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Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám: A Critical Edition (Victorian Literature and Culture Series) Hardcover – January 29, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Victorian Literature and Culture Series
  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press (January 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813916895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813916897
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,395,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Four editions of the Rubáiyát were published during FitzGerald’s lifetime (1809–83). This is the first critical edition to be prepared in accordance with principles of modern textual criticism.... A well-produced book that makes an important contribution.

(Choice)

"A model of contemporary textual scholarship.

(Nineteenth-Century Literature)

"Christopher Decker has come forward with a splendid critical edition of the poem, containing FitzGerald’s introductory essay and notes to each version. It prints all four printed versions along with manuscript variants and, most usefully indeed, appends a comparative version in which each quatrain appears in a column with its variants keyed to their order of placement in the four editions as well as revised copy- and proof-texts for that of 1872.

(John Hollander Yale Review)

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Persian

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Edward FitzGerald's translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is an enormous accomplishment although it is not true to the original Persian (the Avery/Heath-Stubbs version is more faithful). Another important fact to note is that FitzGerald worked on his translation over a period of several decades and eventually published four different editions. Modern editions are often a compilation of bits and pieces from each of FitzGerald's four editions, something that doesn't always make for the smoothest reading. This Critical Edition, edited by Christopher Decker, goes a long way towards overcoming these problems.
In this edition, an introduction written by Decker provides very good and much needed background for Khayyam's work. Most importantly, all four of the author's editions are included in their entirety, first individually and then, in an appendix, by quatrain, so one can compare the texts. A table providing the sequence of the quatrains is also provided, a pronunciation guide and a small glossary. An added bonus, to be found only in this edition, I believe, is the inclusion of FitzGerald's Latin translation of the poems.
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is beautiful and classic poetry encompassing simple quatrains where East seems to meet West in a mingling of Eastern mysticism and Western language and expression of the nineteenth century.
Anyone who is serious about these gorgeous poems will find this text most useful. Although this is not the most visually beautiful of the translations, it is certainly the most comprehensive and the one that will most enhance your knowledge. Definitely worthy of adding to your collection. In fact, a necessity.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "s_d_i" on January 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I want to begin by refuting the criticisms of an earlier review, which claims that this version of FitzGerald's Rubaiyat edited by Christopher Decker is "extremely rude" and "biased" in its view of Islam, and "unprofessional" in terms of editing. These statements are patently false, as anyone who took the time to read the book carefully would know. Of the "enraging opinions" that the reviewer referred to, none were written by Christopher Decker; on the contrary, one came strainght from FitzGerald himself, and was included in the original editions of the Rubaiyat:
Regarding the Muslim calendar, Fitzgerald wrote in an endnote for the forth tetrastich (included in all four original editions): "NEW YEAR--Beginning with the Vernal Equinox, it must be remembered; and (howsoever the old Solar Year is practically superseded by the clumsy Lunar Year that dates from the Mohammedan Hijra) still commemorated by a Festival that is said to have been appointed by the very Jamshyd whom Omar so often talks of, and whose yearly Calendar he helped to rectify." Again, these are FitzGerald's words, NOT Decker's, and we can only be thankful that there is finally a solid, scholastic edition of these works available--one that takes the trouble to include FitzGerald's original notes. In any case, these words are hardly "enraging"--they are about as unprepossessing as could be written by a Victorian pen; and, moreover, it would be well to keep in mind FitzGerald's known preference for "Persian" over "Arabic", for example, in transcription of words into Roman letters--a bias of the poet, not his editor.
Again, the reviewer complained of the reference to Mohammed as a "false prophet".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My father introduced me to the Rubiiyat when I was very young and I have always enjoyed quoting from it because it reflects such a wise philosophy on various aspects of life. My father's favorite (which I did for him in needlepoint) was "Myself when young did eagerly frequent Doctor and Saint and heard great argument about it and about: but evermore came out the same door as in I went." It is a collection that every individual should own.
Cindy Luzon
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 1997
Format: Hardcover
A lot has been shrouded in mystery about the Rubaiyat. The author was an eleventh century philosopher, mathematcian, astronomer, and a poet. The rennessience man!! Some of the rubaiyats , four lined verses, reflect his philoshophic views on life. The majority of the book is about the most profound aspects of life, the deep, palpable sense of passion, or the views of life after death, or the fear of mortal men. I found this book to be an journey through time and the fellings of humanity. A truely good read supplied by a genius of litericy, for all the reasons above.
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