I have been interested in the life of T. E. Lawrence for a number of years now and one day last year – or was it in 2013? I can’t quite remember – I developed an interest in Lawrence’s mentor, David George Hogarth; as I write these words, I can’t quite remember why I became interested in him, but interested I became and so this post is being written.
Anyway, I decided it would be an awfully good idea if I read all of Hogarth’s books. Maybe with a view to writing a little biography of him. To the best of my knowledge, he published fourteen in total. If you look at the tag below this post or use the search function you’ll see which ones I have already blogged about.
As of today I have read six of thefourteen and am on the seventh. For the first few months of 2015 I was reading Hogarth every day; then, I’m afraid to say, I got distracted. Even worse was to follow – I got a job and that sunk me for a few months after.
Lately, however, I have managed to get back into the Hogarth reading groove and am very grateful for it.
What happened to bring me back?
I was ploughing through Hogarth’s The Penetration of Arabia, and goodness me the book was like crossing the Arabian desert.
In case you don’t know, The Penetration of Arabia is a kind of potted biography of the (few) Europeans who managed to traverse Arabia in the two or so hundred years leading up to when the book was written in 1905.
When I say Europeans, I mean men. A couple of women joined them but that’s all. Arabia was no more easy to visit for them then as Saudi Arabia is now.
Balack to the point, though; I was ploughing throug the book when suddenly I realised, this was not a book about Europeans of a bygone age who had no connexion with me whatsoever; it was about T. E. Lawrence’s predecessors. When he took part in the Arab Revolt (helped by Hogarth in Cairo), he followed in their footsteps.
Well, in a manner of speaking, of course, but I didn’t mind that: as soon as I connected the book to Lawrence, it made sense to me, and I read it – if not quickly – then more regularly and with more respect and commitment.