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T.E. Lawrence was born on 16th August in Tremadog in Wales. He was one of five illegitimate children born to the Seventh Baron of Westmeath.
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Men prayed me to set my work, the inviolate house, In memory of you: But for fit monument I shattered it unfinished, and now the little things creep out to patch themselves hovels In the marred shadow Of your gift. Lawrence Came to Many-Pillared Iram. Accessed on 6 February This is just the kind of comment I most appreciate.

Thank you for filling me in on the textual history of this poem. With your permission I would like to post your comment into the main body of the post. Is that all right? I will credit you. You are commenting using your WordPress.

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Lawrence Steadily, I am reading through T. The most well-known reference to the seven pillars of Wisdom is in the Bible: Thank you, llamaladysg, for providing T.

The third stanza in the version that Robert Graves edited runs as follows. There is one shockingly intimate chapter in which he is captured in Deraa, tortured, possibly raped or "just" sexually assaulted, it's not entirely clear. At the end, he declares that the citadel of his integrity has been breached, but it's never really mentioned again. The combination of English reserve and the overall oblique style makes it difficult to see how such a life-shattering event affected him.

We know all about external details. He gives tiny hints of interal torment here and there. But we never get enough information to really understand how his mind works, despite spending almost pages in it. What we do know is that he likes flowery language. The writing is lyrical unto purple, with bits of elaborate racist theories thrown in for spice.

It's beautiful, all right, but nearly opaque. Makes great cover, added to all that English reserve, so that you have to read paragraphs three times to actually figure out what the heck just happened. Not helping are some typographical choices that I don't know who to blame for. There's a certain inability to stick to spellings.

Feisal is spelled Faysul at random sometimes, for example; Jidda is Jeddah, and so on. When there's a new person introduced every other page and usually dropped two pages later , it makes it difficult to keep track. Also, while the chapters are not named but just numbered, the top of every page has its own name.


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These names, however, are vague enough as to be no help at all in understanding what's going on or in finding a certain section. This was worth taking the time to give its own name? The story is a fascinating one. It's a shame I didn't get to read it. View all 10 comments. Sep 23, Richard rated it it was amazing. Thomas Edward Lawrence's meticulously written account of his fascinating life during World War I is one of the literary treasures of the Twentieth Century.

Lawrence had graduated with honors from Oxford University in He had a fascination with medieval history, and had traveled as a student to study Crusader castles in France and Syria the summer before his graduation. He worked professionally as an archaeologist in the Middle East until , with extensive travel through the Ottoman Empir Thomas Edward Lawrence's meticulously written account of his fascinating life during World War I is one of the literary treasures of the Twentieth Century.

He worked professionally as an archaeologist in the Middle East until , with extensive travel through the Ottoman Empire's possessions, including the current Jordan, Syria and Iraq. During early , he was part of a geographical survey of the Negev Desert, which served as a cover for the British government in its attempts to gather intelligence on the terrain of this Ottoman-controlled area which would become important to military operations in the event of a war. When that war came, Lawrence was commissioned as an intelligence officer assigned to British army headquarters in Cairo.

He would later function as the liaison officer working with the Arab irregulars and guerrillas fighting an internal insurgency against the Ottomans. The British plan was to funnel large amounts of money and munitions to the Arabs, letting them distract and weaken the key German ally, Turkey. Lawrence became a key advisor of Emir Faisal and a trusted subordinate of the British commander in the area, General Edmund Allenby.

His years of fighting on behalf of the Arabs, wearing the desert robes while traveling everywhere on camelback, helped him identify intensely with the cause of Arab independence. He was involved with the guerilla operations against the Hejaz railway and, in , was instrumental in the successful surprise attack against the strategic town of Aqaba.

The culmination of his military exploits in the desert was his participation in the conquering of Damascus late in , and the consequent installation of a provisional Arab government under Faisal. After the shooting stopped, Lawrence would become disillusioned over the knowledge that the cause of Arab independence had been undermined by the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement negotiated during the war to divide the Middle East under French-British influence. Many of Lawrence's exploits are chronicled in "Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Lawrence wrote a manuscript from his notes and his memory in , reported to contain , words. The title is from the Book of Proverbs, and is also the name bestowed by Lawrence on a rock formation at Wadi Run now located in Jordan during the war. This first manuscript was the one that was lost in a railway car and never recovered. A second, longer, text was reconstructed from Lawrence's memory in During , a third edition was published; this is referred to as the Oxford edition, and was printed in just eight copies.

Later, in the mid's, a subscribers' edition with a printing of copies was released. Lawrence lost money on all of these editions. Finally, an abridged version was authorized by Lawrence to be printed for more general circulation; this edition was titled "Revolt in the Desert. His surviving brother A. Lawrence later in the 's sold the U. As you can see, Lawrence's need for frugality and privacy trumped trying to get rich from his war adventures, even though he did feel strongly that the events occurring in Arabia at that time needed to be recorded.

