About the Blog

After studying the life of TE Lawrence for over thirty years the time has come to share my insights. TE was a man of many contradictions and polarities, with different voices and different truths. Thus far biographers have made choices for him, about who the real Lawrence was. This has lead, in my opinion, to many simplifications and labelling. For example, the influence of the effects of trauma on his life has been greatly underestimated. While a big case has been made of TE’s possible “homosexuality” and of its denial. I think the time has come to let TE, his life and experiences, and the historical, social and psychological context of the period in which he lived, speak for themselves. So that readers can make up their own minds.

In this blog my focus will be on TE’s personal life before and after Arabia, and not on his military and political experiences. I will speak of TE instead of Lawrence or T.E. Lawrence. Herewith I follow the advice of one of TE’s best friends, the writer E.M. Forster (1879-1970), who said,

“The little fellow who is labelled for posterity as Law­rence of Arabia detested the title. He often asked people to call him TE, and perhaps it is fitting to respect his wish when writing about him now.” (*1)

Like the name Lawrence, his adopted surnames Ross and Shaw did not belong to TE.

“My father chose (the name Law­rence, ms) for me because it meant nothing to his family. The only authentic part of my name is the initials T.E. (they do not, I believe, translate into Thomas Edward … but that’s no matter) and most people who know me write to me as Dear TE! They feel safe at that. There aren’t many things safe about what are beautifully called “natural children”” (*2)

I started this blog in 2010 to publish the results of my extensive work on TE and to reach a wider audience for it. Since September 2012 it is linked to the Facebookpage TE: The Man Behind The Myth Of Lawrence Of Arabia. The page contains photo’s, films & video’s, links, books, quotes, music, question & answers, suggestions, thoughts & ideas, etc. It is a page meant for a new generation of TE enthusiasts with an open mind, a sense for the relative and the ludicrous, and sharing a belief in the multidimensional. I invite you to visit the page, to like it and to join in the discussions.

*1 E.M. Forster in: The Listener 31-7-1935,p.2­11
*2 Letter from TE to Doubleday 25-8-1927, in: Malcolm Brown (ed.) – The Letters Of T.E. Lawrence (J.M. Dent & Sons, London 1988),p.345

I would like to thank Arthur Broeders for helping me with the technical details of this blog, and the artist Rob Jongbloed for use of his wonderful triptych of TE, which is in my possession.

10 Comments to “About the Blog”

  1. This, to me, is an amazing story. I only knew about his “Lawrence of Arabia” period by watching the film. I liked it a lot so I saw it more than once. So glad you enlightened my perspectives. He now feels like a human being instead of an unattainable hero on a high ‘camel’… Love your picture with TE’s head it must be a priceless possession for you. Thanks a bunch for sharing your insights. Love & Hugs

  2. Maarten, I REALLY like your motives for doing this blog. I agree with E.M. Forster (who I also deeply admire) that TEL should be taken on HIS terms, not ours. He came out of an era where the very core of who he was, was stigmatized. He had a strong sense of self despite what society may have thought about him or his family, and more power to him! But despite that strength of character, we can all see it DID affect him, how could it not? We are products of our time, no matter how we may protest…

  3. This is a wonderful website. I’m watching Egypt in revolt. The Egyptians are calling for democratic change and believe they can impose it without outside interference. This was also the call of TE. He had faith in Arab ability to establish a democracy without the British, French or Americans controling events – it only took 90 years! I’m Irish but was a teenager in Iran during 1978/1979 and witnessed the revolution, which provoked my later interest in TE. These events are the first purely democratic and urgent cries for freedom that I can remember coming from the Middle East, and more importantly are eminating from the majority and don’t lean heavily on Islamic teachings. We really miss TE at moments like this. I do wish TE was here to enjoy it. I’m doing a dissertation on TE this year for my Masters in Humanities and find your site very enriching. Thank you.

  4. I just found your site. You’ve done a really awesome job and the articles you have so far are excellent.

  5. I stumbled across your blog and have now been reading it for hours. It’s very interesting and well written. You must’ve put so much time and effort into this. Thank you for this!

  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful blog. I have recently begun a project on TE’s relationship with Jim Ede, and the effects it had on the work of both. I see that your work is closely related in some areas, and I am enjoying reading about it hugely.

  7. I’ve lately become fascinated with TE as a brash, brilliant, complicated, and totally admirable person, for whom I have a lot of affection. I think viewing him as traumatized makes sense. I am reading and enjoying your site immensely.

  8. I discovered your site and blog following a Facebook post in the T.E.Lawrence Around Britain group. Thank you for posting such well-researched balanced arguments supported with traceable evidence. It was so refreshing to read! It makes such a change from the woffle, trite, and, crass rubbish that is often written.

  9. Namaya Art Rat for Peace

    Well done. carefully thought out and assessed. I had been long thinking and writing about TE and it is roughly “Beyond the Veil: Lawrence of the Shadows” on TE after the war and the psychic battles he fought with his identity. Thanks for your writings and thoughts

  10. Incredibly exhaustive research, with genuinely new insights. Thank you.

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