SHAW, George Bernard. Typed letter signed ("G.B.S.") to T.E. Lawrence, with autograph postscript and several interlinear additions by Shaw, London, 4 January 1923. 2 full pages, 4to, personal stationery.
SHAW URGES LAWRENCE TO PUBLISH "SEVEN PILLARS" IN SPITE OF THE INCONVENIENCES OF FAME. In a scolding tone, Shaw offers pragmatic advice to Lawrence regarding publication of his account of the war in the desert: "Like all heroes, and, I must add, all idiots, you greatly exaggerate your power of moulding the universe to your personal convictions." He insists that Lawrence must accept "the utter impossibility of hiding or disguising the monster you have created. It is useless to protest that Lawrence is not your real name. That will not save you," since "you masqueraded as Lawrence and didn't keep quiet and now Lawrence you will be till the end of your days..." His name "may be as great a nuisance to you sometimes as G.B.S. is to me, or as Frankenstein found the man he had manufactured; but you created him, and must now put up with him as best you can..."
Characterizing himself as "an old and hardened professional," Shaw characterizes Lawrence as "still apparently a palpitating amateur in literature, wondering whether your first MS is good enough to be published, and whether you have a style or not..." He advises that Lawrence not concern himself with questions of style: "You have something to say; and you say it as accurately and vividly as you can," and therefore should not anticipate revising "over again five or six times." Instead, "you get it set up, and correct the inevitable slips in proof. Then you get a revise and go over your corrections...Then you pass for press and there you are. The result has a certain melody and a certain mannerism which is your style...The moment you are conscious of style in your own work, you are quoting or imitating..."
Shaw brusquely dismisses Lawrence's concerns that publishing his account may seem self-aggrandizing: "Considering that you have already used the whole Arab race and the New Testament and the entire armies of all the countries engaged in the war to advertise yourself (since you take that view of it), I do not see why you should have a sudden fit of bashfulness...You must get used to the limelight...And the people have their rights, too in this matter. They want you to appear always in glory, crying, 'This is I, Lawrence, Prince of Mecca!' To live under a cloud is to defame God..." In conclusion, he urges his friend to "do your duty by the book; and arrange for its publication at once...You have the whole publishing world at your feet..."