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The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam [Kindle Edition]

Omar Khayyám , Edward FitzGerald
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

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Editorial Reviews


'I found Robert Wilson's 'Omar Khayyam' very readable. It will stand well in print in Scotland' EDWIN MORGAN The Rubaiyat of Omar... takes on a contemporary gloss in a rumbustious reworking in Scots of the literal text of the Persian poet. THE HERALD

Language Notes

Text: English, Persian (translation)

Product Details

  • File Size: 124 KB
  • Print Length: 132 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140443843
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004UJJEX6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,267 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
119 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Omar and the Spice Girls January 27, 2004
"The Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam" translated by Peter Avery and John Heath-Stubbs is available in two Penguin editions. This edition (ISBN 01400595447) comes in a larger format with 32 beautiful colored illustrations of Persian miniature paintings from the 16th and 17th century, and an essay on the history of the miniatures that points out the influence of Chinese painting on Persian graphic arts (an interesting subject in itself). The other edition is the Penguin Classics edition (ISBN 0140443843), which is identical to this edition but lacks the illustrations and the essay on Persian graphic arts. The illustrated, larger sized edition is definitely worth the slightly higher price, in my opinion.
A reader who is familiar with FitzGerald's classic "re-creation" - "translation" is a term that is too weak in this context - will be surprised at the defiant materialism of Omar Khayyam's quatrains in Avery's literal translation stripped of the poetic spark of FitzGerald's work.
For example, while the Victorian gentleman Edward FitzGerald chose to translate Omar Khayyam's praise of simple joys and poetry in his famous "A Book of Verses underneath the Bough, / A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread - and Thou / Beside me singing in the Wilderness - / Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!", Peter Avery gives us not only a more literal translation (#98) but also a much more worldly (and spicy) version of the same theme:
If chance supplied a loaf of white bread,
Two casks of wine and a leg of mutton,
In the corner of a garden with a tulip-cheeked girl
There'd be enjoyment no Sultan could outdo.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, I would recommend it to anyone! September 3, 1999
By A Customer
I first read this work of art a month ago, and many times after that. My parents were surprised that I, being 14 years of age, liked it, although I think anyone with a bit of an understanding towards life would enjoy it. Being Persian myslef, and knowledgable towards the history of Omar Khayyam and his time,I read this book in Persian, English and French. Although I think that without doubt anyone who is able to should read the Persian edition, the English translation did not lose the touch and certain charm of the works. Don't underestimate your children either. I mean hey, give it a shot, they might like it!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better a live sparrow than a stuffed eagle June 6, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is somewhat ironic (one might say "tragic") that Amazon chooses to lump reviews of multiple translations into each version of a book; in the case of the Rubaiyat, the two prevailing translations--FitzGerald's, and Avery and Heath-Stubbs'--could not be more different. As a general reader not terribly knowledgeable about Persian literature, I struggled before deciding on which version to read; influenced by the leading reviewer on this page, I read the FitzGerald version with illustrations by Dulac and the introduction by Byatt.

As a reader and occasional translator of a foreign language myself (although Japanese, not Persian) I was hesitant to read a version (one hesitates to call it a "translation") this old and this famously derided for its looseness with the original work by Omar Khayyam. And yet after comparing the two translations, I am glad that I read FitzGerald, for two main reasons.

First, true to his intention, FitzGerald accentuated the spirit of the original over the literal translation/transliteration of the original. The delightful impishness of Khayyam and the melancholy ephemerality of his Rubaiyat is wonderfully captured. FitzGerald made this artistic choice consciously, stating that "better a live sparrow than a stuffed eagle" ... although this modesty downplays the beautiful lyricism and Victorian elegance of his version.

Second, for better or for worse, this is the version that most captivated--and influenced--the world outside of Persia, including writers from Browning and Tennyson to O. Henry and Borges to Agatha Christie and Stephen King.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the various translations are very different November 16, 2000
By A Customer
One should be wary when purchasing or reading a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The various translations are VERY different. They are based on different original manuscripts, which do not contain exactly the same material. The FitzGerald translation is much more of an interpretation of Khayyam than a translation, although it is a wonderful piece of work in and of itself, it is victorian baroque romanticism not Sufism. From my own personal experience (I've read much of three of the translations, the ones by FitzGerald in the 1850s, by a professor from Cambridge made in the mid 1900s, and by Robert Graves in the 1960s) I would suggest that you go with the most modern translation (which is no longer the translation by Graves). The Graves translation definately is a work of both deep philosophical ideas and of beautiful poetry.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thou beside me in the wilderness October 22, 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Checking out of a supermarket recently with only a newspaper, a bottle of wine, and a long loaf of French bread, I remarked to the clerk, "All we need is thou sitting beside me in the wilderness." She looked at me as if I had either lost my mind or was suggesting an indecent proposal. Can our education have slipped so far that high schoolers no longer sigh over this marvelous book? These four line verses contain a wealth of thoughts and revealations which can be found no where else in literature. No home should be with out Omar the Tentmaker, who has, after all, been advising us since 1151 and still beats the sindicated columnists.
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