Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

{last updated January 26, 2010}


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INTRODUCTION "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" is said to be one of the ten best known poems in the world, and probably the most popular piece of Oriental literature in the Western World. A number of auspicious events were necessary for this phenomenon to occur. If Edward Cowell hadn't been able to interest Edward FitzGerald in the study of the Persian language in 1852 and brought to FitzGerald's notice in 1856 a Persian manuscript in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, then FitzGerald would not have translated these "Epicurean tetrastichs by a Persian of the eleventh century". If Edward FitzGerald himself hadn't persevered, after being rejected by Fraser's Magazine, and paid to have his first translated version of 75 quatrains published, it probably would have been no more than a scholarly exercise. If, after publication by London bookseller Bernard Quaritch, Whitley Stokes hadn't passed by Quaritch's bookshop and plucked a copy from the "penny box", FitzGerald's book would have died on Picadilly Street. If Whitley Stokes, well-known as a Celtic scholar, had not given a copy of FitzGerald's Rubaiyat to his friend Dante Rossetti on the 10th of July, 1861, then the translation would not have been introduced to the influential literati of the day. From Rossetti to Charles Swinburne to George Meredith to William Morris to Edward Burne-Jones to John Ruskin to the Brownings and on and on, even to America, these romantic verses kept gaining in popularity, necessitating more and more editions to be printed. Today, no one really knows how many hundreds of editions have been printed from FitzGerald's various translations alone, not to mention other English and foreign translations.


First Printings of Edward
FitzGerald's 3rd and 4th Editions

1)  Khayyam, Omar. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. London: Bernard Quaritch. 8 vo., 36 pp. 
including notes, plus a 21-page introduction by the translator concerning the particulars
of the life of Omar Khayyam, Astronomer-Poet of Persia. The 1st printing of Edward Fitzgerald's 
Third Edition of 101 quatrains. 1872. Purple cloth on boards, brown leather spine.
Spine is moderately rubbed; corners bumped; minor staining and fading of covers; o/w a
VG copy.                                                               $385.00

2)  Khayyam. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and the Salaman and Absal of Jami. London: Bernard 
Quaritch, 12 mo., 112 pp. 1st Printing of Edward FitzGerald's 4th Edition, 1879,
together with FitzGerald's translation of "The Salaman and Absal". FitzGerald's 3rd and 
4th Editions both have 101 Quatrains, or verses, and the variations between them
consist of only 17 words and 18 punctuation marks. The poet, Jami, was born Nuruddin
Ardurrahman, Son of Maulana Nizamuddin Ahmed, in A.D. 1414. A short bio of him is included. 
B/w frontis drawing of men playing polo or a similar game on horseback.
Burgundy cloth with leather spine. The spine is heavily rubbed and cracked, damaged top 
and bottom, with the front outer hinge split about an inch at the top; corners bumped;
still a G+ copy with the titling and date still intact in gilt on spine. See photo. 

2 editions with Hamzeh Kar Illus.

3)  Corvo, Frederic Baron. The Rubaiyat of 'Umar Khaiyam. Translated by Corvo from the
French of J.B. Nicolas, together with a reprint of the French text. Edited with notes
and a comparative study of the original texts, and an Introduction by Edward Heron-Allen.
Published by John Lane, The Bodley Head Ltd., London. 1924. 1st Ed. Thus. Tall 4 to.,
193 pp. An impressive 464 quatrains in length. Embellished with 16 full-page colour
illustrations by Hamzeh Carr (Hamzeh Abd-ullah Kar) which are so typically and genuinely
Eastern in nature. Exquisite binding is silk cloth with gilt lettering and Red/Blue/Black
and gilt decoration on spine and front panel. Topedges Blue; other edges untrimmed. Minor
edgewear; small 1/4" piece of cloth missing from topedge of rear cover; slight foxing of
foredges; o/w a VG+ clean copy in a mylar dustwrapper with a taped tear.    $265.00

4)  FitzGerald, Edward (trans.). The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Illustrated Editions Co.,
N.Y. (1938) FitzGerald's 1st translation of 75 quatrains, accompanied with 9 tipped-in
illustrations in the Eastern style by Hamzeh Abd-Ullah Kar. The plates are affixed to
Red card. Also included are FitzGerald's 101-quatrain 4th translation and his biography
of Omar Khayyam. The book measures abt. 8-1/2 x 11-1/4". Black cloth with Gold and Red
decoration and lettering on spine and front cover. Gold lettering mostly faded from
front cover; moderate wear to top and bottom of spine; some of the colour plates have
minor wrinkling because of the way they were glued to the Red card backing; minor stain
to topedges at spine; o/w a -VG clean copy.                                $145.00

