“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

 

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.

Recent articles

In this year’s Summer issue of American Art, there are two essays on Elihu Vedder’s Rubáiyát.
Sylvia Yount
shows how the fifty-four drawings that Vedder made for the deluxe edition of Edward FitzGerald’s translation —as well as the related paintings and decorative designs inspired by them—reveal Vedder’s deep engagement with the late nineteenth-century Anglo-American Aesthetic movement as both an artistic and a commercial enterprise, aimed at a wide range of viewers and consumers.

Akela Reason explores Vedder’s preoccupation with the mystery of death, a subject he returned to again and again. Death comes in many forms in Vedder’s art—from “all-devouring” sphinxes presiding over desert wastes to the fratricidal conflict of the Old Testament, and devastating medieval plagues.

Elihu Vedder’s Rubáiyát: Art and Enterprise (pp. 112-118)
Sylvia Yount
http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/683354
Love and Death in Elihu Vedder’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (pp. 119-125)
Akela Reason
American Art, Vol. 29, No. 2, Summer 2015.

 

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.

 

Gilbert James: illustrator of The Rubáiyát

James portraitOne of the early illustrators of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám was Gilbert James (1865-1941).  His work can be found in numerous editions and reprints of The Rubáiyat, and a number of his illustrations have been issued as post cards as well. Although this indicates that his work was rather popular in his days, very little is known about the artist himself.

In a recently published document however, Bob Forrest reports the findings of his research into the artist and his work, particularly his Rubáiyát illustrations. They appeared for the first time in a magazine ‘The Sketch’ (1896) and in book form in 1898, published by Smithers (1898) as Fourteen Drawings illustrating Edward FitzGerald’s Translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

This highly important document is available on Bob Forrest’s website: http://bobforrestweb.co.uk/The_Rubaiyat/N_and_Q/Gilbert_James/Gilbert_James.htm

 

What Every Young Man and Woman Should Know …

PriftiCover2014That Omar Khayyám definitely has gone digital may be a surprise to no one. The digital versions of editions and critial works that are out of copyrights abound since years. More recently we see a steady flow of new rubáiyáts in various formats of ebooks: DjVu, ePub, eReader, iBook, pdf and many others.

A recent example bears the somewhat intruiging title What Every Young Man and Woman Should Know about the Rubaiyat Omar Khayyam and Edward Fitzgerald. The work was edited by Paulin Prifti, published by Paul Smith Publishing London (2014) and issued as a Kindle edition, available from Amazon. There are twelve rather elegant and decent illustrations in colour by Silvia Gallani.

PriftiIllus2014

Now, what does the editor think that young people should know about the rubáiyát? First of all “How the Rubaiyat was found”, secondly “What is the Rubaiyat”, next “Who was Omar Khayyám” and finally “Who was Edward FitzGerald”. These are the titles of four short chapters that provide brief introductions to these themes. In the first part Whitley Stokes’ role is simply left out. Here it was Rossetti who went rummaging through Quaritch’s boxes to find the little pamphlet. The other intros suffice for a curious but uninformed audience, though Khayyám’s authorship, which is a rather essential part of the rubáiyát history, even for the lay, is hardly questioned. In the third chapter we read in the first lines: “Omar Khayyám was born between 1046 and 1048 in Nishapur city…”, and in the last lines it turns out that “Omar Khayyám died in 1213 …”.

The text is from FitzGerald’s first version, however without the introduction and notes, Would that be too much for the younger generations?

ISBN 978-0-9927170-1-8

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.