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A new website from a Rubaiyat enthusiast will enlighten all of us

April 4, 2014
Sullivan illustration from new website

Sullivan illustration from new website

Bob Forrest, who has been an important contributor to this blog, has now launched a new website devoted to a number of his wide ranging interests, including the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. His interest in the Rubaiyat stems from his teenage years and has been revived more recently following efforts to explain some of the more obscure corners of the poem for the benefit of two ex-students, one Vietnamese and the other Chinese. The Rubaiyat archive on the website contains a large number of essays and notes covering reactions to the Rubaiyat, various religious interpretations and controversies, illustrations, and much more. There are detailed notes on individual quatrains, including comments on the issue of ‘throwing the stone’ in quatrain one of the FitzGerald’s first edition, a topic discussed on this site (see and earlier posts).

To get to the Rubaiyat section of Bob’s new website, go to the home page at and scroll down to the relevant paragraphs. Or you can go directly to On the home page, there are also links to various other sites of use to Rubaiyat researchers. Congratulation to Bob for creating a major addition to the Rubaiyat resources.

Book Club meeting on ‘Samarkand’

April 1, 2014

SamarkandThe Chester Beatty Library Members’ Book Club will have a Book Club meeting, to discuss Amin Maalouf’s novel Samarkand. The book tells the story of Omar Khayyám who, accused of mocking the codes of Islam, finds sympathy with the very man who is to judge his alleged crimes. Recognising Khayyám’s genius, the judge decides to spare him and gives him instead a small, blank book, encouraging him to confine his thoughts to it alone…

The meeting  is one of a series in which a number of interesting titles will be chosen to complement themes and items from the Chester Beatty Library collection (Dublin, Ireland). The meeting will be held Wednesday 30th April at 6 pm.

For more information see the Book Club’s announcement.

Nowruz greetings to bloggers and readers

March 20, 2014

We send greetings to all our contributors and readers for the Spring solstice and Nowruz, the Persian New Year.  We hope that the sun is shining wherever you are and that the flowers and new growth of Spring are beginning to show themselves.

7she1072scfHere is one of Edward FitzGerald’s interpretations of this exciting time of year (quatrain 7 of his first edition of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam).

Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly – and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

Omar Khayyám Club of Londen

March 19, 2014

OKClubLondonRecently some highly interesting articles and posts were published on the website of the Omar Khayyám Club of London. The site has been on the air since Summer 2013, but for a long time it offered merely a framework of the content that the reader could expect. Now we are delighted to find some of the speeches of recent years, the so called ‘Fitz’, which is given at the each dinner by one of the brethren. There is also a contribution by Professor Briggs on FitzGerald’s translation of the Rubáiyát, and a history of the Club by Bennet Maxwell. And of course, there is a selection of the menus.
It makes us hungry for more.

House where FitzGerald worked on the Rubaiyat gets a new lease of life

February 27, 2014

Garry Garrard has sent us this interesting news of a place dear to the heart of Edward FitzGerald.

goldingtonI used to live in Bedford until 10 years ago and I came to know quite a bit about Edward FitzGerald’s frequent visits there.  In my book (details below) I said that he must have done much of his early work on the Rubaiyat during visits to the house of his close friend, William Kenworthy Browne (see EFG letters, June 5, 1857, from which you can conclude that here he did some of his Latin versions).  I concluded the comments with the sad news that the house  – Goldington Hall – was derelict and likely, at best, to be converted into apartments.  I was privately concerned that the whole property might be burned accidentally (or even intentionally) resulting in demolition and the building of yet another estate.

I recently returned to Bedford and I received some confused input about Goldington Hall from old friends.  I investigated and I am delighted to say that all my fears have been allayed.  There was a fire at Goldington Hall in 2009 or 2010, but it must have been a modest one, resulting only in repairs to part of the roof.  The house was subsequently bought by the Manor Building Preservation Trust and has been renovated and modernised to make it suitable for (very luxurious!) modern living. It is now on sale, as a seven bedroom, six bathroom property with two acres, for £3.4million. You can find the details on this link: . There are 30 photos. So the house lives again.

It’s nice to hear a story like that these days.  We are sure that Edward FitzGerald would be glad.

* Garry Garrard  A Book of Verse: The Biography of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,  Stroud, Sutton Publishing, 2007.

Khayyam exhibition in Tehran

February 17, 2014

Only a few days are left to hurry down to Tehran for an exhibition of calligraphy works of Khayyám’s poems  in the University of Tehran.  The collection which includes Khayyam Latin calligraphy was created by the Iranian calligrapher Mojtaba Karami who has vast experiences in the art. Some 30 works of the artist have been displayed at the exhibition, depicting some selected poems of Khayyam’s famous quatrains in ten different languages.
The exhibition started Sunday, February 16, and will run until February 19, at the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Tehran.

From: Press TV, February 17, 2014

Rubaiyat in Sanskrit and Telegu, and a Spiritual Interpretation

January 21, 2014

Sehdev Singh from Visakhapatnam, a city in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India has sent us information about a rare translation of the Rubaiyat, and some comments on a Spiritual Interpretation of the verses.

In a historic town of Vizianagaram, just 55 kms. from Visakhapatnam, during the twentieth century, there lived a great scholar by the name, Sri Adibhat Narayandas who was proficient in Sanskrit and many other languages. He was a great devotee of God and publically sang the praises and the stories of the Lord. When he read Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of “The Rubaiyat,” he decided to learn Persian and then study the master-piece.  In his translation of the book, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khaiyam, published in 1932, he writes: “By a deep study of Omar’s original quatrains, and Edward Fitzgerald’s English translation thereof, I translated both of the texts into Sanskrit and Atchha-Telugu verse…..I translated Fitzgerald into Sanskrit of the Anustub metre, into Telugu of the Kandam metre, and the original text (Persian) into Giti and one of the Bhujangi metres of Sanskrit.”

Sri Narayandas’  book has been out of print for quite a quite long time.  Sehdev Singh reports ‘It took me four years to locate this book and only recently I found it in the Central Library of Andhra University. I was allowed to take a photocopy of the entire book. I gave one copy of the photocopied book to Mr Marcel Bassirian and his wife Nadia Azzizadeh of Iran who attended a workshop on Sunyoga organized be me here in Visakhapatnam last month.’

Sehdev Singh adds: ‘The most important and divinely authoritative work of interpretation of the Rubaiyat, I believe, was done of India’s great yogi, Sri Paramahansa Yogananda in his book entitled “Wine of the Mystic – The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam – A Spiritual Interpretation.” It is published by Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, founded by him in 1920 [there is an edition published in Los Angeles in 1994, with extensive illustrations].   In this book, Sri Yoganda has given spiritual interpretation along with practical application of the verses of the Rubaiyat.    I recommend this book to your readers.’

Finally, Sehdev Singh asks whether it is possible to have an official version in Persian of all the available verses of “The Rubaiyat” along with English transliteration and English translation?  Comments please.


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