Monday, November 14, 2005

Lawrence of Arabia

Last weekend we went to see the Imperial War Museum's exhibit about T.E. Lawrence. If you're passing through London between now and next April, I highly recommend it. Not only are there artifacts from throughout Lawrence's life -- from his first lock of baby hair to the motorcycle that killed him -- but the museum takes a thoughtful look at how his legend grew beyond his control.

I was passionately interested in Lawrence as a teenager but hadn't studied much about him for a few years. Back when I was reading about him, the fashionable view was that he had exaggerated his role in the Arab revolt. I was pleased to learn that more recent scholarship has vindicated him -- indeed, it seems that, if anything, he understated his role. It's nice to know that sometimes you can trust your heroes.

Another bit of good news is that from next year, most of Lawrence's writings go out of copyright, and the
T.E. Lawrence Society plans to make as many as possible available on the web.

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