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The Persian Sensation: The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám in the West

February 3, 2009 - August 2, 2009

Press Release : "The Persian Sensation: 'The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam' in the West" Explores Popularity of Poem's Translation

Exhibition Labels (PDF)

Omar Khayyam Club menus

The Harry Ransom Center's Office of Public Affairs is the official contact for the news media. With this press room, we seek to provide media a news and image clearinghouse.

Due to copyright issues, use of these images is restricted to media coverage of the Harry Ransom Center. Use for commercial or merchandising purposes is prohibited.

Media use of the below images must include the noted caption and copyright information. Click on the thumbnail image below to access the full, downloadable file. Images are 300 dpi.


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The exhibition The Persian Sensation: The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám in the West.
Harry Ransom Center.
Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.


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The exhibition The Persian Sensation: The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám in the West.
Harry Ransom Center.
Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.


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The special Mardi Gras edition of the New Orleans Daily Picayune, with lithographs of parade floats decorated to represent stanzas of The Rubáiyát, 1905

Courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection, accession number 1980.192.16 i-xx


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Title float from Mardi Gras parade, 1905

Courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection, accession number 1980.192.16 i-xx


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An undated Persian manuscript containing Rubáiyát stanzas.

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A double page spread from an illuminated Persian edition of The Rubáiyát, showing a biographical sketch of Omar Khayyám, 1828

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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The cover of the very rare, anonymous first edition of Edward FitzGerald's translation, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1859)

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A single page from Elihu Vedder's monumental illustrated edition of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, 1884

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A cabinet photograph of the dancer Isadora Duncan performing a pose representing a Rubáiyát stanza, 1898

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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H.J. Ford's watercolor painting of the Rubáiyát's most famous stanza, undated

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Selected miniature editions of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, the largest of which is under three inches tall (publication dates ranging from 1900-1916)

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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An illustrated parody of one of the fatalistic stanzas of The Rubáiyát from one of over 100 such parodies in the Ransom Center collections, Carolyn Wells's The Rubáiyát of a Motor Car (1909)

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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The cover of A. Safroni-Middleton's The Rubáiyát of Omar Dog-Yam (1914). Many parodies of the Rubáiyát document the rise of leisure activities, such as pet ownership, in early twentieth-century America.

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A deluxe binding of The Rubáiyát containing a painted portrait of Omar Khayyám in the inside cover, ca. 1900-1915. The turn-of-the-century "Cult of Omar" led to the production of luxury editions infused with exotic orientalist details, such as this custom binding.

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A B.J. Simmons & Company costume design for a stage production of the musical Kismet, 1955

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A poster depicting Omar Khayyám as a swashbuckling hero in the Paramount Pictures release, The Lives, Loves, and Adventures of Omar Khayyam, 1957

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A map of Persia in John Speed's A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World (London: Printed by M. F. for William Humble, 1646). The exhibition includes a variety of texts that show how the British interacted with Persia and Persians in the centuries before FitzGerald's translation.

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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The first page of the manuscript of Charles Algernon Swinburne's poem "Laus Veneris," undated. Swinburne is said to have been so inspired by his first reading of The Rubáiyát in 186* that he immediately sat down and composed this poem in The Rubáiyát's rhyme scheme.

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Edmund Dulac's 1909 illustration of the opening stanza of The Rubáiyát, second edition, which reads as follows:

Wake! For the Sun behind yon Eastern height
Has chased the Session of the Stars to flight;
And, to the field of Heav'n ascending, strikes
The Sultan's Turret with a Shaft of Light.

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Stephen Gooden's illustration of The Rubáiyát's most famous stanza, which reads as follows:

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise Enow!

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Adelaide Hanscom's 1912 hand-colored photographic illustration of the "Moving Finger" stanza, one of the most famous quatrains of The Rubáiyát, which reads as follows:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A page from M. K. Sett's Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam (Bombay: D. B. Taraporevala Sons & Co., 1914). This unusual illustration of FitzGerald's Rubáiyát incorporates imagery of the ancient ruins of Persepolis.

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A reference to FitzGerald's Rubáiyát in Ezra Pound's Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (Ovid Press, 1920). The exhibition includes a variety of modernists' works responding to the Rubáiyát.

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A page spread from Gelett Burgess's parody, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám Junior (San Francisco: Elder and Shephard, 1902)

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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The title page of the manuscript of William Baff's translation of The Rubáiyát into the universal language of Esperanto, 1909. FitzGerald's translation has been retranslated into dozens of other languages.

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A WWI advertisement for Crayol Cigarettes including an Omar Khayyam-themed political cartoon, 2 September 1916

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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A menu for Omar Tea Rooms, which opened in London in 1910

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1925

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1925

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1925

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1925

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1921

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1921

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1921

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1921

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1920

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1920

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1920

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1920

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1919

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1919

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1919

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center


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Souvenir menu for the annual dinner of The Omar Khayyam Club of America, 1919

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center

 

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