5)  FitzGerald, Edward (trans.). The Cameo Classics Edition, published
by Grosset & Dunlap, N.Y. n.d. (circa 1939). Sm. 8 vo., unpaginated.
Includes the 1st and 5th versions of FitzGerald's translations. Edmund
Sullivan's 75 drawings illustrate the 1st version. These are full-page
illustrations facing each quatrain. The Introduction is FitzGerald's
mini-biography of Omar Khayyam. Blue cloth with raised White cameo of
Johann Gutenberg on front cover. Spine faded but lettering still legible;
gift inscription inside front cover for Christmas 1939; o/w VG in a
G+ slipcase with paste-on illus.                             SOLD


6)  Evans, Frederick H. (Ed.). Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: a Variorum Edition of Edward 
Fitzgerald's Renderings Into English Verse. London: Privately Published, Sm. 8 vo., 111 pp.
1st Ed. thus. June, 1914. Editor, Evans, states in his Preface: "This Variorum edition of 
FitzGerald's rendering of Omar Khayyam's poem has been made with the idea of giving, for
the first time collectively, each Stanza in the full text of each of its versions,
as given in the four editions (1859, 1868, 1872, 1879) that contain any differences in 
text." This edition was hand-printed by Arthur K. Sabin at the Temple Sheen Press.
LIMITED to 300 copies and INSCRIBED by the Editor on the half-title. Grey paper-on-boards 
with Blue cloth spine. Minor edgewear and rubbing; some foxing on the untrimmed
foredges; mild bumping of corners; some discolouring of e.p.'s; o/w a clean VG+ copy of 
this uncommon edition.                                             $275.00



(8)            (7)                 (SOLD)
7)  Khayyam. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Little Blue Book No. 1. This literary series
was edited by E. Haldeman-Julius. Includes FitzGerald's 3rd version (101 quatrains) of
the Rubaiyat, as well as his biographical sketch of Omar Khayyam and a critical essay,
entitled "The Persian Pearl" by Clarence Darrow. 16 mo., 61 pp. Abt. 3-1/2 x 5" tall. n.d.
I've seen this series with various coloured paper wraps; this one is Yellow, with Black
lettering and a portrait drawing of the editor on the back cover. The poor paper is
discoloured; the covers are slightly soiled and faded; one little crease
in the top corner of the front cover; abt. VG.            $9.00

8)  Fitzgerald, Edward (trans.). Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The Quality Paperback
Book Club Edition, N.Y. 1996. This is a handsome, inexpensive edition that features
12 colour illus. by Edmund Dulac. It includes FitzGerald's 1st (75 Quatrains) and his
2nd (110 Quatrains) versions. New Introduction by A.S. Byatt, English novelist.
Heavy card wraps with an illus. on front panel. Minor rubbing; very minor stain on
topedges; o/w a VG+ copy.                        $12.00

9)  Khayyam. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Collins, London and Glasgow. n.d. (circa 1960's).
32 mo., (abt. 2-3/4 x 3-3/4" tall) 79 pp. FitzGerald's first version of 75 quatrains. No illus. 
Red faux leather. VG+ copy.                                              $7.50

10)  Khayyam. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. London: Folio Society, Slim 8 vo., unpaginated 
(32 pp.). 12th Folio Soc. printing. 1996. Edward Fitzgerald's 1st translation of 75 quatrains.
5 one-colour illus. by Virgil Burnett, plus endpapers. Handsome Red cloth binding with 
Gold and Silver overlay decoration. T.E.G. Prev. owner's name on free front e.p.; o/w 
Near Fine in VG+ slipcase of Gold paper on boards.                          $18.00

11)  Khayyam. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. London: Bracken Books, 8 vo., 144 pp. 1st 
Bracken edition. 1995. The first edition with Rene Bull's illus. was published in 1913.
This edition has the text of Edward FitzGerald's first translation of 75 quatrains, 19 
colour illus. by Rene Bull and decorative borders by Willy Pogany. Introduction
and notes by Reynold Alleyne Nicholson. Decorative e.p.'s. Wine cloth. Slight edgewear; 
o/w Near Fine in a VG+ pictorial d.j. with slight rubbing and small chip from
jacket spine.                                                        SOLD

