The Rubiyt of Omar Khayym
- FitzGerald, Edward

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Mein Rhein! (Calotypes)

Commentary

After The Light of Asia (1908) and Songs from the Garden of Kama (1909) this was British photographer Mabel Eardley-Wilmot’s third photopoetic book. Transferring her picturesque aesthetic from her previous work to The Rubiyt, she demonstrated the inheritance of illustrated travel literature, the Victorian desire to record and document, and the dialogue between colonial photographs and photographic survey. Based in India, where her husband, Sir Sainthill, was forestry official, Eardley-Wilmot became a keen amateur photographer (just as had Lady Canning in the mid-nineteenth century) and produced many important topographical images of India.

In The Rubiyt, one of her major innovations is her engagement with FitzGerald’s metaphors, confounding some of our expectations concerning the signifier and signified. Typically, Eardley-Wilmot literalises FitzGerald’s rhetorical flourishes in order to nullify their exoticism, and instead creates her own photographic metaphors and signifiers from FitzGerald’s language, creating scenes and objects not explicitly signified in the text. Introducing symbolic landscapes into the text, Eardley-Wilmot manoeuvres FitzGerald’s role as author away from the text and heightens the exploratory agency of the female photographer, shaping the photopoetic project away from the descriptive model common to the nineteenth century.

Photographs in this volume are the Estate of Mabel Eardley-Wilmot and may not be reproduced without permission.

Book Details

Author: FitzGerald, Edward
Title: The Rubiyt of Omar Khayym
Publication Year: 1912
Poets Featured: Khayym, Omar
Photographers Featured: Eardley-Wilmot, Mabel
Photographic process: Calotypes

This book can be found in the University of St Andrews Library catalogue HERE

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