Edward Fitzgerald

Easton Press Edward Fitzgerald books

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám - 100 Greatest Books Ever Written - 1976

Franklin Library Edward Fitzgerald books

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám - World's Best Loved Books - 1979


Edward Fitzgerald biography

Edward FitzGerald, born on March 31, 1809, was an English poet and writer best known for his acclaimed translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. FitzGerald was born in Bredfield, Suffolk, England, into a family of means. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he developed a deep appreciation for literature and the arts. FitzGerald's literary pursuits were diverse, ranging from his early poetic works to translations and adaptations of various texts. His most enduring and celebrated work, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, was first published anonymously in 1859. This collection of quatrains, originally composed by the Persian poet Omar Khayyam, captivated readers with its philosophical reflections on life, love, and the human experience.

FitzGerald's translation of The Rubaiyat was distinctive for its poetic interpretation rather than a strict adherence to the original Persian verses. Despite the liberties he took with the source material, his work garnered widespread acclaim for its beauty and lyrical quality. FitzGerald went on to produce four editions of The Rubaiyat, each featuring revisions and refinements. Apart from his translation endeavors, FitzGerald wrote original poetry and engaged in correspondence with prominent literary figures of his time, such as Alfred Lord Tennyson and William Makepeace Thackeray. His poetry, including collections like Euphranor (1851) and Polonius: A Collection of Wise Saws and Modern Instances (1889), reflected his intellectual curiosity and wit.

Edward FitzGerald led a private and somewhat reclusive life. He had a deep appreciation for nature and spent considerable time in the countryside, finding solace in the beauty of the English landscape. Despite his literary achievements, FitzGerald did not seek the limelight and was content with a modest existence. Edward FitzGerald passed away on June 14, 1883, at the age of 74. Although his poetry and other writings gained recognition during his lifetime, it was his translation of The Rubaiyat that secured his lasting legacy. FitzGerald's work continues to be celebrated for its poetic brilliance and its contribution to the broader literary landscape.


Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám is a timeless poetic masterpiece by the renowned Persian poet, Omar Khayyam, beautifully rendered into English verse by the talented Edward Fitzgerald. This enchanting collection of quatrains, known as rubaiyat, captures the essence of life, love, mortality, and the human experience, weaving together profound philosophical reflections with the sensuous beauty of nature. Through Edward Fitzgerald's poetic craftsmanship, the verses of Omar Khayyam transcend cultural and linguistic boundaries, resonating with readers across generations, inviting them to ponder the mysteries of existence and find solace in the fleeting moments of life.

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám attained fame when it was translated and introduced to a Western audience by the author and poet Edward Fitzgerald. Selected for their lyrical beauty, the poems within the Rubáiyát are attributed to the Persian mathematician and astronomer Omar Khayyám. Writing in the eleventh century, Khayyám was revered as a master of the poetic form, and his works have since been much-quoted by artists and admirers.

Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his 1859 translation from Persian to English of a selection of quatrains (rubāiyāt) attributed to Omar Khayyam (1048–1131), dubbed “the Astronomer-Poet of Persia”. Although commercially unsuccessful at first, FitzGerald’s work was popularised from 1861 onward by Whitley Stokes, and the work came to be greatly admired by the Pre-Raphaelites in England. FitzGerald had a third edition printed in 1872, which increased interest in the work in the United States. By the 1880s, the book was extremely popular throughout the English- speaking world, to the extent that numerous “Omar Khayyam clubs” were formed and there was a “fin de siècle cult of the Rubaiyat”. The extreme popularity of FitzGerald’s work led to a prolonged debate on the correct interpretation of the philosophy behind the poems. FitzGerald emphasized the religious skepticism he found in Omar Khayyam. In his preface to the Rubáiyát, he describes Omar’s philosophy as Epicurean and claims that Omar was “hated and dreaded by the Sufis, whose practice he ridiculed and whose faith amounts to little more than his own when stripped of the Mysticism and formal recognition of Islamism under which Omar would not hide”.

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