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Ferrier, R.W.

Edward FitzGerald, a reader "Of Taste", and 'Umar Khayyám, 1809-1883. R.W. Ferrier.
Iran 24 (1986), pp. 161-187.

Edward Fitzgerald, writing to his friend, E. B. Cowell, in March 1867 on the fickleness of posthumous reputation, remarked that a hundred years ought to elapse before memorials should be made. The centenary of his death passed on June 14th 1983 and it seems appropriate to commemorate his memory, recall his humanity and reflect on his contribution to literature. He had two principal passions in life, reading and friendship. He described himself to Frederick Tennyson in 1850 as one who pretends "to no Genius, but to Taste" and disclaimed any pretensions to be a poet, for "I cannot write poems". As for his friends, their presence glows from his letters. These two influences, imperceptibly interweaving themselves into the fabric of his personality, were responsible for that bright short decade in the middle of his life, when his "languid energies"' were galvanised into literary activity of which his poetic "version" of the Rubd'ayyato f cUmar Khayyaim was the fascinating and controversial climax.