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The Rubaiyats of John Buckland Wright (1897–1954) and Anthony Reid (1916–2003)

May 24, 2017

Bob Forrest has been investigating John Buckland Wright and his illustrations of the Rubaiyat which were published by the famous Golden Cockerel Press in 1938.  In the process he has discovered fascinating comments by the artist on his approach to this work,  and various other details of additional illustrations for the poem that Buckland Wright created.  This work has led Bob on to look at the life and works of Anthony Reid, who knew Buckland Wright and created an important Check List of his book illustrations.  Reid also produced an unusual Rubaiyat version of his own (see below), possibly based on A J Arberry’s translation of a forged manuscript, published in 1952.

The results of Bob’s extensive research are published on his own website – see word of warning to readers is in order.  As Bob puts it : “If this essay were a film, I would have to warn viewers that it contains ‘Adult Material’.”  Buckland Wright’s main illustrations are just very mildly erotic – we show one example here.  But his additional work is much more explicit in presenting heterosexual love, while Reid’s version is strongly homo-erotic.  What Bob has documented are examples of what may have been a fairly extensive sub-culture in Rubaiyat interpretation and illustrations.  As usual he has put together a very thorough and well researched study.

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