Uncharted 3: Who Was Lawrence of Arabia?
T.E. Lawrence provides the inspiration for Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. In the game, Nathan Drake embarks on a perilous, high-stakes adventure following in the footsteps of Lawrence, known as 'Lawrence of Arabia', from the streets of London to the heart of the Arabian Desert in search of a lost city – the fabled "Atlantis of the Sands".
But who was Lawrence of Arabia? The information below is from Jeremy Wilson, T.E. Lawrence’s authorised biographer.
Thereafter, the facts of Lawrence's war-adventures were often obscured by myth. Even today, his reputation is a favourite target for popular controversialists. Nevertheless, when the secret British archives of the Middle East campaigns were released in the 1960s and '70s, they showed that Lawrence's service with the Arabs had been no less remarkable than the legend.
Lawrence himself had little wish to be remembered as a war hero: he could hardly bear to think about his wartime role. His enduring ambition was to be a writer. He once confessed his hope that, "in the distant future, if the distant future deigns to consider my insignificance, I shall be appraised rather as a man of letters than a man of action."*
Both in his books and letters, Lawrence was an acute observer of people, places, and events. Among the most memorable passages in Seven Pillars are the vivid descriptions of desert landscapes and of the Bedouin irregulars whose life he shared. The Mint, written in a very different style to Seven Pillars, is, like Solzenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a work of observation written by a highly intelligent man who found himself effectively imprisoned. Lawrence distilled its spare descriptions from events that he had witnessed over and over again. Both Seven Pillars and The Mint ranked among Penguin's ‘Modern Classics’.
Lawrence's letters are no less remarkable. His friendships ranged from fellow-servicemen in the ranks to leading figures in the worlds of literature, art, and politics. In many cases, letters were almost the only vehicle for these relationships, since the circumstances of his life meant that he could rarely meet his friends.
Should he be appraised as a writer or a man of action? At the close of the twentieth century the verdict remained open. Other men of action marked history more deeply; other writers earned higher acclaim; yet few of his contemporaries combined both practical and intellectual achievements to the degree that Lawrence did. That intriguing combination has helped to sustain the public's fascination with his life, as has the deeply introspective personality revealed in his writings.
* T. E. Lawrence to Edward Garnett, 23 December 1927 (Malcolm Brown, ed., Letters of T. E. Lawrence, 1988, p. 361)