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Some unusual views of Omar – from beyond the grave and as Humpty Dumpty

August 24, 2015

Bob Forrest has been investigating a couple of writers who took distinctive and unusual views of Khayyam and the Rubaiyat. There are brief summaries below. Follow the links to Bob’s website for the full write-ups.

Omar speaks from Beyond the Grave? This is a spiritual interpretation of The Rubaiyat supposedly offered by Omar himself from beyond the grave, via the American medium Mrs Esther O’Neill. The results were published in a rather curious little volume entitled Omar’s Rubaiyat Re-written (Vantage Press Inc., New York, 1954.) The book contains the story of Mrs O’Neill’s contacts with ‘Omar’ as well as a ‘correct’ translation/interpretation of Khayyam’s verses in spiritual terms. See for more information.

Humpty_Dumpty_clip_art_mediumOmar Khayyam as Humpty Dumpty (7th January 1901). This is the title of last of four articles written by A. H. Millar for The People’s Friend, the others being “The Omar Khayyam Myth” (11th June 1900), “The Omar Myth Reviewed” (23rd July 1900) and “Homer, Omar and Andrew Lang” (22nd Oct 1900.) The four articles together are listed as Potter #842 The theory of the author is that, though Omar the mathematician and astronomer really existed, Omar the poet is a myth, all of the verses attributed to him being forgeries dating from at least three centuries after his death.  For more details on the content of the articles and the vociferous reactions to them by Rubaiyat enthusiasts, see

As Bob Forrest has commented, neither of these is particularly significant in the field of Omarian studies – but they shine a light in a couple of unusual corners of Omarian literature. Thanks to Bob for sharing his research on this.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Douglas Taylor permalink
    August 27, 2015 2:57 pm

    Helen Butler Wells took dictation from Omar in 1934. She typed it up and called it “The Song of the Seven Seas.” Copies are at Columbia University, New York Public Library, and Yale University.

  2. Amos Thomas permalink
    September 8, 2015 6:15 pm

    Thank you very much. Amos Thomas

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