12)  Khayyam. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the fourth version by FitzGerald.
Barse and Hopkins, New York and Newark (1909). 16 mo., (abt. 4 x 5-1/2" tall),
unpaginated (105 pp.). 101 quatrains, one to a page with attractive
grape-leaf, grape and devil's head border; decoration and type in Green. Not
in Potter as such. Soft, limp Red leather on heavy card; Red satin marker; t.e.g.;
Red endpapers. Some rubbing and fading of covers; front free endpaper half gone,
prev. owner's name on remaining part; short tear in half-title page; foredges and
bottomedges a little discoloured; o/w a nice G+ copy with a good feel to it.  $27.00

13)  Khayyam. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. New York: Willey Book Co., 12 mo., 76 pp.
(1924). 1935 printing. FitzGerald's 4th rendering of 101 quatrains, plus a biog. of 
Omar and Notes. 5 full-colour, full-page illus. by August Henkel. Brown cloth. Light
rubbing to spine and minor edgewear; some fading of gilt lettering on front board; 
some discolouration of the poor paper; prev. owner's
name on inside front cover; o/w a G+ copy.   $30.00

14)  Khayyam. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner,
London. 1912. 4 to., unpaginated. The book is 8" x 10-1/4"
tall and about an inch thick. Illustrated with 38 b/w photos specially taken 
for the book in the Mid-East by Mabel Eardley-Wilmot. The text is FitzGerald's 
first translation of 75 quatrains. 13-page biography of Omar Khayyam 
by FitzGerald. This edition has a very decorative front cover and 
it is fairly uncommon. Cream cloth with Gold lettering on spine and 
front panel, as well as an ornate Green/Gold/Black intertwining 
and column design on the front panel (at the same time, a typical 
Eastern design such as you might see on a prayer screen but also 
keeping with the Art Deco patterns of the day). Original 
Green ribbon marker and Green decorative initials by W.G. Johnson           
for the start of each verse. Some ghosting on the pages across
from the tipped-in illustrations; bookseller's stamp on f.e.p.; gift inscription
for 1914 on half-title; minor edgewear and spotting of covers; some discolouration
of foredges; o/w a VG to VG+ clean copy.               $135.00 

15)  Khayyam. Rubiayat of Omar Khayyam: a complete reprint 
of the First Edition and the combined Third, Fourth and
Fifth Editions, with an Appendix containing FitzGerald's
Prefaces and Notes. Edited and with Introduction by 
Louis Untermeyer. Random House, N.Y. (1947). Book Club
Edition. 8 vo., 149 pp. Page decorations and 20 colour
illustrations by Mahmoud Sayah. Red decorated cloth.
Minor wear and fading of edges; minor nicks on spine;
o/w VG in Good Only Red slipcase with some soiling
and chipping.                                 SOLD

16)  Khayyam. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Thomas Y. Crowell,
N.Y. n.d. (circa 1929). 12 mo., 48 pp. FitzGerald's 4th version
(101 quatrains). Includes 15-page bio of Omar Khayyam and
8 pages of Notes. 8 b/w plates from the illustrations of
Gilbert James. Patterned e.p.'s. Lovely limp suede binding
with Gold lettering. Poor paper somewhat discoloured; a front
free endpaper removed; some pencil checks and the odd bit of
pencil underlining; o/w a VG copy.             $20.00

17)  Khayyam. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Astronomer
Poet of Persia. Done into English by Edward FitzGerald:
the 1st rendition of 75 quatrains. T.N. Foulis, London.
The Rose Garden Series. 1913. 1st Edition Thus. Includes 
Preface, Notes, the Rubaiyat, and 2 pages of Vocabulary. 
Beautifully illustrated with decorated title page, 7 other
decorated pages, plus 8 small, tipped-in colour plates        
by Frank Brangwyn. The book measures abt. 4-1/2 x 7-1/2"
tall; the plates measure abt. 2 x 3-1/4". Credit is not              
given to Brangwyn for the illustrations, but this is most
definitely his work. All edges gilt. Exquisite tree calf
leather binding with gilt decoration plus Red leather
titling label on spine and five raised bands. Lovely
marbled endpapers. Minor edgewear; the small remains of
a card or bookplate that was attached to the free f.e.p.;
the front board was detached but has been professionally
replaced by Richard Smart. A most exquisite copy. SOLD



18)  Khayyam, Hakim Yama. Omar Khayyam Revisited. 
Secaucus, NJ: Lyle Stuart, 4 to., unpaginated. 
(1974) Probably 1st and only edition. The Rubaiyat 
recast in contemporary terms. 67 verses, complemented
with 21 drawings by David Stone Martin. Green cloth. 
Minor edgewear and rubbing; o/w VG+ in VG
pictorial d.j. with minor chipping and rubbing.

