THE AUTHOR OF “PETER PAN” WRITES TO “LAWRENCE OF ARABIA”
HOPING TO GET ON THE SUBSCRIPTION LIST FOR T.E. LAWRENCE’S MONUMENTAL SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM AND NOTING THAT THE THOMAS HARDY’S ARE STAYING WITH HIM DURING THE STAGING OF HARDY’S TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES, WHILE IN THE MEAN TIME, THE GEORGE BERNARD SHAWS’ RESIDE JUST ACROSS THE STREET, AND MAY COME FOR A VISIT!
BARRIE, SIR JAMES MATTHEW. (1860-1937). Scottish novelist and dramatist. Outstanding Autograph Letter Signed, “Yours sincerely J.M. Barrie,” on imprinted Adelphi Terrace House, Strand, W.C. 2 letterhead. Two pages, octavo. January 3, 1926. To “My dear [T.E.] Lawrence.” Barrie writes:
“My dear Lawrence, I am very glad to know I can be on that subscription List and have sent off my charges to the bank. It is evident you don’t know how eagerly the book is awaited because of the things it has to tell, and as to how they may be told any one who has read the chapter already published must have high hopes. Be sure to take you time on it, yet be not too… neither. My love to the Hardys when you see them. I am in hopes of getting them to stay here when Tess is being done, and if you would join us there is a room that would be mighty proud to put you up, and we could have the other Shaws in from across the way and have a good time. Do try to manage this. Yours sincerely J.M. Barrie”.
Just an absolutely superb letter with Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, writing to T.E. Lawrence requesting that he be placed on the subscription list for The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Lawrence, popularly known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” gained international renown for his role as a British liaison officer during the Arab Revolt. His very public image was in part the result of U.S. traveler and journalist Lowell Thomas’ sensational reportage of the Revolt, though Lawrence’s own account, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, also helped secure his celebrity. In November 1919 Lawrence had completed a first draft, but it was lost in Reading Station. A second draft was finished during 1922 and, with amendments and alterations, appeared as a private edition in 1926. Lawrence was admired by many well know individuals, including literary greats George Bernard Shaw and Thomas Hardy, both of whom are mentioned in this letter. Barrie comments on Thomas Hardy’s involvement in a theatrical version of Tess of the D’Urbervillles; the play, based on Hardy’s 1892 novel, had opened at the Barnes Theatre in September 1925 and toured the United Kingdom in 1926. Additionally, Barrie refers to George Bernard Shaw, who, as Lawrence’s editor, played an important part in the publication of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom; in the preface to the book Lawrence offered his “…thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Shaw for countless suggestions of great value and diversity: and for all the present semicolons.” A wonderfully rich letter and one of our “Best of the Best”.™