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Suffolk Poetry Society to pay tribute to the Rubaiyat in the summer

February 11, 2019

It sounds as though Suffolk will be a good place for Rubaiyat lovers to visit in 2019.  An earlier post mentioned a forthcoming event in Woodbridge, Suffolk on 31st March at which Charles Mugleston will be giving a reading of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward FitzGerald – see  Charles has also told us about a second event in Suffolk, in Ipswich in June, which is inspired by FitzGerald’s poem.

On June 13th 2019, Suffolk Poetry Society, in collaboration with Ipswich Arts Association, will present a lunchtime concert and readings at the Museum Street Methodist Church in Ipswich. The theme of the event is The Rubai’ya’t of Omar Khayyam and alongside excerpts from the Ruba’iya’t  and some of his letters, there will be poems by SPS members inspired by Fitzgerald’s translation interspersed with harp music by Virginie Roidiere.

More details of the event can be found via the following link. .


Omariana newsletter for Winter 2018 now available

February 7, 2019

We have just received the latest edition of the newletter Omariana, produced by Jos Coumans of the Netherlands Omar Khayyam Society.  This is an invaluable sources of information on new publications and other developments relating to Omar Khayyam and his Rubaiyat.  The newsletter highlights new translations, books, articles, digital productions and more.

Among the items in this edition, which were new to us, are a new translation from the Persian, by Amir Ali Siassi, and analyses of Rubaiyat translations by Swedish and French researchers.  The newsletter also highlights some new musical settings of parts of the Rubaiyat.  Overall, Omariana continues to document the way interpretation and analysis of Khayyam’s verses remain an important and live area of artistic and academic interest.

The newsletter is available free from Jos Coumans and you can subscribe to it via the following link  Our thanks to Jos for sharing his extensive finds with others through the newsletter.

Simon Gladdish publishes another rhyming version of the Rubaiyat

February 1, 2019

Some while back, Simon Gladdish published a rhyming version of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, based on the 1967 version produced by Robert Graves – see  In his new book, Simon has worked with another well known version of the poem, that produced by the poet John Heath-Stubbs using the translation made by the Persian scholar Peter Avery.  When the work was originally published, Heath-Stubbs’ free verse was criticised by some as being uneven and lacking in lyricism .  Simon has now taken the verses and adapted them to a rhymed basis using an ‘abcb’ format.

For those who don’t know it, the Avery/Heath-Stubbs book was first published by Allen Lane in 1979.  The 235 quatrains that they translated and then versified were chosen based on the work of the Persian writer Sadiq Hedayat, supplemented by that of Muhammad Ali Furughi and Qasim Ghani.  These Persian experts had previously selected from the Persian verses attributed to Omar Khayyam those that they deemed most likely to be authentic.  The 1979 book contains an interesting introduction by Peter Avery, discussing the period in which the historical Omar Khayyam lived and aspects of the beliefs and poetry of the time.

Paperback version

Kindle version

Simon Gladdish’s book is entitled The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Simon R Gladdish and John Heath-Stubbs.  It is available on as a paperback at £4.50 and for Kindle at £1.99.  The two versions have different covers – both are shown here.  The paperback has a naked woman and the Kindle a camel.  We are not quite sure of the significance of this difference.  Perhaps Simon can explain?

Beowulf and FitzGerald meet in Woodbridge on 31st March 2019

January 23, 2019

Charles Mugleston has sent us details of a Rubaiyat related event in which he will be participating.  This will be in Woodbridge, Suffolk, on Sunday 31st March 2019.  As well as celebrating Mothering Sunday this year, the event will mark the 210th anniversary of Edward FitzGerald’s birth.

Some details (including about how to obtain tickets) and an explanation of how the event links Beowulf and FitzGerald are given below.  It should be an interesting and enjoyable afternoon.  


A Beowulf Event for Mothering Sunday

– Journey into the Light of Love


This will be an afternoon Tea to celebrate Mothering Sunday and the birth of Edward FitzGerald, Woodbridge’s own poet who was born March 31st 1809 and who became famous by translating The Rubaiyat.  There will be a Persian love cake, a special Tea blend, a rose for every lady and wonderful theatrical readings of The Rubaiyat by our special guest Charles Mugleston .

