Omar Khayyam, Edward Fitzgerald and the Rubaiyat

Conference - Abstracts

July 9 - 10th 2009
Trinity College, University of Cambridge
Cambridge, CB2 1TQ

“And, strange to tell, among that earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried -
‘Who is the Potter, pray, and who the pot?”

Abstracts

Esmail Z. BEHTASH
The Reception of FitzGerald's Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám by the Victorians

FitzGerald's Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám appeared unnoticed at a time when the Great Exhibition of 1851 had brought a strong sense of superiority and optimism to the Victorians of the mid-century. The copies remained on Quaritch's shelves for almost two years and no one approached them. The exoticism of the Rubáiyát and its introduction of fatalism made the poem catch the Pre-Raphaelites' imagination and their praises were enough to advertise it. In spite of its popularity among the Pre-Raphaelites, reviewers ignored the poem until Charles Eliot Norton published an article comparing FitzGerald's translation with a French one. As a result of Norton's article, the Rubáiyát won popularity in the United States.

A direct response to FitzGerald's poem was Robert Browning's "Rabbi Ben Ezra" with a persona of a Middle Eastern historical scientist, apparently selected by him in response to FitzGerald's Omar, an astronomer-mathematician poet of Persia. The Rabbi sees the whole design of life as "perfect" and thanks God that he is a "man"; while FitzGerald's Omar rebels against this divine design and wishes he had the power to "shatter" it and "remold" it according to his own heart's desire. While Browning's Rabbi sees life as a process which death completes, FitzGerald's Omar views life ending into dust "Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and sans End."

Although the Rubáiyát was unnoticed by the mid-Victorian English public, once it was noticed, it was never allowed to fall into neglect again. On 25 March 1897, the Omar Khayyám club met for dinner and Sir George Roberston, the hero of Chitral, delighted the company by remarking that men of action were really dreamers and sentimentalists and that his chief pleasure in the mountains of Chitral was the reading of Omar Khayyám.

 

Robert Douglas-FAIRHURST
FitzGerald's Timelines

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is much concerned with time, past and passing, which FitzGerald's translation both describes ('TO-DAY' as 'the only ground' his speaker has to stand on, 'however momentarily slipping from under his feet') and enacts in it's own form. In this paper I discuss the poem's development through revision, in particular FitzGerald's decision to dramatise the inevitable march of time and measure it against the less predictable human apprehension of time. Comparing the Rubáiyát with FitzGerald's other poems, and analysing some of the distinctive features of his style -- from the uncertain historical co-ordinates of his diction to the comic timing of individual lines -- I show how his translation reworks pastoral conventions to create a poem that is at once moulded by circumstance and peculiarly rootless.

 

Hassan EMAMI
Journeying East: Salaman and Absal

FitzGerald's first encounter with Persian literary culture seems to have been the result of a combination of chance and of the pleasure he took in male company. It is possible to argue that from the late 1820s he had in mind a notion that he might pursue a literary career; but the precise nature of that career was obviously not yet fully formed in his mind. Certainly there is no evidence that he contemplated any career other than writing, although with large inherited family resources at his disposal, he could always live a life of leisure, never really having any need to pursue a career of any sort.

In 1846 FitzGerald began a friendship which in terms of his future success was to prove far more influential than those he had established with either Tennyson or Thackeray at Cambridge, for in that year he met the future scholar of Persian, Edward Byles Cowell. The full extent of the crucial influence of Cowell upon FitzGerald was not known beyond their small circle of acquaintances until well after FitzGerald's death. Indeed it is still not widely known among most modern readers of FitzGerald's work. Yet it is certain that had the two men not met, then FitzGerald's interest in Persian would never have occurred or would not have taken the form which it did take, and his various versions of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat would never have been brought to fruition.

There were, however, significant differences in the value each man placed on Persian literature. Cowell was certainly more orthodox in his religious beliefs than FitzGerald, and this manifested itself in his judgements about the ultimate worth of Persian poetry. Although he was fascinated by Hafiz, Rumi and Nezami, and often translated from their works for contemporary journals, it seems that his special interest was Sufi poetry and the mystical doctrines which he associated with Sufism. It is here-in the relationship (or perhaps the contrasts) between Christian doctrine and Persian mysticism-that we can see what were later to become the essential differences between FitzGerald and Cowell; here the reasons for their different views of The Rubaiyat, which I will discuss in details in my paper , can be glimpsed, as it were in embryo.

