Synopses & Reviews
In 1859, Edward FitzGerald translated into English the short, epigrammatic poems (or rubaiyat) of medieval Persian poet Omar Khayyam. If not a true translation--his Omar seems to have read Shakespeare and the King James Bible--the poem nevertheless conveyed some of the most beautiful and haunting images in English poetry, and some of the sharpest-edged. By the end of the century, it was one of the best-known poems in the English language, admired by Swinburne and Ruskin. Daniel Karlin's richly annotated edition focuses on the poem as a work of Victorian literary art, doing justice to the scope and complexity of FitzGerald's lyrical meditation on human death and fate. Karlin provides a fascinating critical introduction which documents the poem's treatment of its Persian sources, along with its multiple affiliations with English and Classical literature and to the Bible. A selection of contemporary reviews offers an insight into the poem's early reception, including the first attack on its status as a translation.
The Rubaiyat's simple eloquence and lilting rhymes form an elegy to the transience of life and the beauty of human experience.
Perhaps the most widely known poem in the world, the Rubaiyat has captured the imagination of millions of readers down the centuries. Its simple eloquence and lilting rhymes form an elegy to the transience of life and the beauty of human experience.
The Rubaiyat resonates with readers around the world. Simultaneously hedonistic and reflective, sensual and philosophical, it translates the contradictions of human nature into succinct, lyrical verse.
This collector’s edition, with page decorations by Edmund Dulac throughout, contains a detailed introduction to the poem by John Baldock. Originally penned in 11th-century Persia by astronomer and philosopher Omar Khayyam, the Rubaiyat was translated into English in the 19th century by scholar Edward Fitzgerald and gained a new lease on life.