4 pages 8vo, Treasury Chambers stationery." />
26 February 2004
CHURCHILL, Winston (1874-1965). Autograph letter signed ("Winston S. Churchill") to T. E. Lawrence ("Lurens"), Whitehall, 16 May 1927. 4 pages 8vo, Treasury Chambers stationery.
CHURCHILL'S REACTION TO 'SEVEN PILLARS': "WHAT A TALE!...THE IMPRESSION IT PRODUCED WAS OVERPOWERING...I THINK YOUR BOOK WILL LIVE WITH GULLIVER'S TRAVELS & ROBINSON CRUSOE"
Churchill is nearly beside himself with delight in this ebullient letter describing his intellectual excitement while reading Seven Pillars. "I read with rapt attention the long letter you wrote to Eddie about my book. It is a poor thing, mainly a pot-boiler, & deriving a passing vogue from the tremendous events with which it deals & the curiosity of the British public to know something about them. In fact, when I put down the Seven Pillars, I felt mortified at the contrast between my dictated journalism & your grand & permanent contribution to English literature. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to read it. Having gone on a three days' visit to Paris, I never left my apartment except for meals, & lay all day cuddling your bulky tome. The impression it produced was overpowering. I marched with you those endless journeys by camel, with never a cool drink, a hot bath, or a square meal except under revolting conditions. What a tale! The young Napoleon or Clive, if only the stupid 20th century had not made peace. No wonder you brood in haughty anticlimax! I think your book will live with Gulliver's Travels & Robinson Crusoe. The copy which you gave me, with its inscription, is in every sense one of my most valuable possessions. I detected one misprint, but to torture you I will not tell you where." Churchill concludes by hoping that Lawrence will soon be again at the center of historical events. "Please do not wait until the Bolshevik Revolution entitles me to summon you to the centre of strife by an order 'from the Imperial Stirrup.'"
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