Friday 16 August 2013

Al Harouns

The book starts:
Some of the evil in my tale might have been inherent in our circumstances. For years we lived anyhow with one another in the naked desert under the indifferent heaven. By day the hot sun fermented us, and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars. We were a self-centered army without parade or gesture, devoted to freedom, the second of man’s creeds. A purpose so ravenous that it devoured all our strength, a hope so transcendent that our earlier ambitions faded in its glare.

How could you not want to read on . . .

. . . into Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence (of Arabia).  I've made a pedantic criticism of his other film Dr Zhivago, but I can't find much fault with David Lean's epic (3.5 hrs) Lawrence of Arabia which is based partly on Lawrence's autobiography 7PoW.  It is clearly a boy's film - indeed there is no speaking part for any woman.  Peter O'Toole was so much taller and better looking than the real Lawrence that Noel Coward quipped
"If he'd been any prettier, they'd have had to call it Florence of Arabia.. Much more IMDB triv.

As is so often the case the book is far better than the film - both thrilling and literate (Lawrence was a 1st Class Honours (History) chap from Oxford. I have a 1st US Edition (1936) which I see from the fly-leaf that I spent $5 (!) on in about 1981.  On ebay today that such things are now 'worth' $25. $45 (which are both in wretched condition compared to mine) and $745; but it's not about the money. Oh and it's TEL's birthday today - 125 candles please.

No comments:

Post a Comment