The Lawrence of Arabia legend has proved to be one of the enduring myths of military masculinity in twentieth-century Western culture.1 The famous story of the British intelligence officer who lived among Bedouin Arabs, became a commander of their guerrilla army, and led them to freedom from Ottoman tyranny during the latter part of the First World War, has been told and retold in an abundance of forms since its original narration (as ' the Greatest Romance of Real Life') by Lowell Thomas over seventy-five years ago. Subsequent versions include T.E. Lawrence's own Seven Pillars of Wisdom, numerous biographies and - the most popular vehicle of all - the David Lean and Robert Bolt feature film, Lawrence of Arabia, first released in 1962 and re-issued (in a painstakingly restored version) in 1988, to 'extraordinary attention' and critical acclaim. 2 These retellings, far from being simple reproductions of essentially the 'same' story, offer widely discrepant representations of their hero and his exploits.
Dawson, Graham, A Lament for Imperial Adventure: Lawrence of Arabia in the Post-Colonial World, Kunapipi, 18(1), 1996.