Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
London: Siegle, Hill & Co., 1910.
London: Siegle, Hill & Co., 1910. First trade edition. Bound in tan cloth with a lovely full gilt peacock design to the front board. A lovely, Near Fine example of the first trade edition. This edition reprints the famous Sangorski and Sutcliffe, illuminated edition, with both Sangorski and Sutcliffe signing on the limitation page. Complete with all 12 color plates. This edition is slightly smaller than the signed, limited edition and uses a thinner paper-stock. Some inoffensive foxing throughout.
Fitzgerald attributed the original work to the famed astronomer and mathematician Omar Khayyum, and this collection of quatrains rapidly became a favored text of the Pre-Raphaelites. "Like the Odyssey or the Vita Nuova [it] was once the most widely known and quoted work of Victorian poetry in the world," and its place in Western culture at the time was secured by Fitzgerald's "epigrammatic, sophisticated, often mordant verses [that] display Fitzgerald's adroitness in handling this stanza form" (Warner). Yet with rise of Modernism, the Rubaiyat fell out of style for a time, its lush and romantic orientalism considered out of step with the concerns of those who were living through a devastating World War. But the beautiful surviving copies in exceptional vellum, silk, and leather, alongside recently released critical editions, have helped draw attention back to the Rubaiyat's beauty and its role in inspiring so many monumental pieces of Victorian art and literature. Near Fine (Item #5757)