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Cole, Rachel Martin

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Rachel Martin Cole.
Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 34 (2008), nr. 2, p. 40-41, 93.

Edward FitzGerald's English translation of The Rubaiyat, a twelfth-century book of Persian poetry, sparked a sensation among nineteenth-century publishers and readers. His work, entitled The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, possesses a dream like quality, rich imagery, and appealing beauty that are attested to by the publication of hundreds of editions between 1859 and the present. From his first translation of the Rubaiyat to his death in 1883, FitzGerald completed five versions of the text. The Persian original comprised a collection of over one thousand quatrains, and FitzGerald felt free to transform the work in his own way, rearranging the verses and taking liberties with language. The result was a product that was less a reflection of its medieval Persian origins than the tastes of its nineteenth-century American audiences.