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The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Paperback - 2022)

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About the Book

Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is the title given by Edward FitzGerald to his translation of a selection of quatrains, originally written in Persian and numbering about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám (1048-1131), a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer.

The nature of a translation of the quatrains depends on what interpretation one gives to Khayyám’s philosophy. There have been different versions of the book according to the selection and arrangement to support one interpretation or the other. Some like Nicolas have viewed Khayyám as a Sufi, while others have seen signs of mysticism, even atheism, or conversely devout and orthodox Islam in him. FitzGerald has given the rubáiyát a distinct fatalistic spin. It is widely claimed that he softened the impact of Khayyám’s nihilism and his preoccupation with the mortality and transience of all things.

The translations by Edward FitzGerald became so popular that five editions came between 1859 and 1889. Of the five editions published, four were published under the authorial control of FitzGerald. The fifth edition, which contained only minor changes from the fourth, was edited after his death on the basis of manuscript revisions FitzGerald had left. As a work of English literature FitzGerald’s version has been greatly influential. The term ‘rubáiyát’ by itself has come to be used to describe the quatrain rhyme scheme that FitzGerald used in his translations, viz. AABA.

It has been stated that FitzGerald made many subtle changes to Khayyám’s quatrains. Many of the verses are paraphrased, and some of them cannot be confidently traced to any one of Khayyám’s quatrains at all. That is why some critics informally refer to the FitzGerald’s English versions as “The Rubáiyát of FitzOmar”, which recognizes the liberties FitzGerald inflicted on his purported source as well as credits FitzGerald for the considerable portion of the ‘translation’ that is deemed his own creation.

The form and content of the quatrains are so alluring that the book is read with great enthusiasm and interest.

About the Author

Omar Khayyám (18 May 1048–4 December 1131), was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and poet. He is also accredited with writing treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, and Islamic theology. Born in Nishapur in North-Eastern Iran, he was moved to Samarkand at a young age, and obtained his education there.

Afterwards, he moved to Bukhara, and established himself as one of the major mathematicians and astronomers of the medieval period. He is the author of one of the most important treatises on algebra written before modern times, Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra (1070). He also contributed to calendar reform. As a philosopher, Khayyám could be understood from two rather distinct sources. One is through his rubáiyát and the other through the evaluations of his works by scholars and philosophers like Abul-Fazl Bayhaqi, Nizami Aruzi, and al-Zamakhshari, who referred to him as “the philosopher of the world”.

There have been widely divergent views on the religious aspect of Khayyám. He is seen both as an agnostic hedonist, and as a mystical Sufi poet influenced by platonic traditions. Some like Christopher Hitchens, identify Khayyám as a skeptic, whose poetry satirized the claims and practices of religion.

Outside Iran and Persian speaking countries, Khayyám has had an impact on literature and societies through the translation of his works and popularization by other scholars. The most influential of all was Edward FitzGerald (1809–83), who made Khayyám the most famous poet of the East in the West through his celebrated translation and adaptations of some of Khayyám’s quatrains in the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. These are poetic, rather than literal translations and have fascinated the readers in all parts of the world for nearly two centuries. Other English translations of parts of the rubáiyát exist, but those by FitzGerald are the most well known.

More Information
Product NameThe Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Paperback - 2022)
Original PriceINR 125.00
AuthorOmar Khayyam
PublisherPeacock Books
Publication Year2022
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