Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam


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Item#: 126934 price:$850.00

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam


FITZGERALD, Edward. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam the Astronomer-Poet of Persia Rendered Into English Verse by Edward Fitzgerald. London: Philip Lee Warner, publisher to the Medici Society, 1913. Slim octavo, contemporary full blue morocco gilt, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and front board, top edge gilt, uncut. $850.

Riccardi Press edition of The Rubaiyat, number 779 of 1012 privately printed copies, beautifully bound by Whitman Bennett with a gilt-stamped vine and grape motif.

Khayyam's "brief verses vary in theme… from sophisticated satires on the unreasonableness of human passion to the passionate lyrics on the joys and sorrows of love and wine and on the wisdom of grasping pleasure while we can" (Hornstein, Percy & Brown 377). Fitzgerald's translations (the first published in 1859, the fourth in 1879) "adapted the quatrains into a connected theme, skeptical of divine providence, mocking the transience of human grandeur, and concentrating on the pleasures of the fleeting moment," producing in the process some of "the most frequently quoted lines in English poetry" (Drabble, 716). The Riccardi Press was founded as the publishing house of the Medici Society in 1909 by Hubert P. Horne, who designed the Riccardi typeface in which all of their books were printed. Issued simultaneously on thick homemade Riccardi paper (1000 copies, as in this copy) and on vellum (12 copies). Bookplate.

Front joint lightly rubbed. Small tear to top of front flyleaf. A near-fine copy, beautifully bound.

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