T.E. Lawrence

Biografie şi Bibliografie

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Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO (16 August 1888 – 19 May 1935), known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt  against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18. The extraordinary breadth and variety of his activities and associations, and his ability to describe them vividly in writing, have earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, a title popularised by the 1962 film based on his life.

Lawrence's public image was due in part to American journalist Lowell Thomas' sensationalised reportage of the revolt as well as to Lawrence's autobiographical account Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922).

Early years

T. E. Lawrence's birth-place. The house was originally called 'Gorphwysfa' before being given the English name of 'Woodlands'. Later it reverted to the original name, albeit using modern Welsh orthography as 'Gorffwysfa', but this has more recently been changed to 'Lawrence House'.

Lawrence was born at Gorphwysfa in Tremadog, Caernarfonshire (now Gwynedd), Wales. His Anglo-Irish father, Thomas Robert Tighe Chapman, who in 1914 inherited the title of seventh Baronet of Westmeath in Ireland, had abandoned his wife Edith for his daughters' governess Sarah Junner (born illegitimately of a father named Lawrence, and who had styled herself 'Miss Lawrence' in the Chapman household). The couple did not marry but were known as Mr and Mrs Lawrence.

Thomas Chapman and Sarah Junner had five illegitimate sons, of whom Thomas Edward was the second eldest. From Wales the family moved to Kirkudbright in Scotland, then Dinard in Brittany, then to Jersey. From 1894–1896 the family lived at Langley Lodge (now demolished), set in private woods between the eastern borders of the New Forest and Southampton Water in Hampshire. Mr Lawrence sailed and took the boys to watch yacht racing in the Solent off Lepe beach. By the time they left, the eight-year-old Ned (as Thomas became known) had developed a taste for the countryside and outdoor activities.

In the summer of 1896 the Lawrences moved to 2 Polstead Road (now marked with a blue plaque) in Oxford, where, until 1921, they lived under the names of Mr and Mrs Lawrence. Ned attended the City of Oxford High School for Boys, where one of the four houses was later named "Lawrence" in his honour; the school closed in 1966. As a schoolboy, one of his favourite pastimes was to cycle to country churches and make brass rubbings. Lawrence and one of his brothers became commissioned officers in the Church Lads' Brigade at St Aldate's Church.
Memorial to Lawrence in Oxford Boys' High School.

Lawrence claimed that in about 1905, he ran away from home and served for a few weeks as a boy soldier with the Royal Garrison Artillery at St Mawes Castle in Cornwall, from which he was bought out. No evidence of this can be found in army records.

From 1907 Lawrence was educated at Jesus College, Oxford. During the summers of 1907 and 1908, he toured France by bicycle, collecting photographs, drawings and measurements of castles dating from the medieval period. In the summer of 1909, he set out alone on a three-month walking tour of crusader castles in Ottoman Syria, during which he travelled 1,000 mi (1,600 km) on foot. Lawrence graduated with First Class Honours after submitting a thesis entitled The influence of the Crusades on European Military Architecture – to the end of the 12th century based on his own field research in France, notably in Châlus, and the Middle East.

On completing his degree in 1910, Lawrence commenced postgraduate research in medieval pottery with a Senior Demy at Magdalen College, Oxford, which he abandoned after he was offered the opportunity to become a practising archaeologist in the Middle East. Lawrence was a polyglot who could speak English, French, German, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Turkish and Syriac.[citation needed] In December 1910 he sailed for Beirut, and on arrival went to Jbail (Byblos), where he studied Arabic. He then went to work on the excavations at Carchemish, near Jerablus in northern Syria, where he worked under D. G. Hogarth and R. Campbell-Thompson of the British Museum. He would later state that everything that he had accomplished, he owed to Hogarth.[8] As the site lay near an important crossing on the Baghdad Railway, knowledge gathered there was of considerable importance for military intelligence. While excavating ancient Mesopotamian sites, Lawrence met Gertrude Bell, who was to influence him during his time in the Middle East.

In late 1911, Lawrence returned to England for a brief sojourn. By November he was en route to Beirut for a second season at Carchemish, where he was to work with Leonard Woolley. Prior to resuming work there, however, he briefly worked with Flinders Petrie at Kafr Ammar in Egypt.

Lawrence continued making trips to the Middle East as a field archaeologist until the outbreak of World War I. In January 1914, Woolley and Lawrence were co-opted by the British military as an archaeological smokescreen for a British military survey of the Negev Desert. They were funded by the Palestine Exploration Fund to search for an area referred to in the Bible as the "Wilderness of Zin"; along the way, they undertook an archaeological survey of the Negev Desert. The Negev was of strategic importance, as it would have to be crossed by any Ottoman army attacking Egypt in the event of war. Woolley and Lawrence subsequently published a report of the expedition's archaeological findings, but a more important result was an updated mapping of the area, with special attention to features of military relevance such as water sources. Lawrence also visited Aqaba and Petra.

