People who didn’t get Brick Tamland’s joke about the “Middle East” in Anchorman, can still often lay claim to some knowledge of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’; even if that knowledge is just a phantasm in their own minds. The name invokes images of exotic deserts and revolution, but a surprising amount of people won’t know that he was originally just “Lawrence of Wales” and his first name wasn’t even ‘Lawrence’.

In his lifetime, Lawrence was a worldwide superstar – thanks to his exploits and those of an American man to be named later – so his name has been bandied about and bludgeoned for the better part of a century. The faithful hoards of Hello! Magazine are more concerned with his sexual orientation and penchant for birched botty than his successful inciting of revolution amongst warring Arab tribes, but we’re certain that won’t concern you, faithful WhatCulture reader of saltier stock!

Next year, we’re set to have another cinematic depiction of T. E. Lawrence in Werner Herzog’s ‘Queen of the Desert’. A chronicle of Gertrude Bell, a woman whose jaw-dropping Resume is certainly equal to – if not superior, considering at the time she was a she while he was a he – Lawrence’s own. She’s credited with being a ‘writer, archaeologist, political officer and spy’ in the Middle East in the run up to the First World War – bear in mind this was before women even got the vote in Blighty – and playing her will be the delectable Naomi Watts! However, playing the fair-haired hero Lawrence, will be the alabaster/granite-faced Robert Pattinson.

So, swallowing our pessimism, we at WhatCulture decided that we’d rustle up a few lesser-known aspects of the great man’s character and deeds we hope ‘Rpattz’ will take into consideration when he steps up to the mantel, polished translucent by the majestic performances of Fiennes and O’Toole.


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This article was first posted on November 19, 2012