Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Paperback – Mar 6 1984
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'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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Publisher
An illustrated gift edition of the quatrains of Omar the tentmaker, which have more admirers today than ever before. Edward Fitzgerald's rendition stands as a monument to the translator's art.
Full-color photographs throughout. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
However, if it is not translated in verse, then it is no longer has the quality of the original poetry. So what shall we do here?
I think that Fitzgerald has done an excellent job in translating Khayyum. It is said that good poetry has a balance of two things - beautiful language and meaning. Ftizgerald has achieved this.
If you are looking for a more "literal" translation, to get exactly what Khayyum said and thought, then you are better to look to a word for word, unrhyming translation, that has taken care to keep the authentic quatrains only - not all the ones ascribed to him. The "Persian Heritage Series" has produced a good translation like this.
Also beware of "commentaries" telling you that Omar Khayyum was a sufi, mystic, or whatever... and that his verses have special meanings outside of the literal interpretation. It is true that poets in Persia used such imagery as "may" (wine), "maykhana" (tavern), "saqi" (cup-bearer), "yar-e nazanin" (lovely maiden) etc. etc. to bring across meanings of God, and heaven, though this doesn't mean that these things are always implied.
One of the qualities of poetry is that it is ambiguous. It must be recognised that people like Omar Khayyum and Hafez were living in times of religious persecution. If you said something against the established sect, then you could be accused of "kufr" (blasphemy) and punished accordingly.Read more ›
Omar Khayyam writes about the fragility and transience of life,
Oh threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain - this Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies. (#63)
and about the inspiration to be found in wine and friendship:
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! (#12)
In his best moments he rises above what some critics saw as cynical lament and reaches an appealing state of amused resignation:
Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same Door where in I went. (#27)
The world of Omar Khayyam - Islamic Persia in the eleventh century - demands some explanation to fully appreciate the poetry. Unfortunately, my edition (Peter Pauper Press, White Plains, NY, 1991) did not contain footnotes to the quatrains and only the shortest of introductions. Scholarly comment is often indicated for key words in poetry. Take the word "wine", for example. It is interesting to be reminded that the subject of wine was inflammable because wine and drunkenness were prohibited by the principles of Islamic law.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
It is a timeless book. Profound in many ways. Although, when I first read it, I thought there was too much about imbibing wine but upon reading it again, there are hidden messages... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Bea Purkis
These reflective,honest and wholly recitable poems are an endless delight.Who can argue with their truths?Maybe the brothersjuddot. Read morePublished on Dec 6 2001
These reflective,honest and wholly recitable poems are an endless delight.Who can argue with their truths? (... Read morePublished on Dec 5 2001
These reflective,honest and wholly recitable poems are an endless delight.Who can argue with their truths?Maybe the (... Read morePublished on Dec 5 2001
Khayyam's poetry is a beacon of honesty and courage in a writing form rife with the romantic,silly and childish. Read morePublished on Dec 5 2001
If anyone who can so clearly pose the question of mortality and temporality of our existence it is Omar Khayyam. Read morePublished on July 24 2001 by M. A. ZAIDI
(This review refers to ISBN 0140059547, the translation by Avery and Heath-Stubbs of the Ruba'iyat.)
Fans of Khayyam will undoubtedly want the Fitzgerald translation of the... Read more
Published in 1859, the same year as Darwin's Origin of Species, the Rubaiyat, in addition to being great poetry, is a key signpost on the road to the abandonment of God by Western... Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2000 by Orrin C. Judd
One should be wary when purchasing or reading a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The various translations are VERY different. Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2000