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Kaiserlian, Michelle

Infinite transformation: The modern craze over the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in England and America, c. 1900-1930. Michelle Kaiserlian. Proquest Dissertations and Theses, 2009. Illustrated. 374 p. ISBN: 9781109586534.


“In the first critical study of the Rubáiyát craze as a whole and as a creative and historical phenomenon, I examine visual and literary responses to the poem in the form of illustrations, parodies, advertisements, and religio- philosophical debates to determine the Rubáiyát' s overwhelming and enduring resonance in the culture. I argue that people's engagement with and their myriad responses to the poem performed a kind of cultural work during a period of great social, economic, technological, scientific, and religious upheaval. I demonstrate how the Rubáiyát became a vehicle through which people processed the rapid changes of modern life and how poem and craze alike provided a tool to define and order an increasingly uncertain and fragmented world.“ (From author’s abstract)