Introduced by Basil Dean
Illustrated by Peter Bucknell
Once almost lost to obscurity, this forgotten gem of a play is gorgeously illustrated by Peter Bucknell and bound in art silk.
A play in prose and poetry, Hassan tells of a humble confectioner who saves the Caliph, Haroun Al Raschid, from an assassination attempt by the King of the Beggars. Hassan is promoted to the Court, but success does not bring happiness: he falls victim to the wiles of the wanton Yasmin and witnesses harsh reprisals among the Caliph’s enemies. Finally, sickened by these cruelties and corruptions, he sets off on a pilgrimage along the Golden Road to Samarkand.
‘A sheer delight from beginning to end’Though it evokes the world of The Arabian Nights, Hassan was written just before the First World War, by a young English poet. Like Edward Fitzgerald’s Rubáiyát, Hassan is full of the seductive and heady imagery of the fabled East: nightingales and cypresses, wine and roses, dust and scimitars. With its tragedy and heartbreak, it echoes Flecker’s own life. Hassan was his last work, and he did not live to see its first successful performance in 1923: he died of tuberculosis in a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland, in 1915.
Reissued for Flecker’s centenary year, this edition contains an introduction by the actor and director Basil Dean, who first discovered the manuscript of Hassan as a young theatrical assistant and brought it to the stage ten years later. Peter Bucknell’s exquisite costume designs appear as full-page illustrations. The edition is printed on beautiful textured art paper. Metallic gold endpapers and a binding in art silk provide the finishing touches.
We are the Pilgrims, master: we shall go
Always a little further: it may be
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or that glimmering sea ...
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