The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom: An autobiographical account by the British soldier, archaeologist, Arabist, classical scholar and writer T(homas) E(dward) Lawrence (1888-1935) of his adventures in Arabia during the First World War. Lawrence too his title from the Bible:

‘Wisdom had builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.’

Proverbs 9:1

It is not clear why seven, although seven is commonly a mystical or sacred number and crops up frequently in the Bible. Lawrence famously mislaid the first draft of his manuscript in 1919 while changing trains at Reading.

The book formed the basis for the Oscar-winning epic film Lawrence of Arabia (1962) directed by David Lean (1908-1991) with a screenplay by Robert Bolt (1924-95), starring Peter O’Toole in the title role.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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