There was little chance for Lawrence to live in post-war obscurity, however, since media exposure from Lowell Thomas made him famous. Thomas was a war correspondent who traveled with Lawrence and Faisal. He took many photographs and even had a cameraman to film some of the action surrounding the battles with the Turks. After the war, Thomas became rich as the narrator of a slide show of the Arab revolt which toured the world; it was especially well received in London.

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He was shrewd enough to exploit Lawrence's dashing persona, going so far as to have additional photographs taken of Lawrence in his robes in London after the war in order to add to the visual appeal of the picture show, which was titled: By , when he was still in the process of directing the printing of various editions of his memoir, he joined the Royal Air Force as an enlisted man.

This former officer I think he rose to the rank of Lt. Shaw; he also served for a time in the Royal Tank Corps, until the age of He died at the age of 46 in a motorcycle accident. I had wanted to read "Seven Pillars That book, by an author I don't recall, gave an interesting account of Lawrence's life, but referred to the literary beauty and authenticity inherent in Lawrence's own words. It would be interesting to be able to read through one of the exquisitely bound and illustrated early, rare editions of "Seven Pillars Jul 06, John Farebrother rated it it was amazing.

I've read this book twice now, and seen the film countless times. When a colleague once asked me which was my favourite war film, I didn't need to think about it for long. But as is usually the case, the book blows the film away. For detail of the inside story of the war in the East, description of life with the Arabs in the desert, and sheer adventure, it's unparalleled.

It is also directly relevant to our day, for as TE Lawrence wrote: The efforts of the European Powers to keep a footing in the Asiatic Levant had been uniformly disastrous […] Our successor and solution must be local". A shame Tony Blair with his privileged education didn't read that passage.

And as for Syria: But it's always the same in politics: Sep 03, Hadrian rated it really liked it Shelves: In bare terms, this is an autobiographical account of a British liaison officer and his adventures leading an Arab rebellion against the Turks. But there is much more than that. An account by a philosopher-traveler-soldier about war and adventure and heroism and all that. It is a product of his time. And Lawrence does seem a bit patronizing about the Arabs and Turks. But in other times, he is astonishingly sensitive and well-attuned and insightful to their needs. How else could he have helped led In bare terms, this is an autobiographical account of a British liaison officer and his adventures leading an Arab rebellion against the Turks.

How else could he have helped led a successful guerrilla campaign? A book which still shines and has much to teach. If only he was in charge of the post-war partitioning of the world. This is the book that the film Lawrence of Arabia is loosely based upon. I say loosely, because after finishing the book I rented the film and watched it all the way through for the first time since I was a kid. It was only then that I realised that although the film is a magnificent piece of film-making, it is very inaccurate in places and often just simply wrong.

Lawrence was much more extraordinary and his achievements and much more astonishing even than the amazing portrayal of him in t This is the book that the film Lawrence of Arabia is loosely based upon. Lawrence was much more extraordinary and his achievements and much more astonishing even than the amazing portrayal of him in the film. But, I suppose the difficulty of making a film of 'Lawrence of Arabia' is, how do you compress so much into so little time and how do you explain certain things simply and quickly.

Hence the film seems to me now like a series of snapshots of events that did happen and some that didn't, but perhaps including the made up stuff to make the story on screen flows better. He was no soldier, but he read Clausewitz and all the other great military theorists, created his own war and applied all he learned to great effect. Nobody told him to capture the strategic port of Aqaba - that was his idea. He enrolled the Arab tribesman in the project, rode across the desert and took it.

And that was almost just the start! The first because I think this book is surprisingly personal or intimate for a book written shortly after WWI. Not so much that he had them, but that a national hero, who turned down a knighthood and a Victoria Cross not to mention two Croix De Guerres, writing shortly after World War One, would share such things with the general public. So a typical paragraph may be Lawrences meeting with Maahmoud, renowned desert warrior of the Abu-Orense, son of Ali, scourge of the Waddi-Odd, blood enemies of the Abu Tayi, and so on.

It makes me think of the helicopter attack scene in the film Apocalypse Now in that a lot happens in short space of time, much of it is horrible, some of it is incongruous and some of it weird, and you are on the edge of your seat trying to imagine what that must have been like. I found the battle scenes compelling. Aside from the battle scenes, many of the descriptions of the Arabs and their way of life are marvellous.

How many men have had such an adventure? Alexander the Great maybe? Lawrence ended up in. David Damned good review! Not sure that Lawrence, excellent writer that he was, could have done any better. Feb 21, Steve Birchmore David wrote: Mar 07, Joe Krakovsky That was not only a great review but homage to a great fighting man. I will definitely have to read this someday! Sep 19, Jan 05, Kelly rated it liked it Shelves: I really loved this book.

