In 1859, Edward FitzGerald translated into English the short, epigrammatic poems (or "rubáiyát") of medieval Persian poet Omar Khayyám. If not a true translationhis Omar seems to have read Shakespeare and the King James Biblethe 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.
About the Author
Daniel Karlin is Professor of English at the University of Sheffield. His books include Proust's English and Browning's Hatreds.
Table of Contents
Introduction Note on the Text Note on the Pronunciation and Transcription of Persian Words Select Bibliography A Chronology of Edward FitzGerald RUBÁIYÁT OF OMAR KHAYYÁM Table of Corresponding Stanzas Appendix 1: Contemporary Responses Appendix 2: Tennyson, 'To E. FitzGerald'
Variants Explanatory Notes