The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

22 May, 2014 890 Other literatures

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. In 1859 the poet Edward FitzGerald published a long poem based on the verses of the 11th-century Persian scholar Omar Khayyam. Not a single copy was sold in the first few months after the work’s publication, but after it came to the notice of members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood it became enormously influential. Although only loosely based on the original, the Rubaiyat made Khayyam the best-known Eastern poet in the English-speaking world. FitzGerald’s version is itself one of the most admired works of Victorian literature, praised and imitated by many later writers.

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  • Charles Melville 2 episodes
    Professor of Persian History at the University of Cambridge
  • Daniel Karlin 3 episodes
    Winterstoke Professor of English Literature at the University of Bristol
  • Kirstie Blair No other episodes
    Professor of English Studies at the University of Stirling

Reading list

  • Victorian Afterlives: The Shaping of Influence in Nineteenth-Century Literature
    Robert Douglas-Fairhurst (Oxford University Press, 2002) Google Books →
  • Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
    Edward FitzGerald (Daniel Karlin ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
    Edward FitzGerald (Dick Davis ed.) (Penguin Classics, 1989) Google Books →
  • Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Critical Edition
    Edward FitzGerald (Christopher Decker ed.) ( 1997) Google Books →
  • Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
    Edward FitzGerald (Tony Briggs ed.) (Phoenix, 2009) Google Books →
  • A Book of Verse: The Biography of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
    Garry Garrard (History Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • The Poetry of Indifference: From the Romantics to the Rubaiyat
    Erik Gray (University of Massachusetts Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • With Friends Possessed: A Life of Edward FitzGerald
    Robert Bernard Martin (Faber & Faber, 1985) Google Books →
  • Edward Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Famous Poem and its Influence
    William H. Martin and Sandra Mason (Anthem, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Art of Omar Khayyam: Illustrating FitzGerald's Rubaiyat
    William H. Martin and Sandra Mason (I.B. Tauris, 2007) Google Books →
  • Allegories of One's Own Mind: Melancholy in Victorian Poetry
    David G. Riede (Ohio State University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • The Great 'Umar Khayyam: A Global Reception of the Rubaiyat
    A. A. Seyed-Gohrab (ed.) (Leiden University Press, 2012)
  • The Life of Edward FitzGerald: Translator of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
    Alfred McKinley Terhune (Greenwood-Heinemann Publishing, 1980) Google Books →
  • The Letters of Edward FitzGerald
    Alfred McKinley Terhune and Annabelle Burdick Terhune (eds.) (Princeton University Press, 1980)

Related episodes

Programme ID: b043xpkd

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Auto-category: 891.5511 (Persian poetry)