The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Index to the Archive

The Galleries of this archive consist not just of the illustrations but also of notes on the illustrations conatained in them, generally giving more information than has been given in the Main Essay or the Verse by Verse Notes. The Gallery Notes, in fact, are mini-essays in themselves, with links to other parts of the Archive. Where a link is given, for example, in the form Gallery 2E (Fig.1), clicking on the Fig.1 will take you direct to the particular illustration, whilst clicking on the Gallery 2E will take you to the Gallery Notes, from where you can either browse the Gallery as a whole or follow the links there to particular illustrations.

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Main essay - Edward FitzGerald and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Main Essay Chapter 1 - Introduction
Main Essay Chapter 2 - Who said What?
Main Essay Chapter 3 - Omar and the 19th Century
Main Essay Chapter 4 - Omar and Controversy
Main Essay Chapter 5 - More Controversy
Main Essay Chapter 6 - The Erotic Rubaiyat?
Main Essay Chapter 7 - More on Religious Doubts
Main Essay Chapter 8 - The Transience of Empires
Main Essay Chapter 9 - Orientalism
Main Essay Chapter 10 - The Rise of Comparative Religion
Main Essay Chapter 11 - The Rubaiyat and the Pre-Raphaelites
Main Essay Chapter 12 - The Appeal of, and Reactions to, The Rubaiyat
Main Essay Chapter 13 - Publication History and Growth in Popularity
Main Essay Chapter 14 - FitzGerald's Homosexuality
Main Essay Chapter 15 - Into the 20th Century

Notes to the main essay
Though these are primarily the footnotes linked to the Main Essay, the following may be useful in their own right as quick reference material:

Note 3 - Omar Khayyam and a) The Calendar; b) the Earth's rotation; c) Heliocentrism; d) Euclid's fifth postulate.
Note 8 - Accounts of the discovery of The Rubaiyat by the Pre-Raphaelites. most notably by Swinburne.
Note 16 - Life after Death and Spiritualism in the 19th century; Swedenborg; D.D. Home.
Note 19 - Life's Echoes by 'Tis True, and other eccentric Omarian material.
Note 25 - a) Astronomy and b) Geology versus Genesis. (See also Note 52 on J.G. Frazer, fossils and the Biblical Flood.)
Note 40 - The New Zealander image.
Note 58 - Religious views etc of a) Swinburne, b) Rossetti, c) Morris, d) Burne-Jones.
Note 64 - De C's Rubaiyat of the Trenches. See also Appendix 18 below.
Note 65 - Parodies of The Rubaiyat. See also Gallery 2H below.


Verse-by-verse notes on the First Edition of 1859: Contains discussion of some of of the imagery and concepts in FitzGerald's classic, with some comments on his translation, and comparison with other translations. FitzGerald's verses are also linked to similar Omarian themes in art and literature, from ancient to modern.


Appendix 1. Edward Byles Cowell: Covers Cowell and a) the line about the Snake; b)Christian beliefs and FitzOmar; c) Botany & Astronomy; d) Cultural borrowing of folk-tales; e) the Jatakas; f) his article on Omar in the Calcutta Review; g) his article on FitzGerald in Chambers Encyclopedia; h) his article on Hafiz & Sadi in Frazer's Magazine.

Appendix 2. Epicureanism and the Problem of Evil: Covers a) Lucretius; b) the Riddle of Epicurus; c) the Problem of Evil in Islam; d) Zoroastrianism; e) Pandora's Box; f) theodicy in Ancient & Near Eastern Texts.

Appendix 3. The Industrial Revolution: From William Blake to Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, Edward Burne-Jones & William Morris.

Appendix 4. 19th Century Religious Eccentricities: a) Gosse's Omphalos; b) Colenso's Pentateuch; c) the End of the World according to Newton, Elliot, Cumming & the Pyramidologists, notably C.P. Smyth; d) the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel according to Sadler, Brothers, Wilson, Fielden, Hine, Glover, Govett; e) Christ in Britain & Joseph of Arimathea in Glastonbury; f) Palmer's Migration from Shinar & Sir William Jones' Origin of Families & Nations; g) Pugin's Contrasts.

Appendix 5. The Kasidah: Sir Richard Burton's ‘rival’ for The Rubaiyat.

Appendix 6. The Christ Myth: Covers the views of Dupuis, Thomas Paine, Godfrey Higgins & Max Müller.

Appendix 7. The Seven Seas and The Rubaiyat: A comparison of the popularity of Kipling and FitzGerald in the 1890s.

Appendix 8. Browning and Rabbi ben Ezra: Browning's Rabbi as a reaction to FitzGerald's Omar.

Appendix 9. Tennyson and In Memoriam: Tennyson's poem as an indicator of Faith and Doubt in Victorian Britain.

Appendix 10. Wilde, The Nightingale and The Rose: Oscar Wilde's short story and the Persian image.

Appendix 11. The Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiastes: Omarian thought addressed in the Bible and the Apocrypha.

Appendix 12. Tracts, Sermons, and Poems: a) Jeremy Taylor, Holy Dying; b) Robert Blair, The Grave; c) Edward Young, Night Thoughts; d) James Hervey, Meditation among the Tombs; e) Fred Emersom Brooks, The Gravedigger; f) Rev. R. Gregg, God is Love; g) Albert J. Edmunds, A Duet with Omar; h) Rev. E.F. Dinsmore, The Moving Finger; i) Rose Roy, Rubaiyat of the Rose; j) G.F.Viett, New Rubaiyat from a Southern Garden; k) Oliver Opp-Dyke, The Omar Sonnets; l) the Pall Mall Magazine; m) W.E. Holloway, Rubaiyat of Today.

