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Genius awakens genius: Professor Edward Byles Cowell F.B.A. (1826-1903)

July 18, 2022

Edward Byles Cowell was the man who introduced Edward FitzGerald first to the idea of studying the Persian language and literature and then to the manuscript of the verses of Omar Khayyam which Cowell had found in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. In a sense he can be seen as the original begetter of what became Edward FitzGerald famous poem, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

Cowell was born and brought up in Ipswich, Suffolk and, after some time studying in Oxford, he went on to work in India and then returned to the UK, eventually becoming Professor of Sanskrit in Cambridge. One of our regular contributors, Charles Mugleston, has recently published a short appreciation of Cowell in the Newsletter of the Ipswich Society, stressing both his links with the town of Ipswich and his wide ranging scholarhip. He quotes one comment on Cowell which states that he was ‘one of the greatest minds that East Anglia has produced’. This interesting article can be accessed via the following link

One Comment leave one →
  1. Charles Mugleston permalink
    July 18, 2022 4:44 pm

    Dear Sandra and Bill,

    Thank you once again.

    Have just been reading that EBC’s pupils called him ‘Rishi’… is this prophetic of what yet may happen and quite soon in the destiny of our country !! ? – just joking……….

    Wishing you happier, cooler and calmer days ahead.


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