The origins of this event lie in the Omar Khayyam ( Persian) rose that is in Woodbridge’s own town crest (see right).  This year the Spirit of Beowulf Festival is concentrating on Journeys, and the organisers of the festival are tracing the ‘journey’ this rose took from Persia to Woodbridge.

It is with great pleasure that we invite Charles Mugleston, an expert on the life of Edward FitzGerald and the Rubaiyat to come and speak at this event.  From him we shall hear how the rose came to be in our town crest as well as learning about our famous Woodbridge poet, Edward Fitzgerald.

More information and tickets for the event can be obtained via the following link .

An insightful lecture on Omar Khayyam and his writings

January 20, 2019

David Calderisi, a Rubaiyat colleague from Canada, has drawn our attention to an interesting lecture on Omar Khayyam and his writings, which can be found online.  The lecture, given in 2012 by Professor Mehdi Aminrazavi at the Library of Congress, is entitled “Reading Omar Khayyam’s Ruba’iyyat with Their Historical Context“.  It draws on Professor Aminrazavi’s book on Omar Khayyam and his life, poetry and philosophy, The Wine of Wisdom, which was published by Oneworld Publications in 2005.  This book provides one of the best analyses available of the various theories about who Omar Khayyam was, and what he actually believed and wrote, and the lecture in 2012 is a good introduction to many of these topics.  It can be found on

Fred Adlington – a new Rubaiyat artist discovered by Bob Forrest

January 20, 2019

All of us who have researched the many illustrators who have worked on FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat know that there are unknown artists out there waiting to be identified and others whose work has not yet received serious attention.  Fred Adlington (c1891-1931) is one in the latter group.  As Bob Forrest puts it in his new article about this artist “I checked in Douglas Taylor’s Index of Potter’s Bibliography of 1929. There was no mention of Fred Adlington in there, nor any mention of him in Jos Coumans’ Bibliography of 2010, nor in Bill Martin & Sandra Mason’s Art of Omar Khayyam of 2007. Adlington seemed to have slipped under all our radars.”

Bob’s tell the story of how he came to be aware of Adlington’s work.  “One day, in a second–hand bookshop in South Manchester, when I was looking for something else entirely, I also asked – as I usually do – if the shop had anything interesting in the Rubaiyat line. The man behind the counter disappeared for a few moments, then reappeared with a book which he handed to me, saying, “It’s a fiver, if you want it.” … A glance at the title–page [shown below] revealed that Frank Brangwyn had done the designs for it, but a glance at the plates [one illustrated here] showed that they were by a Fred Adlington, a name I’d never heard of at the time, and whose name was not mentioned on the title page, nor anywhere else in the book for that matter. Needless to say, a fiver was duly handed over.”

The full story of what Bob has found out about Adlington, his work on the Rubaiyat and much more can be found on Bob’s web site on .  It is a tale both of publishers cutting corners and of a neglected artist who was also a talented musician and arranger.  There do not appear to be any musical works by Adlington with a specific Rubaiyat theme, but some have an Oriental flavour.

Altogether Bob has given us an insight into another fascinating and unknown story linked to FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat.  As before, we are grateful to him for sharing his findings with us all.

Auction of Rubaiyat collection 30th January 2019

January 19, 2019

Charles Mugleston has alerted us to the fact that a significant collection of copies of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and related Omariana is being auctioned in the UK on 30th January 2019.  The auction takes place at Dominic Winter Auctions which is located near Cirencester in Gloucestershire.  The items are presented in two lots, nos 550 and 551 of some 240 books each.  On the basis of the images provided, the collection includes a number of early editions of FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat as well as editions by other translators and biographies and collections of letters of Edward FitzGerald.  One of the images is shown below.  The full information given in the auctioneers’ catalogue can be accessed on .

We have asked the auctioneers if they can provide any more information about the contents and source of the collection being offered on sale.  If this is forthcoming, we shall add it to this post.  Meanwhile if any readers have more information themselves, please post a comment below.