19)  (Pogany, Willy) Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. FitzGerald's
first version, 75 quatrains. George G. Harrap, London.
n.d. (circa 1930, perhaps a little earlier). 8 vo.(6 x 8-3/4), 
unpaginated. Exquisitely illustrated with 16 tipped-in
colour plates by Willy Pogany, who has also done the page
decorations printed in Green. Attractive full-leather
binding with raised grape-leaf design on front panel, spine
and rear panel. Gilt decoration to spine, gilt and Green
to front panel; t.e.g.; delicately marbled endpapers. 
Some wear to corner tips, along outer hinges and top
and bottom of spine but there is no splitting; small
piece missing from top of spine; boards just slightly
bowed; a lovely, clean VG copy. The plates have good
colour and definition, unlike many later reprints.  SOLD



20)  (Pogany) The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The
First and Fourth Renderings in English Verse by
Edward FitzGerald. Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York.
Printed in England. n.d. (circa 1920's). 4 to.,
173 pp. Introduction by George Saintsbury. One of
my favourite editions of the Rubaiyat, with Willy
Pogany providing 12 beautiful tipped-in colour plates
as well as two to three dozen gold foil tipped-on
designs abt. 2-1/4 x 3-1/4" tall to further illustrate
the text. Some of these extra illustrations are of
figures while some are floral and bird designs, and
they add immensely to the enjoyment of reading the
book. Handsome Tan cloth binding (perhaps silk) with
gilt lettering and design plus a paste-on foil design
on front board. Slight edgewear; minor wrinkling of
front endpaper; o/w an exquisite, extremely clean
VG+ copy with some unopened pages. Complete with
the scarce dust-jacket, with just a little minor
soiling and slight edgewear; plus the even more
scarce publisher's box. The bottom portion of the
box has one damaged corner, while the box lid has
some soiling and is missing the bottom edge (however
when the lid is on, the book is still completely
protected because of the edge of the bottom portion).
An exceptional item.                          SOLD




20a)    Another copy of the above book, same edition   
but without the d.j. and box. The colour plate designated     
for p. 60 was missing. Strangely enough, there was no
sign that it was ever tipped-on to the page, so I think
missing because of a binder's error. So that the buyer
may have the benefit of the illustration, I have had a
laser colour print made of the proper plate from the
book above and affixed it where it should be on p. 60.
The two photos at right show the original colour plate
from the book above (first photo) and below it the laser 
colour print that I have added to this book. Otherwise, 
this is an outstanding VG+ copy with a minor ding to top
of spine, a crease in the f.e.p., and a minor rippling 
to some of the pages.                        SOLD

21)   Porte, R.T. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the
first version of Edward FitzGerald with 75 quatrains. 
Privately printed by the Porte Press, Salt Lake, Utah.
Dec. 25, 1932. 12 mo., unpaginated. 17 full-page
illus. in Brown and Yellow; the text printed in Brown
on Yellow background with decorative Grey borders.
Porte states that he made this book to please himself,
with the aid of friends: "...Jensen to make the drawings,
Pickering to help with the layout and color scheme after
searching many Persian manuscripts for ideas and
suggestions." Decorative endpapers. This was an
extremely pretty book when new: shiny Pink silk with
decorative web-like design and a paper paste-on cut-
out on front cover of Omar sitting in the doorway of
his tent. The spine was completely off and I have had
it replaced professionally by Richard Smart. The spine
is discoloured where it joins the book. About a Good
copy overall but with tight, VG clean contents. The
original slipcase is present but stained, heavily-
chipped and glued together. A limited edition of 486
copies and difficult to find today.           SOLD

22)  (Sullivan, Edmund J.). Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,
rendered into English by Edward FitzGerald. First and
Fifth versions, with many b/w drawings by Sullivan.
Three Sirens Press, N.Y. n.d. (Inscription for 1935.)
8 vo., 193 pp. Beige/Black cloth. Minor edgewear;
corners frayed; lettering and decorations faded on spine;
about a G+ copy of many people's favourite edition
with Sullivan's illus.                          $18.50



