difference between pornography and works of art.
Bitter Water... the middle section, of life on the Baltic or N. German island, was most admirable reading. A real slice-of-life. I agree with O'Flaherty's introduction, that Hauser may or may not be going to be a writer - but that he is a personality, anyhow.
The sea or ship-in-port-and-at-sea passages were not so good, I thought. They were like Hanley-and-truth; a bit anaemic. But a real good book, which I should have been sorry to miss. Extravagant of you to send it me, all the same. I do hope this trouble is surmounted. Let me know at once, please, when any thing happens.
|Last revised:||15 January 2005|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset