Austin Torney has sent us an interesting article on the interpretation of the Rubaiyat. His paper starts as follows.
Clued in via a paper on Existence by my friend, Johann de Jong, I now realize all the more, and further add my own take, that Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat reveals the Theory of Everything (ToE), even if Omar did so inadvertently, for he wrote of “…evermore Came out by the same Door as in I went”, “…But not the Master-knot of Human Fate”, and so forth; however, he still unveils a philosophy, the central tenet being the primacy of the ‘Now’—over “Unborn To-morrow and dead Yesterday”.
It turns out that there is only the Now, in nature, and in us as the present sensation, which smoothly rolls along, due to our human imagination of anticipation of what is likely next to come and to our very recent memory of what just went on. Such, as with music, it sings the song of continuity.
Outside of memory, the past is not kept and the future is not yet. We look through Time, not space, to ‘see’ distant galaxies and stars, as they were long ago, some of which may no longer exist. Even the vision of our own sun is eight minutes behind the Now, and has changed. …..
To read Austin’s full article, go to https://austintorney.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/omars-rubaiyat-as-a-theory-of-everything/. Our image is Doris Palmer’s illustration of the confused student of quatrain 27 (1st edition) which Austin quotes.
Austin Torney has recently published three editions of his version of the Rubaiyat, with his own illustrations, many of which are new for these editions. Full details can be seen on https://austintorney.wordpress.com.
The cover of one of the new editions gives a taste of what is on offer.
Most people with an interest in Edward FitzGerald and his version of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a visit to the Woodbridge area, where FitzGerald spent much of his life and where he is buried, is something on the agenda. For those who have not yet managed to make the journey, a new article in Suffolk Norfolk Life provides a virtual tour, with some splendid photographs of the key destinations, including the house Little Grange, whereFitzGerald lived, and his grave in Boulge churchyard. The article entitled ‘In Pursuit of a Poet’ by Mary Derriman is to be found in the February 2015 edition, with a link from http://www.suffolknorfolklife.com/ . The pictures shown even provoke some of us, who have already been there, to say ‘it is time to go again’.
Our thanks to Charles Mugleston for alerting to this article.
In a comment on the earlier posting about Bob Forrest copper plate or tray with a Khayyam theme, Garry Garrard mentioned his own wooden tray with a Khayyamic decoration (see https://omarkhayyamrubaiyat.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/a-copper-plate-or-tray-with-a-khayyam-theme-can-anyone-help-to-identify-where-this-was-made/ ) . He has now sent us some more details, and a couple of pictures. Thanks, Garry, for this further evidence of the widespread influence of Khayyam and the Rubaiyat.
The tray, like a small butler’s tray, is oblong, about 25cm x 50cm with a depiction of Quatrain X1 (1st edition). It has a small stand that brings the tray to about 40cm high. I don’t know much about its background, but I guess its early 20th century. I found it in an antique shop in Sligo town, I seem to remember they had a second one but it wasn’t on display. It probably came from one of the numerous Anglo-Irish houses that were closed down and as often as not demolished.
Bob Forrest recently acquired a pressed copper plate or tray which seems to have a Khayyam theme. This is surmised from the central image on the plate (see the first picture below) and the inclusion of the words Hakim Khayyam in Arabic/Persian script (see the second picture). The plate is also clearly marked as pressed copper in English (third picture).
Bob is keen to find out more about this unusual object, notably where, when and by and for whom it was made. Does anyone have ideas about this? Have any of you ever seen anything else like this? If you can help in the search for information, please post a comment below. And thanks in advance.
In the fascinating One Summer. America 1927 by Bill Bryson, there is paragraph on the return match between the boxing champions of those days Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney. It was an enormous event with 150.000 spectators. Dempsey was more or less a straight forward national hero, where Tunney was described by Bryson as follows:
“Tunney promoted himself as an intellectual and a gentleman. He didn’t drink or swear and refused to advertise cigarettes, but he made a lot of money endorsing other things – cars, hats, shoes, pyjamas and walking sticks, among much else. He had an unfortunate tendency to pomposity. He liked to carry a book around with him. When asked what it was, he would reply casually, ‘Oh, just a copy of the Rubáiyát that I am never without.’ This was largely why most people couldn’t stand him. The typical fight fan, as Paul Gallico of the Daily News put it, ‘wanted to see the book-reading snob socked back to Shakespeare’.”
What is interesting in this book is that it gives us an impression of the unbelievable masses of people that attended this sort of events, not only boxing but the parades in honour of Charles Lindbergh’s Atlantic crossing in that same year, as well. Does it relate somehow to the mass hysteria about the rubáiyát of those and the preceeding decades?