SHAW, George Bernard (1856-1950). Typed letter signed (''G. Bernard Shaw'') to T.E. Lawrence, Conway, Wales, London, 17 December 1922. 2 pages, large oblong 4to, personal stationery.
SHAW, George Bernard (1856-1950). Typed letter signed ("G. Bernard Shaw") to T.E. Lawrence, Conway, Wales, London, 17 December 1922. 2 pages, large oblong 4to, personal stationery.
SHAW EXTOLLS SEVEN PILLARS ("THE GREATEST BOOK IN THE WORLD") AND MOCKS LAWRENCE'S "RIDICULOUS" CAREER IN THE AIR CORPS
Shaw begins his letter with publishing advice, then rounds into Lawrence about his affectation of humble obscurity in the Air Corps. He chafed his own publishers, Shaw reports, for failing to grab the rights to Seven Pillars. "I naturally said 'Why in thunder didn't you secure it? it's the greatest book in the world. I then expatiated on the qualities of the work, and said it really ought to be published in the good old eighteenth century style in twelve volumes or so to begin with, the abridgment coming afterwards." He goes on to recommend Constable as a publisher, warning him to steer clear of certain "modern ruffians." Turning to the life of airman "Shaw," playwright Shaw is unsympathetic: "Nelson, slightly cracked after his whack on the head in the battle of the Nile, coming home and insisting on being placed at the tiller of a canal barge, and being treated as nobody in particular, would have embarassed the Navy far less...The thing is ridiculous. Why in the name of all that is sane did you not get £20,000 from parliament? It was yours for anybody else's asking" He likewise dismisses Lawrence's complaints about not getting leave. "Ask for three months leave and they will exclaim, with a sob of relief, 'For God's sake, take six, take twelve, take a lifetime, take anything rather than keep up this maddening masquerade that makes us all ridiculous.' I sympathize with them. If you must be a Cincinnatus, go and farm. If you must be a Garibaldi live at Caprera instead of putting poor Aldershot out of countenance."