From March to May 1914, Lawrence worked again at Carchemish. Following the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914, on the advice of S.F. Newcombe, Lawrence did not immediately enlist in the British Army; he held back until October, when he was commissioned on the General List.

Awards

Lawrence was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath and awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the French Légion d'Honneur, though in October 1918 he refused to be made a Knight Commander of the British Empire.

Film and television

    * Lawrence was most famously portrayed by Peter O'Toole in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.
    * He was portrayed by Judson Scott in the 1982 TV series Voyagers!
    * Ralph Fiennes portrayed Lawrence in the 1990 made-for-TV movie A Dangerous Man: Lawrence after Arabia.
    * Joseph A. Bennett and Douglas Henshall portrayed him in the 1992 TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. In Young Indiana Jones, Lawrence is portrayed as being a life-long friend of the title character.

Theatre

    * Lawrence was the subject of Terence Rattigan's controversial play Ross, which explored Lawrence's alleged homosexuality. Ross ran in London in 1960–61, starring Alec Guinness, who was an admirer of Lawrence and Gerald Harper as his blackmailer, Dickinson.
          o The play had originally been written as a screenplay, but the planned film was never made, although large sections of the play's script can be identified in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia,[38] in which Alec Guinness plays Prince Faisal.
          o In January 1986 at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth on the opening night of the revival of Ross, Marc Sinden, who was playing Dickinson (the man who recognised and blackmailed Lawrence, played by Simon Ward), was introduced to the man that the character of 'Dickinson' was based on. Sinden asked him why he had blackmailed Ross, and he replied, "Oh, for the money. I was financially embarrassed at the time and needed to get up to London to see a girlfriend. It was never meant to be a big thing, but a good friend of mine was very close to Terence Rattigan and years later, the silly devil told him the story".
    * Alan Bennett's Forty Years On (1968) includes a satire on Lawrence; known as "Tee Hee Lawrence" because of his high-pitched, girlish giggle. "Clad in the magnificent white silk robes of an Arab prince ... he hoped to pass unnoticed through London. Alas he was mistaken." The section concludes with the headmaster confusing him with D. H. Lawrence.
    * The character of Private Napoleon Meek in George Bernard Shaw's 1931 play Too True to Be Good was inspired by Lawrence. Meek is depicted as thoroughly conversant with the language and lifestyle of tribals. He repeatedly enlists with the army, quitting whenever offered a promotion.
    * T. E. Lawrence's first year back at Oxford after the Great War to write his Seven Pillars of Wisdom was portrayed by Tom Rooney in a play, The Oxford Roof Climbers Rebellion, written by Canadian playwright Stephen Massicotte (premiered Toronto 2006). The play explores Lawrence's political, physical and psychological reactions to war, and his friendship with poet Robert Graves. Urban Stages presented the American premiere in New York City in October 2007; Lawrence was portrayed by actor Dylan Chalfy.
    * Lawrence's final years are portrayed in a one-man show by Raymond Sargent, The Warrior and the Poet.

The armed forces

    * The RAF Recruitment Office where Lawrence enlisted was run by W. E. Johns, who was later to become famous as the creator of the Biggles character. He reported in his autobiography that Lawrence initially submitted false papers indicating that his name was Shaw, which resulted in his initial rejection. Within an hour Lawrence had returned to the office, with a directive from the War Office indicating that he was to be taken on, regardless of any discrepancy in his papers or medical condition. Johns accepted him, and sent a warning to the induction centre that a new recruit who had strong establishment influence, and who "dined with Cabinet Ministers on his weekends", was arriving.
    * As recounted in Thomas's With Lawrence In Arabia, while on a pre-war archaeological trip to Mesopotamia, Lawrence was attacked by an Arab bandit intent on stealing his gun, a Colt .45 Peacemaker. However, the man did not understand the revolver's older-style single action operation, and was forced to leave Lawrence unconscious but alive. After this incident, Lawrence's preferred weapon was the Peacemaker, and he almost always carried one for good luck. Lawrence was also known to carry a Broomhandle Mauser, and later, a Colt M1911 semi-automatic.

 Travel

    * A road in the Mount Batten area of Plymouth, where Lawrence was stationed, has been named Lawrence Road in his honour.

    * A road in Chingford, north London, is called Arabia Close as Lawrence once owned land on near-by Pole Hill.

Other

    * At the time Lawrence was going under the name "Shaw", and signing himself, for example in the guest book at Philip Sassoon's Port Lympne estate, as "338171 A/C Shaw", Noel Coward in a letter to him asked "May I call you 338?"

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