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Synopsis

The Rubaiyat is a long translated poem by the legendary eleventh-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam. The title of the poem means the quatrains in Arabic and Persian. The exotic nature of the poem along with its beautiful descriptions and spiritual aspirations captivated Victorian readers when it was first published in English and intensified the common fascination with everything oriental. The poem is believed to have had a great influence on British poets such as Thomas Hardy and William Butler Yeats as well as on poets from other Western traditions. Indeed, Western poets of the period were greatly concerned about the excessive growth of industrialization and the spread of materialistic and positivistic thought, particularly with the publication of Charles Darwins theories about evolution, natural selection and the survival of the fittest. The poem, hence, came to revive interest in romanticism and sensuality and mix them with a deep sense of oriental spirituality that could counterbalance the prevailing artificiality.

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