Following his extraordinary military and diplomatic career in Arabia, and having already become a legendary figure in the public imagination, T.E. Lawrence purchased his Dorset cottage retreat Clouds Hill in 1924 to write his book about the war. The first draft of Seven Pillars of Wisdom was completed by November 1919, but soon lost, according to the author, on Reading Station. A second draft was finished during 1922, and finally appeared as a private edition, reflecting Lawrence's love of fine printing, in the present form in 1926. An abridged version, Revolt in the Desert, was published in 1927.
"Subtitled 'A triumph', its climax is the Arab liberation of Damascus, a victory which successfully concludes a gruelling campaign and vindicates Lawrence's faith in the Arabs. In a way Seven Pillars is a sort of Pilgrim's Progress, with Lawrence as Christian, a figure sustained by his faith in the Arabs, successively overcoming physical and moral obstacles (Lawrence James, Oxford DNB).
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