“The Golden Age of Rubáiyát Art”

A three volume catalog of the first artists of FitzGerald’s Rubáiyát, “The Golden Age of Rubáiyát Art, 1884-1913” is now available. The volumes are compiled  by Danton H. O’Day, “to stimulate new interest in detailing the complete artistic history of the amazing collection of Fitz’s and Omar’s four-line verses. Another was to provide in one place detailed examples of each of the artists who contributed to The Golden Age of Rubáiyát Art.”

The 8 x 10” hard-cover books are printed on photo-quality paper with a full colour printed cover.
The lavishly illustrated books contain photos not available since their first publication, two new artists, charts and tables, and more.

The books are available from Blurb Bookstore.

Volume ISBN # Pages Hardcover
I. The Illustrators 9781366232786 168 US$ 84.99
II. Popular Themes 9781366232717 68 US$ 59.99
III. The Decorators 9781366232656 90 US$ 64.99

 Please contact: Danton H. O’Day for more information (danton.oday@utoronto.ca)

New editions

Edward Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Introduction and notes by Robert D. Richardson; original art by Lincoln Perry. New York, Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781620406564
The mystic Rubáiyát. [Illustrated by Penelope Cline]. Fig Tree Press, 2016.
75 tarot cards.
The quatrains of Omar Khayyam. Translated from the Persian by Joobin Bekhrad. Bloomington, Balboa Press, 2016. ISBN 9781504362542
The Rubáiyát. Along the Red Book Road.Quatrains of Omar Khayyám rendered into English verse by Edward FitzGerald. Introduction by Louis Untermeyer. Paintings by Linda Carter Holman. Oregon House, Red Shoe Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9780976973225.
John Morris-Jones: Penillion Omar Khayyâm. Golygwyd Dafydd Glyn Jones. Bangor, Dalen Newydd, 2015. ISBN 9780993251016

 

The Cinderella of the Arts

Shepherds bookbinders, in co-operation with Oak Knoll Press, recently published The Cinderella of the Arts. A short history of Sangorski & Sutcliff, a London bookbinding firm established in 1901.

It is a successor to Bob Shepherds book Lost on the Titanic (2001), and this new edition draws a wider perspective of the firm’s history, including the dramatic story of the second ‘Great Omar’. The history also highlights the Sutcliffe years and the years that Stanley Bray was in command. It is illustrated with colourfull images of some of the finest bindings, and with photographs of the people of the firm.

London and New Castle, DE: Shepherds and Oak Knoll Press, 2015. 200 pp.
ISBN: 9781584563402.

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Holyoak’s “Rubáiyát”

Potter139-1One of the more intriguing entries in Potter’s Bibliography of the rubáiyát is number 139, the ‘Cyclostyle Edition’. There are several aspects that draw attention to this edition.

First there is the title ‘Cyclostyle edition’, suggesting an early adaptation of advanced office technology: cyclostyles were only invented in the early 1880’s. Second there appears to exist a number of versions of this edition, published from 1885 unto 1899 in various forms and formats, under varying titles and printed in varying numbers of copies.

A more fascinating aspect however is the interference with Holyoak’s work by Macmillan, the London publisher who had acquired the copyrights of FitzGerald’s work. They regarded Holyoak’s printings as a serious threat to their business and threatened him with a court action. The affair drew the attention of G.J. Holyoake who came to his namesake’s defence.

Finally there is the nature of Holyoak’s editions, which are issued in a limited number of copies, and being handwritten and printed with the cyclostyle, they were probably regarded as somewhat ephemeral printings. The various editions differ in a number of details such as misspellings or choice of paper. If copies have survived outside libraries, they are probably very rare.

The cyclostyle editions of the rubáiyát have never drawn too much attention, and until recently hardly anything was known about them. Only when a proof print copy was offered for sale a few years ago, which was purchased by a private collector, a search was initiated by John Drew and myself to find out more about the editions and the actors involved. These efforts resulted eventually in the discovery in the USA of a copy of the original “Book Store Monthly” edition of April 1885.

