Analyse-Livres & Auteurs-Culture
Repères : Tour d'Angleterre :
Un archéologue, agent britannique
Après Oscar Wilde, nous avons rendez-vous avec T.E Lawrence plus connu sous le nom de Lawrence d'Arabie. Élève d'Oxford dans le département d'archéologie, il participa à de nombreux sites de fouilles au Moyen-Orient. Il apprit l'arabe et adopta même le mode de vie des Bédouins. Il s'engagea dans l'armée en 1914 et servit les intérêts de la couronne dans la conquête de la Palestine.
Il crut à l'existence d'un Empire arabe sous l'influence britannique, rêve qui prit fin avec l'expulsion de l'émir Faysal par les Français en 1920. En effet, les nations européennes voyaient d'un mauvais œil l'avènement d'un royaume perturbant leurs propres intérêts économiques.
Il démissionna et mourut dans un banal accident de moto sur une petite route du Dorset.
Les sept piliers de la sagesse
Le héros a publié en 1926 une œuvre qui parle de son aventure hors du commun : les sept piliers de la sagesse. La Gazette Littéraire vous propose de lire l'introduction à ce livre où l'écrivain dévoile son projet littéraire : celui de raconter l'histoire de sa vie et de son rêve avorté. Vous aurez ensuite la possibilité de retrouver ce personnage flamboyant sous les traits de Peter O'Tool dans le film de David Lean, Lawrence d'Arabie :
In these pages the history is not of the Arab movement, but of me in it. It is a narrative of daily life, mean happenings, little people. Here are no lessons for the world, no disclosures to shock peoples. It is filled with trivial things, partly that no one mistake for history the bones from which some day a man may make history, and partly for the pleasure it gave me to recall the fellowship of the revolt. We were fond together, because of the sweep of the open places, the taste of wide winds, the sunlight, and the hopes in which we worked. The moral freshness of the world-to-be intoxicated us. We were wrought up in ideas inexpressible and vaporous, but to be fought for. We lived many lives in those whirling campaigns, never sparing ourselves: yet when we achieved and the new world dawned, the old men came out again and took our victory to re-make in the likeness of the former world they knew. Youth could win, but had not learned to keep: and was pitiably weak against age. We stammered that we had worked for a new heaven and a new earth, and they thanked us kindly and made their peace.
All men dream: but nor equally, Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses oftheir minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did. I meant to make a new nation, to restore a lost influence, to give twenty millions of Semites the foundations on which to build an inspired dream-palace of their national thoughts. So high an aim called out the inherent nobility of their minds, and made them play a generous part in events : but when we won, it was charged against me that the British petrol royalties in Mesopotamia were become dubious, and French Colonial policy ruined in the Levant.
I am afraid that I hope so. We pay for these things too much in honour and in innocent lives. (...)
For my work on the Arab front I had determined to accept nothing. The Cabinet raised the Arabs to fight for us by definite promises of self-government afterwards. Arabs believe in persons, not in institutions. They saw in me a free agent of the British Government, and demanded from me an endorsement of its written promises. So I had to join the conspiracy, and, for what my word was worth, assured the men of their reward. In our two years' partnership under fire they grew accustomed to believing me and to think my Government, like myself, sincere. In this hope they performed some fine things, but, of course, instead of being proud of what we did together, I was bitterly ashamed. (...)
The dismissal of Sir Henry McMahon confirmed my belief in our essential insincerity: but I could not so explain myself to General Wingate while the war lasted, since I was nominally under his orders, and he did not seem sensible of how false his own standing was. The only thing remaining was to refuse rewards for being a successful trickster and, to prevent this unpleasantness arising, I began in my reports to conceal the true stories of things, and to persuade the few Arabs who knew to an equal reticence. In this book also, for the last time, I mean to be my own judge of what to say.
repères à suivre : C.S Lewis