T. E. Lawrence

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Lawrence, T. E.

(Thomas Edward Lawrence), 1888–1935, British adventurer, soldier, and scholar, known as Lawrence of Arabia. While a student at Oxford he went on a walking tour of Syria and in 1911 joined a British Museum archaeological expedition in Mesopotamia. He remained in the Middle East until 1914, learning colloquial Arabic and making exploratory trips and archaeological surveys. After the outbreak of World War I, Lawrence was attached to the intelligence section of the British army in Egypt.

In 1916, he joined the Arab forces under Faisal al Husayn (Faisal IFaisal I
or Faysal I
, 1885–1933, king of Iraq (1921–33). The third son of Husayn ibn Ali, sherif of Mecca, he is also called Faisal ibn Husayn. Faisal was educated in Constantinople and later sat in the Ottoman parliament as deputy for Jidda.
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) and became a link between the British and the Arab rebels as well as a leader in the Arab revolt against Turkish rule. Lawrence molded a diverse group of a few thousand tribesmen into an effective guerrilla force whose small, rapid assaults tied down large Turkish armies. After the war he was a delegate to the Paris Peace Conference, where in vain he sought independence for the Arabs. He became (1919) a research fellow at Oxford and served (1921–22) as Middle East adviser to the colonial office, working constantly for the creation of independent Arab states.

Lawrence had meanwhile become something of a legendary figure, but in 1922 he enlisted, under the name of Ross, as a mechanic in the Royal Air Force. There have been many interpretations of his search for anonymity: his feeling that he had betrayed Arab hopes for independence or, conversely, the conviction that he had done everything possible for his Arab friends and could do no more; an almost pathological aversion to publicity; or emotional disturbances produced by his war experiences. When Lawrence's identity was discovered (1923), he went into the tank corps; in 1925 he rejoined the air force. He legally adopted (1927) the name T. E. Shaw.

In Paris in 1919, Lawrence began to write a narrative of his Arabian adventures, but he lost most of the manuscript and had to rewrite the whole without his notes, which he had destroyed. The result was the celebrated Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which was privately printed and circulated in 1926 although not published commercially until 1935. An abridged version, Revolt in the Desert, appeared in 1927. The Mint, an account of his life in the Royal Air Force, written under the pseudonym J. H. Ross, was published in 1955. Other works are a translation of the Odyssey (1932), Oriental Assembly (papers, ed. by his brother, A. W. Lawrence, 1939), and his letters (ed. by David Garnett, 1938, new ed. 1964).


See biographies by R. Graves (1928), D. Orgil (1973), J. E. Mack (1976), M. Brown and J. Cave (1988), J. Wilson (1989), M. Asher (1999), and M. Korda (2010); studies by J. Meyers, ed. (1989) and S. Anderson (2013); bibliographies by F. Clements (1973) and P. O'Brien (1988).

References in periodicals archive ?
Culture Minister Matt Hancock said: "The image of TE Lawrence with his dagger is one of the most iconic of the 20th century.
Sir omas had left his rst wife with whom he had four daughters to run o with his housekeeper, who produced ve sons, the second of which was TE Lawrence, known by the family as Ted.
This is a superb collection of letters both from TE Lawrence and Sir Edward Elgar among others,' she said.
Richard Hughes rode TE Lawrence this morning and he worked fantastic.
The hellraiser was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role as World War I hero TE Lawrence.
For example, while the book accuses TE Lawrence of romanticising his part in the Arab Revolt, it cheerfully promotes the attractions of Azraq Castle, where Lawrence holed up for the winter of 1917.
Also on This Day: 1792: Money orders were first issued in Britain; 1843: The News of the World was first published; 1908: The Model T was unveiled by American car manufacturer Henry Ford 1918: TE Lawrence and the Arab forces of Emir Faisal captured Damascus; 1938: German forces entered the Sudetenland; 1949: The People's Republic of China was proclaimed; 1971: Disney World opened in Florida; 1974:The Watergate Trial started in America; 1974: The first McDonald's restaurant opened in London; 1985: Liverpool youths went on the rampage in the Toxteth Riots.
1888: TE Lawrence Lawrence of Arabia was born in Tremadoc, near Porthmadog, north Wales.
Clouds Hill in Dorset, the only adult home of Tremadog-born diplomat and writer TE Lawrence has been upgraded from Grade II to Grade II* by Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch.
In 1909, she visited Mesopotamia to study the ruins of ancient Babylon and met TE Lawrence - later known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia.
1888: TE Lawrence - Lawrence of Arabia - was born in Tremadog 1927: Wembley Stadium was sold for use as a greyhound racing track.
IN Lawrence of Arabia, the film that made TE Lawrence world famous, and recently the BBC's other portrait of him, there was not a mention of Gertrude Bell, although they were both friends in that part of the world.