BSM Cover adjusted

Book Store Monthly, April 1885

An extra feature to the story was to find out how Holyoak’s selection had its roots in an earlier pirate Rubáiyát: the so called Madras edition of 1862. John Drew has published about this before.

The story of this highly interesting piece of rubáiyát history is now recorded, together with documents and publications, in a pamphlet called The erring finger writes. The Leicester pirate cyclostyles of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, by Jos Coumans and John Drew (Cambridge Poetry Workshop, 2015). ISBN 978-1-871214-26-0.
A copy can be ordered at £ 6,00 from cambridgepoetry@hotmail.com or € 7,50 from info@omariana.nl.

A ‘Rubáiyát’ with Steve McCurry

WomanInNiqab

Image by Steve McCurry

21st Editions, considered the purveyors of some of the finest books in the world, recently announced a new Deluxe title combining Edward Fitzgerald’s first edition (1859) of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” with photographs by Steve McCurry in platinum.

It is a limited edition of fifty copies, with an introduction by John Stauffer, containing 9 bound and 3 free-standing platinum prints, each signed.

Steve McCurry is an American editorial photographer best known for his 1984 photograph “Afghan Girl” which originally appeared in National Geographic.

For more details see 21st Editions.

René Bull

Bull 2014 CoverBodleian Library issued a reprint of the edition of the Rubáiyát that was illustrated by René Bull (1872-1942). Bull started his career studying engineering in Paris where he soon switched to the art of illustrating. When he settled in London in 1892 he started to draw for newspapers and magazines, and from 1898 till 1900 he worked as a photographer in India, Sudan and South Africa, where he covered several campains. Bull also illustrated “The Arabian Nights”, “The Russian Ballet” and “Andersen’s Fairy Tales”.

There is an introduction by Susan Scollay. The original twenty-nine coloured illustrations are reproduced, though in another sequence, as well as the drawings and decorations, here printed in brown colours. The text is printed with varying decorative borders above and below.

Though this new edition is less exuberant than the original by Hodder & Stoughton, 1913, it has a certain air of luxury because of the dark blue cloth binding with an imprint in gold, and the heavy 135 gsm Tatami Ivory that it is printed on.

Earlier issues of Bull’s edition were done by the Golden Medal Library (London, New York, 1927), Grammercy Books (New York, 1992) and Smithmark Publishers (New York, 1995).

“The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. With illustrations by René Bull.” Oxford, Bodleian Library, 2014. ISBN 9781851244171. Available from the Bodleian Library Bookshop, at £ 30.00.

 

The Essential Edward FitzGerald

This is a newly published e-book with the main versions of FitzGerald’s translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, (the first, second and fifth), and his translation of Jámí’s Salámán and Absál. The work includes all the original notes and prefaces, together with an Appendix, Glossary and Endnotes.

This e-book, available in ePub-format, is published in the Carrigboy Classics Series, and was edited by Simon Prichard.  Carrigboy Cassics are a specially chosen series drawn from the very best of the World’s classical literature.

The Essential Edward FitzGerald. Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Salámán and Absál.   Translated by Edward FitzGerald. Compiled and Edited by Simon Prichard. Carrigboy Classics, 2014. ISBN 978-1-910388-00-6.
Available at CreateSpace, $12,67.

The illustrated Omar Khayyam

A new version of Khayyám’s quatrains was recently published by Benny Thomas, architect by profession and poet by temperament, in his own words. The work comprises 255 verses, some in rhymes, others only partially rhyming while the rest are blank verses.

Thomas’ argument for yet another version or interpretation is that the voice of Omar Khayyam still speaks to us, “because we see in the quatrains our own unexpressed thoughts elegantly phrased”. In his foreword, Aminrazavi describes the quatrains by Benny Thomas as the “silence that makes music of the soul coherent to each”.

