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Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam [Hardcover]

Edward Fitzgerald , Omar , Christopher Decker
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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By "s_d_i"
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"NEW YEAR--Beginning with the Vernal Equinox, it must be remembered; and (howsoever the old Solar Year is practically superseded by the clumsy Lunar Year that dates from the Mohammedan Hijra) still commemorated by a Festival that is said to have been appointed by the very Jamshyd whom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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5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Passionate Persian Tale! July 30 2002
I wish I could have met him! I feel sure that the translation as good as it is does not capture his wisdom and brilliant verse.
"Omar" still sends a message of love that transcends to all people.
My favorite is:
"Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask if Wine, a Book of verse--and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
And Wilderness is Paradise enow"
That is a pot of gold! Cherish it if you can?
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5.0 out of 5 stars a perennial classic! March 25 2002
omar khayyam is a much romanticized poet; his work is essential to any collection of books. fitzgerald's translations bear as much relevance to the victorian era as much as khayyam's work bears as both a Muslim poet and a timeless wordcrafter for the ages to admire and appreciate.
this edition is extremely useful, with christopher decker's insightful notes always a helpful guide to the multiple editions of the poetry and an excellent source of knowledge on khayyam's work as well as the victorian age.
i would recommend this book to all readers, since it's the essential translation of the rubaiyat. christopher decker is to be highly commended for his excellent work.
to quote keats on another translation-
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific--and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise--
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
...BR>buy this book and enjoy it-- it's a good friend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Nov. 3 2000
By A Customer
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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