The Great Omar, once more …
In what do the Mona Lisa, Kafka’s manuscripts of “The Trial”, the diaries of Philip Larkin differ from ‘The Great Omar’, apart from being works of art? As Rick Gekoski informs us, and as the connoisseur has already guessed, they all have at one point in history been lost, stolen or shredded, which is also the title of his new book. The unique misfortune that befell The Great Omar was that it was drowned, restored again and then bombed, restored a second time and finally put away in a safe place, as we hope.
Gekoski tells the story of The Great Omar once more, but this time from the point of view of the booktrader, which he actually is. In stead of marvelling at the sheer exuberance of the covers of the book, he wonders why on earth one would want to produce such a treasure and more than that, why would one want to buy it?
‘Death by water: The Great Omar’ is a highly interesting chapter in the ongoing history of the Rubáiyát, as it sheds some light on the world of the very wealthy among the book collectors, who judge books by their covers.
Lost, stolen or shredded. Stories of missing works of art and literature. Rick Gekoski. Profile Books, 2013. ISBN: 978-1846684913