Unravel the Khayyam vs Fitzgerald Tangle

Unravel the Khayyam vs Fitzgerald tangle with Benny’s Introductory essay-Rubaiyat

The Rubaiyat - Benny Thomas


For those who have come to accept Omar Khayyam’s the Rubáiyát from the translation of Edward Fitzgerald my quatrains may come as a disappointment. The reclusive Victorian poet- scholar took great liberties with the original and yet created a standard by which the work of Omar Khayyam has ever since come to be compared. It is an irony. It so happens that according to the adage ‘finders keepers, and losers weepers’ Omar Khayyam long neglected in his own country and treated with scorn, reason for which one may guess, required help from unexpected quarters to reinstate his reputation for posterity. Edward Fitzgerald’s service to the memory of the glorious Astronomer-Poet is akin to Howard Carter’s part in bringing the glories of King Tutankhamen’s tomb to the attention of the world. In the many versions of Fitzgerald, Omar Khayyam has come into his own.

Be that as it may Fitzgerald’s work…

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