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Zare-Behtash, Esmail

FitzGerald's Rubáiyát: A Victorian Invention. Esmail Zare-Behtash. The Australian National University, 1997.

This study was written in the belief that FitzGerald did not so much translate a poem as invent a persona based on the Persian astronomer and mathematician (but not poet) Omar Khayyám. This 'invention' opened two different lines of interpretation and scholarship, each forming its own idea of a 'real' Omar based on FitzGerald's invention. One line sees Omar as a hedonist and nihilist; the other as a mystic or Sufi. My argument first is that the historical Omar was neither the former nor the latter; second, FitzGerald's Rubáiyát is a 'Victorian' product even if the raw material of the poem belongs to the eleventh-century Persia. The Introduction tries to find a place for the Rubáiyát in the English nineteenth-century era.