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.

 

A taste for wine

“Dear reader, do you have a taste for wine?
Do you require a specialist’s guideline
To lead you onto esoteric paths
Some exuberant vintner may assign?”

Green Vine Wine Cups 2013Len Green, from Australia, has just issued another book with selections from various translations of Khayyám’s verses, dedicated almost entirely to Omar’s wine quatrains and everything one needs to enjoy a good bottle: the vine, the grape, the juice, the draught, Saki, cup and cupbearers, bowls and bottles, jugs and jars, flasks and flagons, the rose and the tulip and of course your loved one.

 

The book Vine Wine Cups and Taverns – a Taste for Wine was published to raise funds for charity purposes.

It is available post free at a cost of AUD$12 in Australia and AUD$16 worldwide. Payment can be made by cash, cheque or money order payable to L. Green, and sent  C/O Robert Green PO Box 1151 Darlinghurst  NSW  1300  Australia, OR via  PayPal: www.paypal.com.au. Select “pay money”, and insert email address: lbzgreen@iprimus.com.au. Please email Len Green at the same address to advise.

 

The Great Omar Journal

GreatOmarJournalThe Peter Pauper Press, well known for a number of editions of the Rubáiyát, have now issued a so called Great Omar Journal, a notebook providing 192 blank, lightly-lined pages “for personal reflection and creative expression”. The covers are taken from the famous Sangorski & Sutcliffe binding.
A nice Christmas present for your loved ones, or just for fun.

Available from Peter Pauper Press
The price is: $15.99

Rose Bay Rubaiyat

Len Green recently published Rose Bay Rubaiyat, in which he highlights the history and rosebayrubaiyatbackground of Khayyám’s poetry. He also published some paraphrases, written by himself. The book Rose Bay Rubaiyat has been published not for profit, and with appropriate authorization it is currently available for sale in support of Médecins Sans Frontières – Doctors Without Borders.

The price of the book is AUD$22.00, and you can order it:
(a) by cheque or money order payable to: L. Green, C/O Robert Green PO Box 1151 Darlinghurst  NSW  1300 Australia.

(b) or visit: www.paypal.com.au and select “pay money”. Enter Green’s email address: lbzgreen@iprimus.com.au then email him at this address to advise payment. Don’t forget to include a postal destination.

The Great ‘Umar Khayyám

GreatUmarThe book The Great ’Umar Khayyam, which consists of 18 essays about Khayyam’s influence, shows that traces of Khayyam can be found throughout Western literature and culture. Dutch poets such as Leopold and Boutens were inspired by him, for instance, but the quatrains also made their mark in 20th century painting and music.

The volume is the result of a two days conference held in Leiden, July 2009, as part of a number of events that took place to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Edward FitzGerald’s first version of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám and the transaltor’s 200th birthday.

Published in 2012, there is a digital edition available now. Click here.

‘FitzGerald’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám: Popularity and Neglect’

AnthemPressVolumeThis title from Anthem Press, edited by Adrian Poole, Christine van Ruymbeke, William H. Martin and Sandra Mason, was initially published in 2011, but is now available as Ebook.

The volume of essays is based on a conference held in July 2009 at Trinity College, Cambridge to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Edward FitzGerald (1809) and the 150th anniversary of the first publication of his ‘Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859). The ‘Rubáiyát’, loosely based on the verses attributed to the eleventh-century Persian writer, Omar Khayyám, has become one of the most widely known poems in the world, republished virtually every year from 1879 (the year of FitzGerald’s fourth edition) to the present day, and translated into over eighty different languages. And yet, with a few exceptions, it has been systematically ignored or at best patronized by the academic establishment. This volume sets out to explore the reasons for both the popularity and the neglect. Broadly speaking, the essays are divided into two main blocks. The first six chapters focus primarily on the poem’s literary qualities (including consideration of its place in the tradition of verse translation into English, the idea of ‘nothingness’, and ‘syntax and sexuality’), the last five on aspects of its reception (including essays on the late-Victorian Omar Khayyám Club, on American parodies, and on the many illustrated editions). They are linked by three essays that address key ‘facilitators’ in the poem’s transmission (including the significant but neglected issue of cheap reprints).

Click here for more information, and to order the book.