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Komiya, Ayaka

Gissing the 'Omarian' : Fin de siècle cult of Omar Khayyám and Gissing's Born in Exile (1892). Ayaka Komiya.
Hiyoshi Bulletin 41 (2002) p. 102-121.

The year 1859 was made memorable in English literary history by the publication of three books—Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, Samuel Smile's Self-Help, and Edward FitzGerald's The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám. Although each of these three books is important in its own way, it is FitzGerald's Omar Khayyám that bears the most importance to a study of George Gissing (1857-1903). Probably due to its extraordinaiy popularity, something that continues to this day, Omar Khayyám appears to have failed to attract attention as a serious work of art. However, its effect on contemporary literature was immense—so much so that its neglect is quite unwarranted. It is my aim here to remedy the present situation, at least in part, and to shed a new light on Gissing study by looking at the influence of Omar Khayyám on his works.