Home page | About this website | Sitemap
You are here: Home page » Library » Books

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.