Khayyám’s quatrains must not be viewed “as a case for his adherence to Sufi tradition”, nor does the translator’s (that is FitzGerald), skepticism in the quatrains follow from not being true to the original, as Thomas explains. As a mystic he reads something else in them, or to paraphrase his own words: both Khayyám and FitzGerald are representative geniuses of our cultural heritage, who gave expression to the voice of their souls, the voice of their Inner Worlds.

The book was issued (as prints on demand) in three states: an illustrated paperback edition, a cheaper version without illustrations and an illustrated e-book. The illustrations were done by the translator. Available at Lulu.com.

Unfortunately, the work is not without errors. In the foreword (p. 7/9) we read: “Eight-hundred years after his death, the spirit and message of Omar Khayyám has once again celebrated in the exquisite quatrains …”. Many sentences are incomplete and for me, not being a mystic, some of the verses are almost impenetrable, for instance quatrain #158:

 The color that we swore upon with life
Is false hue drawn from lie engenders strife:
In death and all enfolding gloom our souls
Must reorient with what is true or life.

More about Benny Tomas’ translation can be found on his weblog: “The Rubaiyat“, which also shows a number of the artist’s illustrations.

 

 

 

The Rubáiyát for students of Persian literature

AmouzgarCoverKuros Amouzgar, educated as an engineer and living in the USA, translated the Persian text of Furughi and Ghani’s edition of the Rubáiyát, to help his children’s generation enjoy their Persian literary heritage. These children of Iranians living outside their homeland, often lack knowledge and understanding of the Persian language and literature. Khayyám is one of the most famous and well known Persian poets and his verses are easier to comprehend and to translate than other Persian poets.
This edition has the Persian text as well as a transliteration into Latin, a literal translation and a selection of 39 quatrains from FitzGerald’s version. Also included are notes on the verses and a glossary of Persian words in the text.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam for students of Persian literature. 178 quatrains rendered phonetically in the original Persian and a literal English translation by Kuros Amouzgar. Bethesda, Ibex Publishers, 2012. 233 p. ISBN 978-1-58814-083-8.

The Rubáiyát in audio

Nowadays a lot of audio versions of the Rubáiyát are available. Early recordings were done on lp in 1955 by Jim Ameche, Ralph Bellamy and Raymond Massey. These are usually FitzGerald’s versions, and some are with background music.

Recent recordings (a first selection, more will follow):

WisdomCoverThe Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. By E.F. Thompson. Narrated by Mark Turetsky.
Audible Inc., 2013.
Time: 2 hours, 3 minutes.
From Audible, an Amazon company.

 

CalderisicoverThe Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Translated by Edward FitzGerald. Narrated by David Calderisi.
Published by David Calderisi, 2012.
Time: about 60 minutes.

 

GreenhalghCoverThe Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Translated by Edward FitzGerald. Introduced and read by Peter Greenhalgh.
English Speech and Pronunciation, 2012.
Time: 30 minutes.
From: AudioAndBooks.com.

 

BethuneCoverRubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. By Edward FitzGerald. Narrated by Robert Bethune.
Freshwater Seas, 2010.
Time: 34 minutes.
From Audible, an Amazon company.

 

DrakeCoverAlfred Drake reads The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. By Edward FitzGerald.
Saland Publishing, 2009.
Time: 22 minutes.
From Audible, an Amazon company.

 

YoganandaCoverThe Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam explained. By Paramhansa Yogananda. Narrated by Donald J. Waters.
Cristal Clarity Publishers, 2006.
Time: 6 hours, 27 minutes.
From Audible, an Amazon company.

 

BirdofTimeCoverThe Bird of Time. Selections from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam explained. Voice and instrumentation by Swami Kriyannda.
Cristal Clarity Publishers, 2006.
Time: 1 hour, 1 minute.
From Audible, an Amazon company.

Another important resource is Internet Archive, which has a collection of recordings by LibriVox, read by volunteers. Here you will also find other translations than those by FitzGerald. And of course there is YouTube with lots of footage and recordings. A selection will follow soon.