 

Annmarie DRURY
"Some for the Glories of the Sole": The Rubáiyát and FitzGerald's Skeptical American Parodists

American parodies of the Rubáiyát comprise a key legacy of Edward FitzGerald's poem and a neglected transatlantic current of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At their most successful, these parodies critique the uncomplicated celebration of cultural fusion that many of FitzGerald's champions promulgated and that the writings and activities of the Omar Khayyam Club in England well represent. Send-ups by Mark Twain (Mark Twain's Rubáiyát, unpublished until 1983), by Oliver Herford, an illustrator and author of children's verse (The Rubáiyát of a Persian Kitten, 1904), and by the "Hoosier poet" James Whitcomb Riley (The Rubáiyát of Doc Sifers, 1897) articulate, on a literary plane, skepticism about notions of intercultural connection and compatibility: notions which enliven FitzGerald's translation and which informed the lionizing, in Britain, of his translation in imperialist terms.

Each of these parodies develops its critique by replacing philosophical reflection and exotic imagery with mundane, deeply domestic concerns and actors. Each takes special aim at FitzGerald's incorporation of Persian names, mythology, and figures of speech into his English poem, suggesting that his annotated introduction of Persian reflects an overly indulged idealism. Illustrations contribute to the poems' satirical reach. Herford's image of a kitten ogling a fancy dinner and Charles M. Relyea's pen and ink sketches, for Riley's poem, of (for example) women talking by a picket fence, intensify the focus on small, highly localized worlds. Such pictures offer a pointed corrective to pictures like those of Elihu Vedder, a popular illustrator (and adapter) of FitzGerald's Rubáiyát - who dealt in florid visual allusions to mortality and the passing of time - undoing all hints of a parodist's apostleship to the ideals of FitzGerald's poem.

Riley's unforgiving Doc Sifers suggests how powerful the Rubáiyát's identity as an almost mystical mechanism for cultural fusion was and demonstrates the translation's deep influence in American literature. His poem repudiates, without fondness, the linguistic, mythological, philosophical, and geographical reach that the Rubáiyát involves and that British and American devotees of the poem at the turn of the century admired. Ultimately, these American parodies of the Rubáiyát present a challenge, which would then have been insupportable in Britain, to the viability of translation as an enterprise.

 

Garry GARRARD
Edward Heron-Allen's analysis of FitzGerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and its legacy.

As the popularity of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam grew in the decades after Fitzgerald's death, so did discussions and debates in educated society about his translation. Increasingly, the accuracy and validity of Fitzgerald's version were brought into question, especially by other orientalists. That particular debate was brought to a conclusion in the late 1890s by Edward Heron-Allen.

Heron-Allen was a polymath whose numerous achievements, most of them unrelated to Persia or poetry, are well-documented. He taught himself Persian before translating Ouseley 140, the manuscript in the Bodleian Library that had originally inspired FitzGerald. Heron-Allen published a book* containing a facsimile of that manuscript, as well as his own literal translation of each verse in 1897 and, within only a few months, its popularity led to an expanded reprint. Heron-Allen then analysed FitzGerald's version to establish the source(s) used for each verse. His results have been considered as definitive ever since the analysis was published in a second book in 1899**.

This paper introduces Heron-Allen and his many achievements. It then reviews the process by which he analysed Fitzgerald's translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and the extent to which he depended on other Persian experts and translators, especially Edward Cowell and Denison Ross. The author discovered recently an exchange of letters between Heron-Allen and Edward Whinfield, another notable translator of Khayyam's verses, as well as Whinfield's own copy of Heron-Allen's first book, presented to him by its author and heavily annotated by Whinfield himself. These two items throw new light on the relationship between the two scholars.

The paper continues by examining the extent to which Heron-Allen's translation was used by other aspiring authors for their own versions of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and how Heron-Allen's name was used to endorse alternative versions. In conclusion, the paper describes the use, and abuse, of Heron-Allen's work as the basis for one of the most blatant and public literary frauds of the 20th century, its consequences, and the way in which the fraud was exposed.

As a starting point, the paper will use work presented in the author's recent book***, before expanding it significantly based on the author's continuing research since its publication, including his discovery of previously unrecognised manuscript material.

