The Henry Williamson Society

Genius of Friendship: 'T. E. Lawrence'

Genius of Friendship: 'T. E. Lawrence'

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Product Information

Paperback, Henry Williamson Society, 1988.
Book condition: good. This reprint of the first edition (1941) was published to mark the centenary of the birth of T. E. Lawrence.

The publisher's blurb for the first edition (1941) states: 'In 1924 an unknown writer, haunted by the war in which most of his friends had died, opened a copy of the Daily Telegraph in the train from Redhill to London and read therein a sentence which stood out from the page. It was the opening sentence of Revolt in the Desert, which was then appearing for the first time before the public, and was causing much interest. The traveller in the train thought excitedly (before the self-abashment of the idea could stifle itself: for "Lawrence of Arabia" was a famous name far above himself): "We are alike in seeing things. One day we shall be friends." He took from his bag a much-scored manuscript, and sought a passage which was similar, in visual-hardness and dramatic rhythm, to the opening sentence in the Lawrence book. The manuscript was of Tarka the Otter.

'One morning, four years afterwards,a long letter arrived in a minute handwriting, from India, and with a sudden quickening of the pulse Henry Williamson saw that it was a detailed criticism of Tarka; and – yes! – it was from T. E. Lawrence.

'This book, brief like the life of T.E. himself, tells of the meeting of the two men, both exhausted survivors of the 1914–18 war, both solitary, both desiring friendship, and longing to be "plumb ordinary", yet loth to impinge the one on the other. At last it looked as though they might come together – a new beginning of life – but really it was the end of the chapter.'

(For a further consideration of the book and the background to the writing of it, see Anne Williamson's Genius of Friendship.)

Product CodeMW175

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