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Drury, Annmarie

The Rubáiyát and its compass. Annmarie Drury.
In: Translation as Transformation in Victorian. Annmarie Drury. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015. pp. 147-191.

Edward FitzGerald described his translation of Omar Khayyám's Rubáiyát, which he produced in four versions ranging from 75 to 101 stanzas, as centered on the theme of carpe diem. In musical terms, the poem might be described as variations on that theme; in visual terms, as a kaleidoscopic exploration of it. Following the lead of Omar Khayyám (1048–1131), a Persian poet and scientist, FitzGerald made his Rubáiyát elaborate a philosophy of “seizing the day”: through lamentation, through the recounting of personal experience, through bald assertions of defiance against conventional piety, through metaphorical representations of a world in which human beings lack meaningful volition, and through vignettes – especially the longest, most fanciful one, in which the poem's speaker overhears a group of pots speculating about their creator.