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More on ‘Who first used the title ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’?’

December 27, 2012

Back in July 2012, there was a discussion about who first used the title The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam – see  We recently added the item below as a late comment, but we think it may be of more general interest, so we are also putting it in as a new post.  And a HAPPY NEW YEAR to all Omar Khayyam Rubaiyat bloggers and followers.

rosegardenWe have recently been looking again at Louisa S Costello’s translations mentioned by Garry in his 6th July comment (item 3). These English versions were published in 1840 (anonymously in Fraser’s Magazine) and 1845 (in The Rose Garden of Persia) and we notice that, in her introduction, she uses the expressions Rubajat Omar Chiam (in 1840) and Rubajat Omar Khiam (in 1845) to describe the verses. The phrase is not used anywhere as a title, but it could be said to be the first English use of the name.

As Garry mentions, Costello based her version of the verses on Von Hammer-Purgstall’s German translation, published in 1818. It is interesting that he is also clearly the source of the description of Khayyam as ‘the Voltaire of Persia’ also quoted by Costello. Von Hammer’s German text was published by Dole in his 1896 compendium on the Rubaiyat – vol II, pp 445-451.

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