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Turner, J. (1991). T. E. Lawrence. Am. Imago, 48(3):395-411.

(1991). American Imago, 48(3):395-411

T. E. Lawrence

June Turner

Anyone attempting to write anything further about Lawrence of Arabia finds himself in a somewhat similar position to Albert Schweitzer, confronted with his daunting stack of books, all to be read before he could embark on his own quest for the historical Jesus. It would be as fruitless as superfluous to add another biographical study to the existing super-abundance (Caudwell 1938; Gorman 1940; Hyde 1977; Tabachnick 1978; Winstone 1982; Yardley 1985; Brown & Cave 1988; Wilson 1989), amongst which I most admire John E. Mack's A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T. E. Lawrence (1976) for its thoroughness and sensitivity. Perhaps this is because, like Dr. Mack, I have been drawn under Lawrence's spell by the poignancy of his life.

The present study of Lawrence is part of a much longer work on masochism and is limited to a consideration of masochism as it manifested itself, in an almost classic way, in an extraordinary human being. That Lawrence was a potential masochist was probably known to James Elroy Flecker before the First World War, that he was a practicing masochist was known to Professor Arnold Lawrence shortly after his brother's death in 1935, and known to the world at large after the ‘revelations’ of Colin Simpson and Phillip Knightley in the Sunday Times (1968).

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