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Synopsis

Edward FitzGerald gave the title The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam to his translation of poetry attributed to the Persian poet, astronomer and mathematician Omar Khayyam (1048-1123). The word "Rubaiyat" means quatrains - verses of four lines. These works by Fitzgerald are the best known English translations. This edition contains both the first and fifth editions of the Rubaiyat. This influential translation is seen by many as a zenith of English literature in the nineteenth century. Fitzgerald states that his translation "will interest you from its form, and also in many respects in its detail: very unliteral as it is. Many quatrains are mashed together: and something lost, I doubt, of Omar's simplicity, which is so much a virtue in him." And, "I suppose very few People have ever taken such Pains in Translation as I have: though certainly not to be literal. But at all Cost, a Thing must live: with a transfusion of one's own worse Life if one can't retain the Original's better. Better a live Sparrow than a stuffed Eagle."

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