Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Legendary Dreamer

Hero: The Life and Legend of 
Lawrence of Arabia 

T. E. Lawrence was born on this day in 1888. In the fall of 1916 he was in Arabia on a mission for the British army. Here is how he is described by one biographer:

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia"One of his companions on the trip behind Turkish lines described him as "an odd gnome, half cad---with a touch of genius," and a superior at headquarters in Cairo may have summed up the general opinion there of Lawrence when he asked, "Who is this extraordinary pip-squeak?"
To Those who judged him be his quirky manner and his ill-fitting wrinkled, off-the-rack uniform, the cuffs of his trousers always two or three inches above his boots, the badge sometimes missing from his peaked cap, Lawrence did not cut a soldierly figure, so most of them failed to notice the intense, ice-blue eyes and the unusually long, firm, determined jaw, a facial structure more Celtic than English. It was the face of a nonreligious ascetic, capable of enduring hardship ad pain beyond what most men would even want to contemplate, a true believer in other people's causes, a curious combination of scholar and man of action, and, most important of all, a dreamer."

(Michael Korda, Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia. Harper Collins, 2010. p. 6)


Mudpuddle said...

i read "7 Pillars of Wisdom" years ago... it was, as i remember, sort of like being swallowed by a whale: all absorbing and a very strange, alien place... later, having read some essays and bios of Laurence, i found my memory still stunned with the impressions i had received... truly one of a kind, and a fearless genius to boot...

Brian Joseph said...

Lawrence was such a fascinating character. I also have read 7 Pillars of Wisdom. I think Muddpuddle's description of it is near perfect. I read it a long time ago and I still remember it vividly.

James said...

I think your phrase "one of a kind" best reflects my impressions of the Lawrence from Seven Pillars.

James said...

Like you I find that Seven Pillars is one of the books that remains vivid in my reading memory. No doubt the "hero" of the book is the main reason.