More then anything, the book is about the unification of Saudi Arabia and the many conflicts which helped to achieve that end. Although this is generally thought of as an Autobiography, especially since it was written by T. Lawrence himself, I hesitate in naming it as such. There is a lot of controversy that surrounds Lawrence, and, while the word of the man himself should be the most accurate, there are general rumblings about whether many events have been embellished. The main drive of the book is to capture Damascus for the Arabs, which can only be achieved by the outstanding military ambition of Emir Faisal.

There is definitely a sense of hero worship from Lawrence to Faisal, which seems to felt mutually. The level of respect that the English have for the authority figures of the tribes is interesting and increases the general romance of the book. Even though I loved this book and all of the individuals within it, I found it so incredibly difficult to read. As an Australian girl, who is culturally naive and has only visited America and Canada, it was almost incomprehensible to understand exactly what was happening.

There is just so many new words, technical terms and long names to remember that I only understood what I was reading by about pages. By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars. However, those moments are often separated by lengthy explanations of who is who, where they are and what strategies they have planned. It is also interesting to note that Lawrence himself is a very unusual and complex person, who is described as being sexually ambiguous, effeminate and strategizing.


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So, for the romance of the book, of Lawrence and of the landscape, I give this book a 3. However, I can not award this book points for readability, consistency of ideas and the quality of the every chapter. After all, this is a personal review, based on my own experiences with it. View all 5 comments. Oct 14, Nicole rated it liked it Shelves: That was hard to read one star for that! Lawrence describes every hill, tree and shrub, gives the name of every man he has met and depicts his clothes, the meal they shared and the jokes that were told.

On top of that military theory, philosophy, ethics, and theology. What you also get: Five stars for this. I selected this book to read as part of the research I was doing on my novel. I had seen the film "Lawrence of Arabia" in the past and now wanted to mine the book for details I needed to know about life among the Bedouin in I had planned to only read the parts I needed for my novel, but ended up devouring the whole thing. Then I read it again, parsing out what had now become an intense interest in TE's psychology.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by T. E. Lawrence

I then retreated to a biography and selected John Mack's "A Prince of our Di I selected this book to read as part of the research I was doing on my novel. I then retreated to a biography and selected John Mack's "A Prince of our Disorder", not only because it won a Pulitzer, but because it was a psychological biography rather than the more materialistic ones that focused on TE's war efforts. I do not care how Lawrence learned to blow up a train.

As Lawrence's personality was dissected in that fabulous biography, I could not help but draw on a curious aspect of human-ness. There is a correlation between being deeply psychologically disturbed and fantastic achievements in some of history's greatest artists. Van Gogh, is the first who comes to mind, but Beethoven and Mozart and Wagner all had personality problems I am being polite here , Degas, Cezanne, Gauguin: There are any number of examples, too many to discuss here. The opposite is true as well, as other men who are infamous rather than famous, and their achievements might be better categorized as harmful to humanity rather than having enriched it these men tend to enter politics rather than the arts.

But the point I am making is that in order to step out of the ordinary, the mold has to be broken, and cracking that mold often corresponds to a cracking the psyche.

A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition)

Reading Seven Pillars again after reading Mack's biography underlined the most poignant parts of the book, and watching the film again after being immersed in the two books brought out the fierce intent of the filmmakers to illustrate in sound and color what Lawrence meant to other people and to history, but not what that medium could convey to us what was churning in Lawrence's soul. They tried, they tried, and Peter O'Toole does a fantastic job looking like a tormented soul, his eyes at times full of humor and then pathos and then fear.

But the screenplay cannot put the words in our ears that we need to hear in order to understand Lawrence. Only his own words can do that, and they are heartbreaking. Mar 20, Louisa rated it it was amazing Shelves: Since battles and warfare are not really my thing, I am amazed how much I enjoyed reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom. In this beautifully written memoir, Lawrence presents us with an honest account of his role in the Arab revolt, his hopes on making Damascus the capital of the Arabs, but also his doubts about the whole endeavor.

I love how he blended in with the Arabs, learning their language and their customs, riding the camels in the Arab way, becoming one of them. That they loved him and accepte Since battles and warfare are not really my thing, I am amazed how much I enjoyed reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom. That they loved him and accepted him as one of their own becomes clear in the final chapters leading up to the taking of Damascus, when the Arabs saw him negotiating with the English to get supplies and ammunition to prepare for the capture of the city: Never could I forget the radiant face of Nuri Said, after a joint conference, encountering a group of Arab officers with the cheerful words, 'Never mind, you fellows; he talks to the English just as he does to us!

I found it beautifully written, well worth reading. Sep 25, Alanpalmer rated it it was amazing Shelves: We all know about the film even if we have not seen it, or at least seen the end of it. Seven Pillars of Wisdom is no Boys Own Paper tale of Imperial triumph, but a complex work of high literary aspiration which stands in the tradition of Melville and Dostoevsky, and alongside the writings of Yeats, Eliot and Joyce.

A very interesting account of how and why the middle east got carved up into the states that are currently in power told by the person who was central to the events. Before the world knew him as Wordsworth Editions Bolero Ozon. Seven Pillars of Wisdom.