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The Whitcombe & Tombs Rubaiyats part 2 – Hardback editions

September 21, 2020

Bob Forrest has now sent us as second  contribution about editions of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam published ‘down-under’ in the 1940’s.  He is again seeking additional information from any readers who possess copies of the books discussed. If you can help with Bob’s enquiry, please comment below and/or send us information via sandrabill@omarkhayyamrubaiyat.com. Bob writes:

The Whitcombe & Tombs editions covered in the previous post (see link below*) were effectively ‘paperbacks’. The present post deals with the three ‘hardback’ editions. Again, all are undated.

Fig. 1a

The front cover of the first is shown in Fig.1a and its frontispiece & title page in Fig.1b. This is conveniently described as R.G.T. version 1, R.G.T. being the initials of the (as yet unidentified) artist, which can be seen in the bottom left hand corner of Fig.1b. Though undated, the evidence suggests that it was first published in 1944 (see my online article for details ** – its imprint certainly dates it to 1944-1949.) This edition is characterised by the three domes & minaret on the front cover, and though Fig.1a is blue, other copies are in green. It would be useful if any readers who have copies of this book could supply details of their copies– colour of the cover and any dated gift inscription, especially.

Fig. 1b
Fig. 2

The front cover of the second ‘hardback’ edition, conveniently dubbed R.G.T. version 2, is shown in Fig.2. Its frontispiece & title page are as in version 1, but its cover is characterised by its two domes & minaret.  Like version 1, its imprint certainly dates it to 1944-1949, and the gift inscription in Gordon Cramer’s copy (as reported here in a comment on the previous post) dates it to 1944 – the same year as version 1 appeared! But two versions appearing in the same year ??? This is a puzzle, and it would be interesting to have readers’ thoughts on it, as well as information on any copies of R.G.T. version 2 that they own. (My online article (see link below **) was written at a time when the only copy known to me was that of Sandra & Bill, with a gift inscription dating it to Christmas 1948, suggesting, reasonably, that version 2 appeared a few years after version 1. This clearly now needs a rewrite – and in addition shows the value of pooling information on the blog!)

Fig. 3a

The front cover of the third ‘hardback’ edition is shown in Fig.3a, this being characterised by its three domes & minaret (cf Fig.1a).  Its frontispiece & title page are shown in Fig.3b. The book is notably smaller than the two RGT versions (approximately 14 cm in height as against some 25 cm) and it is effectively a ‘hardback’ edition of Courage & Friendship edition, version 2, covered in the previous post, though there is no reference to the Courage & Friendship series in it (unless there once was one on a now vanished dust-jacket ?) All that is known for sure is that its imprint dates it to 1944-1949, so if any reader has a copy with a dated gift inscription, please do let us know. Likewise it would be useful to know if there are any variant covers of this edition ‘out there.’

Fig. 3b

Finally, I have not yet come across an RGT edition, version 1 or version 2, which has a dust jacket, so if any reader of this does have one such, please do get in touch.  And if anyone has suggestions about who RGT actually was, I should also be glad to know.

*https://omarkhayyamrubaiyat.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/the-whitcombe-tombs-rubaiyats/

**http://www.bobforrestweb.co.uk/The_Rubaiyat/N_and_Q/Whitcombe_and_Tombs/Whitcombe_and_Tombs.htm

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