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The Toxic Morsel

T.E. Lawrence and "The Mint</I>

Andrew Williams

Lawrence of Arabia has achieved a mythic and heroic stature in our culture. Emerging from the First World War as a national hero and servant of the Empire, Lawrence had the world at his feet. Refusing all the honours and rewards that were offered, he instead sought refuge in the ranks of the Royal Air Force and rebuilt his life by writing The Mint, his «day-book» of the RAF. Through analysis of Lawrence’s text, his letters and a wide variety of critical sources, the role of the self in autobiography is examined, and a parallel is drawn between Lawrence’s literary life and his views on literature and imperialism and the reader’s place in the autobiographical genre. The result is a series of thought-provoking questions and answers that cast new light on the life of this celebrated icon.
Contents: Literary theory and autobiography – Criticism and personal history of Lawrence of Arabia – Imperialism, colonialism, and the role of the self – Psychology and literary criticism – Deconstruction and the role of autobiography – Textual history and self-reflection – Censorship and sexuality – The self in the modernist movement – Medieval literature and Victorianism – Victorian literature and loss of faith – Vorticism, futurism, and the creative impulse – Homosexuality and textual sexuality – The First World War and societal change.