Review: Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyam, trans. Edward Fitzgerald

A deserved classic, Fitzgerald’s translation of the poetry of Omar Kayyam, here presented in his first two editions, is simply transcendent. In fact I compared the two editions and even though they communicated the same pearl their “shells” were completely different. Fitzgerald said he took liberties with the original verse, and if he did I actually applaud him because what’s contained in this volume is nevertheless a living thing in the English language. Rarely have I seen verse this wise, this celebratory, this probing through our materialistic world. If that’s what Omar Kayyam had intended to communicate through his verse then Fitzgerald is actually truer to Kayyam than if he had stuck closely to what was literal and there.

Final Grade: A+

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