Author: Omar Khayyám (1048−1131)
Translator: Edward FitzGerald (1809−1883)
Publisher: Wordsworth Classics (2009 edition)
Bought from: Noq Store


Omar Ghiyāth ad-Dīn Abu’l-Fatḥ ‘Umar ibn Ibrāhīm al-Khayyām Nīshāpūrī, better known as Omar Khayyám, was a Persian mathematician, philosopher and astronomer. But he is best known today for a set of quatrains attributed to him and which were translated by Edward FitzGerald and published under the title The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. FitzGerald published the first edition in 1859, followed by 4 editions under his control (1868, 1872 and 1879) and a fifth edition published posthumously (1889).

What is the story about?

As very little is known about Omar Khayyám, the poems are open to interpretation. One of the most famous is the meta-referential quatrain no 51:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
   Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

What about the book?

This is a reproduction of the 1859 edition. There is a handy introduction by Cedric Watts.

Finally …

It is well known that FitzGerald’s translation was very loose and may be more accurately described as a reintepretation instead of translation.


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