Hazhir Teimourian

Khayyamania

A Book of Verse: The Biography of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

By

Sutton Publishing 270pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Art of Omar Khayyam: Illustrating FitzGerald’s Rubaiayat

By

I B Tauris 184pp £40 order from our bookshop

Nothing lasts for ever, except our saying so: ‘Out, out, brief candle!’ Judging by the remains of flowers in their graves, even Neanderthal men cried over their short ‘hour upon the stage’, and this has to explain why the combination of an eleventh-century Persian jotter of secret verse that refuted the certainties of Islam and a nineteenth-century English gentleman who rejected the conformities demanded by Victorian society has proved the most successful literary pairing in history. Weight by weight, apparently, Edward FitzGerald’s ‘rendering’ – as he put it – of the quatrains of Omar Khayyam into English has spawned more phrases in the language than the Bible and Shakespeare together.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'It is one of those nice linguistic ironies that English should have attempted to make sex respectable by clothing… ,
    • 'He was to my mind the father of the idea that journalism – yes, even journalism – can have a moral dimension to it… ,
    • RT : Feeling old, as exhumes a piece I wrote 37 years ago. But a joy to see Kathy O’S there too. Here’s why:… ,
    • 'Enough of his character remains just out of reach for Barnes to relish the challenge of imagining him.' Patrick M… ,
    • RT : I did a thing about the new Penguin Book Of Oulipo for this month’s Literary Review: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Moore’s work has been so influential that the former ministers who provided him with much of his information now r… ,
    • 'Although he travels through time and space to find the best produce, his choices, delightfully, are not obvious.'… ,