The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
March 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (Persian: رباعیات عمر خیام)
The Rubaiyat is probably one of the best known poems in the world. Written by the great Persian poet, mathematician and 12th century astronomer – Omar Khayyam. Exotic and colourful, this is a powerful piece of literature demonstrating the philosophy and mysticism of medieval Persia.
The three illustrations shown above are by Robert Stewart contained in a 1965 publication (originally printed in 1947). The best known English translations are those by Edward FitzGerald (1809–1883). Fitzgerald wrote five editions (of about one hundred of the verses), beginning with an anonymous pamphlet in 1859. Interestingly this publication illustrated by Robert Stewart contains one, two and five of Fitzgerald’s translations. It also contains a List of the Variations in Text between each of his translations and a Comparative Table of Quatrains. As there is still much debate regarding the purity of his translation (Fitzgerald himself seemed to claim it as only an interpretation – not a translation) this is both an excellent resource and beautifully presented.