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Calling all lovers of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

April 17, 2012

This blog is for everyone who loves the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and finds that it is still both fascinating and inspirational, over 900 years after it was first created in eastern Persia, and 150 years after Edward FitzGerald created his famous version of the poem in English.

If you don’t have a clue what we are talking about, you may at this point want to check out our main website which has lots of detail about the poem, its authors, and even a full text of FitzGerald’s first edition in English.

For those who already know the poem, we are aiming to use this blog to help everyone keep up to date with new happenings relating to the Rubaiyat – books, art works, exhibitions, lectures, research, and much more.  The year 2009 was a seminal point for Rubaiyat lovers, with so many happenings that marked the two anniversaries in that year.  But more has happened since.  And it would be great if we could create on on-going Rubaiyat community to which everyone can communicate their knowledge and thoughts.

So if you have news or thoughts that you would like to share, please file comments on the blog, or contact us and we can do it for you.  The more the merrier – at least at present!  Let us have your suggestions.  And sign up to receive blog notifications by e-mail so you know what is happening.

SandraBill OKR

8 Comments leave one →
  1. John Drew permalink
    May 7, 2012 4:44 pm

    Anyone know the price of the Macmillan’s 1890 so-called 5th edition of the Rubaiyat? John Drew.

  2. May 11, 2012 8:28 pm

    With great respect, doesn’t the phrase “… 150 years after Edward FitzGerald created his famous version of the poem in English.” help to continue a common error about the piece, since there was no single poem that EFG translated, but rather his selection from more than 500 individual poems?

    • May 14, 2012 4:19 pm

      Should one talk about the Rubaiyat as ‘a poem’? Does ‘a poem’ have to be fixed in content? We are not sure. The word Rubaiyat itself means a collection of four line verses. Certainly FitzGerald cherry picked verses from a large selection of Persian originals in the Ouseley and Calcutta manuscripts (more than 600 quatrains including overlaps). And other manuscripts contain more verses. Perhaps it would be more correct to speak generally of Rubaiyat collections when discussing both Persian and English texts. But we feel that it is right to talk about FitzGerald’s version as ‘a poem’, even though its content changed between the editions. Any other views on this?

  3. May 14, 2012 4:36 pm

    I’ve done a lot of wrestling with this question. And I’m not sure I’ve got it right. As I understand it, each ‘ruba’i’ is considered to be a complete poem. Just as a ‘haiku’ is a complete poem. So a ‘rubaiyat’ is a collection, not of verses, but of individual poems. But we are in complete agreement, I think, that what FitzGerald created, by assembling some of the Khayyam ‘poems’ is in the end ‘a poem’, that consists of a single, subtle, but coherent narrative.

  4. May 15, 2012 2:31 am

    In several letters at the time Fitz said that he saw a way in which some of the Khayyam poems might be, “… tesselated into a kind of Epicurean eclogue in a Persian garden.” I think we all agree that was a brilliant decision. And I agree completely with Tony Briggs’ assessment. When we speak of this piece we call the “Rubaiyat”, the inspiration is the lore of Khayyam, the genius is Edward FitzGerald.

  5. May 27, 2012 10:29 am

    The entire output of Omarikhayyam, one may never exactly how many. Think of each quatrain as stay rope with pegs to hold up a tent, in the sense of a tent is set up in any place for the indweller’s enjoyment and ease. It is rooted however as a tent onto the ground and has certain volume. Using this analogy Fitz has a tent of certain size and it is not what Omar Khayyam would have used. Never mind the English man of letters made a body of poems as any other. It is Rubaiyat and it can be set up anywhere. Only that it is built on life experience of the poet and has a feel of life about. An Arab may use the words to the rhythm of camel trudging the way or a potter in Basra as though he is slapping clay on the moving wheel.

  6. May 27, 2012 2:42 pm

    What a wonderful set of images, Benny! I simply never thought of it like that. And of course it ties in with the meaning of the name Khayyam, i.e., tentmaker. Thanks so much for this! (Didn’t quite understand, “Never mind the English man of letter made a body of poems as any other.” Is there a word mising?)

    • May 28, 2012 4:25 am

      Oops! thanks for your hint. Read it as ‘Never mind the English man of of letters made a body of poems as any other poet( Omar et al)

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