LAWRENCE, T.E. Autograph letter signed ('T.E. Shaw') to Mordaunt, '338171 A/C Shaw, M.A.E.E. R.A.F. Felixstowe, Suffolk', 12 November 1933, 2 pages, 2° (dust-stained, a few spots, small splits and tiny holes in central vertical fold touching 2 words,...
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LAWRENCE, T.E. Autograph letter signed ('T.E. Shaw') to Mordaunt, '338171 A/C Shaw, M.A.E.E. R.A.F. Felixstowe, Suffolk', 12 November 1933, 2 pages, 2° (dust-stained, a few spots, small splits and tiny holes in central vertical fold touching 2 words, split of 35 mm in central horizontal fold), 20th-century morocco-backed box. Provenance : Halsted Billings Vander Poel (1911-2003). A FURIOUS PROTEST AT HIS CORRESPONDENT'S INDISCRETION AND THE UNAUTHORISED PUBLICATION OF THE THREE LAST CHAPTERS FROM THE MINT : 'You've put me fearfully in the cart anyhow! The Air Ministry is wild at a serving airman shooting off his mind about the service. Lord Trenchard is wild at my publishing part of the book that ten years ago I gave him my word of honour would not be published. And poor Jonathan Cape says where is his option going!' Continuing in similar vein, Lawrence writes that he made Trenchard co-owner of the copyright of The Mint 'so you have begun well', and reproaches Mordaunt for having previously published his letter about The Odyssey , including his 'quite privately intended' opinion, which hurt the feelings of Bruce Rogers (the volume's typographer and designer). The letter recalls a stormy incident in the history of The Mint , Lawrence's account of the RAF as seen from the ranks, in particular revealing the crudity of the barrack room life which he experienced on the Uxbridge training course in 1922. In November 1933 the British Legion Journal included an article on 'Service Life', attributed to Lawrence and based on three of the Cranwell chapters in the work. In 1928 Lawrence had promised his friend Sir Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff, who had read the manuscript at an early stage, that he would not publish until at least 1950. A typescript of it was shown to someone unauthorised to see it and parts were copied and sold, by a journalist, to the Journal . The RAF was outraged, and Lawrence's publisher, Jonathan Cape, was incensed at this breach of his option. An apology was published in the December issue of the Journal . It is clear from references in A.W. Lawrence's Letters to T.E. Lawrence (1962) that the manuscript or typescript was circulated to a number of people, among them the Shaws, Frederick Manning, Siegfried Sassoon, and E.M. Forster, but only the corrected typescript given to Charlotte Shaw and the fair copy made for Jonathan Cape's editorial adviser, Edward Garnett, are known to have survived. Lord Trenchard wrote to Lawrence 'There are many things you have written which I do feel we know go on & we know should not go on [...]'. The present letter appears to name the culprit to whom Mordaunt (who is not identified in the Life or the published Letters ) gave the typescript ('That typescript you gave Carroll looks to me like the last few pages of the original copy [...] typed for Edward Garnett in 1925'). Fortunately, despite Lawrence's dramatic predictions, the commotion over the published chapters soon died down. In the autumn of 1933 Lawrence was based at the RAF Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment (M.A.E.E.) in Felixstowe, returning to Southampton when he could to supervise the repairs at Clouds Hill.
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