23)  Vedder (illus.). Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 8 vo. 
Published 1894, ten years after the original folio edition Rubaiyat with the accompanying
Elihu Vedder drawings. This edition has the same wonderful Vedder illus. on every page 
with the text of Edward FitzGerald's fourth edition (101 quatrains). The pages
are printed on one side only in the "French Fold" manner. I believe these were originally 
uncut, but with many copies I've seen, someone has separated the pages. There is also
a text-only printing of the same translation, as well as 15-page biographical sketches of both
FitzGerald and Omar Khayyam. Bevelled Brown cloth with gilt lettering on spine and elaborate 
gilt decoration on front cover. T.e.g. Decorated e.p.'s. Some minor wear to top and
bottom of spine and corners; front inside hinge partially cracked; pencilled gift inscription 
from 1895 on a free front endpaper; o/w still a handsome, clean VG copy.   SOLD  


24)  Barton, F.R. (ed.). Edward FitzGerald and Bernard Barton: Letters Written
By FitzGerald 1839-1856. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 8 vo., 190 pp. plus publisher's
ads. 1st Ed. 1924. With a Foreword by Viscount Grey of Fallodon. Portraits of 
FitzGerald and Barton. Wine cloth with Gold lettering. Moderate rubbing and staining
of covers; lettering a bit faded on spine; bookseller's label on r.e.p.;
o/w a clean VG copy.                    $37.50
25)  Wrentmore, C. Quaritch (ed.). Letters From Edward Fitzgerald To Bernard Quaritch. 
London: Bernard Quaritch. 1st Ed. 1926. 8 vo., 135 pp. Colour frontis portrait
of FitzGerald from a miniature, plus 5 other plates, incl. a drawing of FitzGerald's grave. 
These letters from Edward FitzGerald to his Publisher and Bookseller Bernard Quaritch,
are reprinted from a collection now in the possession of the Editor, the eldest daughter 
of the late Bernard Quaritch. Most of the letters pertain to FitzGerald's various
translated editions of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Navy cloth; t.e.g. Slight
shelf-wear; some fraying at top and bottom of spine, with neat hinge repairs about a 
half inch down from top and up from the bottom; o/w VG.           $55.00

26)  Wright, William Aldis (ed.). Letters of Edward FitzGerald to Fanny Kemble 1871-1883. 
London: Richard Bentley & Son, Sm. 8 vo., 269 pp. 1st Ed. 1895. Includes a frontispiece
portrait of FitzGerald and an engraved frontis of Frances Anne Kemble by J.G. Stodart from 
the original painting by Sully. This collection of letters, addressed by FitzGerald
to his life-long friend Fanny Kemble, form an almost continuous series, from the middle of 
1871 to within 3 weeks of his death in 1883. Wine cloth. Front outer hinge heavily
rubbed; other minor edgewear and spotting of covers; binding slightly cocked;
minor foxing of e.p.'s; label for the "Grosvenor Gallery Library" affixed to rear cover; 
Foyles bookstore stamp on inside front cover; a G to G+ copy of a book with a unique
insight into the mind of the first English translator of the Rubaiyat.  $30.00

27)  Mardikian, George. Dinner at Omar Khayyam's. New York: Viking Press, Sm. 8 vo., 150 pp. 
3rd printing, Nov. 1945. The owner of a restaurant in San Francisco and another in Fresno
has collected a number of his famous recipes together in a book for the home chef. Joseph 
Henry Jackson provides a delightful Introduction and friend and author William Saroyan
has written a Foreword in which he says that whoever owns this book " going
to appreciate good food more than ever, and that he is going to get more out of the experience 
of living". Blue cloth with chef's head stamped in White on front cover. Minor edgewear;
paper somewhat discoloured; o/w VG in Good Only d.j. with pieces missing. Also an 
interesting addition to a Rubaiyat collection, if just for the name.    SOLD

28)  Herford, Oliver. The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten. A Parody. This "A Legacy
Library Facsimile" of the original 1904 edition. Published by Xerox and Arno Press,
N.Y. 1967. Sm. 8 vo., unpaginated (77 pp.). Many 2-colour illustrations by the author.
Blue cloth with Dark Blue lettering and paste-on illus. of a cat. Minor edgewear;
minor staining of cover illus.; prev. owner's name on f.e.p.; o/w a
clean VG copy.                                                     $17.00

------- MORE COMING SOON --------

End of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam


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