Appendix 13. Eliot Possessed ? A discussion of d'Ambrosio's book of that title.

Appendix 14. Omarian Epitaphs and Sundial Mottoes: a) Epitaphs, with notes on the Dance of Death and Memento Mori; b) Sundial Mottoes; c) a note on the Scythe of Time.

Appendix 15. Baron Corvo: Some biographical details, his Rubaiyat, and his paintings.

Appendix 16. Laus Veneris and The Rubaiyat: A discussion of the genesis of Swinburne's poem and in particular its date of composition. Contains a note on the fate of Copsham Cottage.

Appendix 17. Mera K. Sett and Rupert Brooke a) biographical details for Sett; b) the Omarian face of Rupert Brooke; c) Haldane Macfall, The Three Students.

Appendix 18. de Candole, de C, and the Great War: a) de Candole, biography and poems - why he is almost certainly not de C; b) Religion & War; c) Heron-Allen on the Great War.

Appendix 19. Dr Ha’nish and his Rubaiyat: Biographical details of Ha'nish, his Rubaiyat and his Life of Omar.

Appendix 20. Artists’ Biographies: artists covered are a) Anne Harriet Fish; b)Ronald Balfour; c) John Yunge Bateman; d) O'Brien; e) Gordon Ross; f)Akbar & Mohammad Tajvidi.

Appendix 21. Omar in China: Omarian thought in Chinese literature.

Appendix 22. Omar speaks from Beyond the Grave ?: A spiritual interpretation of The Rubaiyat supposedly offered by Omar himself from beyond the grave.

Appendix 23. Omar Khayyam as Humpty Dumpty: The theory of A.H. Millar that though Omar the mathematician and astronomer really existed, Omar the poet is a myth, all of the verses attributed to him being forgeries dating from at least three centuries after his death.

Appendix 24. Gray’s Elegy and FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat: Parallels and differences between the lives and works of the two poets.

Appendix 25. Colonel Robert J. R. Brown and Life’s Echoes by ’Tis True!: An updated, corrected and much extended look at this strange sexual parody of FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat, described briefly in note 19 of the Main Essay.

Appendix 26: The Rubaiyats of John Buckland Wright (1897–1954) and Anthony Reid (1916–2003). A closer look at Buckland Wright’s well–known heterosexually erotic illustrations of The Rubaiyat, and at Reid’s homosexually erotic ‘translation’ of The Rubaiyat. Two very different, but curiously inter–linked, approaches to Omar.


Notes on Gallery 1 - The Erotic Rubaiyat ? a) Eroticism & the Orientalists - Ingres, Delacroix et al; b) Eroticism & pulp fiction, Oriental Stories; c) Eroticism in illustrated Rubaiyats, covering (i) Vedder; (ii) Balfour; (iii) Pogany; (iv) Bateman; (v) Buckland Wright; (vi) O'Brien; (vii) Akbar Tajvidi; (viii) Bharadwaj; (ix) Omar Khayyam Clubs.

Notes on Gallery 2 - Miscellaneous Illustrations of the Rubaiyat: a) Edmund J. Sullivan; b) Gordon Ross; c) Omar's beloved - male or female? d) Oriental Illustrations; e) Mera K. Sett; f) Anne Harriet Fish & Kay Nielsen; g) Mohammad Tajvidi; h) Parodies & Imitations.

Notes on Gallery 3 - The Pre-Raphaelites and Symbolists: a) Burne-Jones; b) Rossetti; c) Millais; d) Walter Crane; e) Waterhouse; f) Evelyn de Morgan; g) G.F. Watts; h) Vedder; i) A note on Lilith; j) A note on the Sphinx.

Notes on Gallery 4 - Faith and Doubt: Includes paintings by John Martin, Francis Danby, J.M.W. Turner, Gustave Doré, Samuel Coleman, Henry Bowler, William Dyce & G.F. Watts.

Notes on Gallery 5 - Ruins: Covers a) Ancient ruins in art, in works by Claude, Panini, Piranesi, Turner, Palmer, Roberts, Lear, Severn, Tichbein, de Loutherbourg; b) Ruins of the future in art, in works by Robert, Gandy, Doré (The New Zealander), Volney & Sullivan; c) The work of Thomas Cole.

Notes on Gallery 6 - The Industrial Revolution: Works by Pugin, de Loutherbourg, A.W. Hunt, Turner, Watts & de Groux.

Notes on Gallery 7 - Miscellaneous: Covers a) the Nightingale & the Rose in (i) Persian art and (ii) Oscar Wilde; b) the Snake (the Temptation of Eve; the Immaculate Conception); c) Sacred Parallels (mother & child images; prayer beads etc); c) Orientalist Fashions in (i) Paintings, (ii) Sculpture, Pottery etc; (iii) Dress; e) Tannhäuser; f) Miscellaneous odds and ends.

Notes on Gallery 8 - Time and Death Covers a) Epitaphs; b) Holbein, the Dance of Death; c) Memento Mori; d) Time and Death, under the headings (i) Kronos & Saturnus; ii) Father Time; (iii) Death as an Archer; (iv) Love & Death; e) Dürer; f) Böcklin; g) Blake; h) Miscellaneous.


Rubaiyat Notes and Queries New material added to the site since it was first set up, with dates of addition.


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