* The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam; A Facsimile of the MS in the Bodleian Library Translated and Edited by Edward Heron-Allen. London. H S Nichols, 1898. (copyright 1897)

** Fitzgerald's Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam with their original Persian sources. Edward heron-Allen, London, Bernard Quaritch 1899.

*** A Book of Verse, the Biography of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Garry Garrard, Stroud, Sutton Publishing, 2007

 

Hosayn Ilahi GHOMSHEI
The Wine of Nishapur in Victorian Goblets

The main theme of this discourse relates to what is suggested in the title, namely that FitzGerald was faithful to the quintessence of the poetic message communicated by Khayyam: that while taking well-deserved liberties with the original text, he recreated the original poet's message in forms and metaphors more familiar to his Victorian audience -hence his incredible popularity in literary circles of his time. The 'Wine of Nishapur' in this sense represents the intoxicating essence of the Quatrains of 'Umar Khayyam, the fiery way of beauty and wisdom imbibed in Persian by Edward FitzGerald, then outpoured again in Victorian cups of charm and grace.

 

Erik GRAY
"A Blind Understanding: Making Sense of the Rubáiyát"

The popularity of the Rubáiyát has often led critics (admirers and detractors both) to assume that the poem is simple - that its language and style are easily comprehensible. But this is clearly not the case; to the contrary, the poem is filled with unusual expressions and puzzlingly elliptical syntax. Yet the same could be said of two other enormously popular works in English, both of which served as major sources for FitzGerald: Shakespeare and the King James Bible. In this paper I examine the solecisms and other linguistic peculiarities of the Rubáiyát to show that, far from being mistakes, they are integral to the poem's effect. Not only do they often add shades of meaning at a local level, but they also serve to remind the reader of the poem's status as a translated text: English is not the Rubáiyát's first language. I argue, moreover, that the poem's grammatical irregularities, rather than diminishing its appeal by rendering it more difficult, may have contributed to its popularity by making it seem more careless in expression, and hence more accessible.

 

Michelle KAISERLIAN
"The Imagined Elites of the Omar Khayyám Club"

On the evening of October 13, 1892, at Pagani's Restaurant in London's West End, a group of men gathered to celebrate the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. At this inaugural meeting of the Omar Khayyám Club and over the next forty years, the group came together to eat, drink heavily, and praise the poet Omar and his English translator Edward FitzGerald as "twin souls," separated by time and place but united in the Rubáiyát text. As the transatlantic popularity of the Rubáiyát escalated, another group formed in Boston in 1900. As membership grew, both clubs decided to limit their membership each to fifty-nine members, the number symbolizing the year in which Fitzgerald published his first edition of the Rubáiyát (1859). This exclusive club welcomed a variety of professionals, including artists and literati in addition to political and military officials.

On the surface, the Omar Khayyám Club sanctioned an escape from everyday life, a controlled environment where men could indulge in material pleasures following Omar's hedonistic philosophy of living for the moment, espoused in the Rubáiyát. On a deeper level, I argue that the clubs became ritual spaces in which participants praised their own elite status and crafted a coveted identity through the vehicle of the Rubáiyát. Study of the Rubáiyát text itself, its delayed reception in late-Victorian society, and its connection to the exotic East, provide insight into the clubbists' curious allegiance to a book of verse. An examination of three books issued by the Club-their collected proceedings-reveals an intricate web of imaginings, including lectures and poems written for the occasion, art decorating menus and souvenirs, and letters written by prominent literary and societal figures that paid homage to Khayyám, to Fitzgerald, and to the club itself. Finally, biographical information on key members sheds light on the underlying motivations for membership.

The delayed popular reception of the Rubáiyát allowed those in elite circles to appreciate the text privately and with a sense of privilege. Khayyám's epicureanism, as interpreted by club members, promoted a way of life that only select people are able to live, further bolstering the club's exclusivity. The Persian origins of the poem offered easy access to the fantasy world of the Orient. Such ties to the East not only increased the sensuality of their rituals but also emboldened the "male cause;" imperialist notions of domination and superiority reinforced patriarchal roles and downplayed serious talk of the New Woman. Menus illustrated by Orientalist Frank Brangwyn depicting scantily-clad women dutifully serving a man in repose offered members a token of the exotic that could be possessed long after the night of revelry.

A deeper look into the lives of individual members of the Club finds a group of men whose gentlemanly status was far from secure. In Victorian society, where not only class but mercurial distinctions of moral and social behavior were at play, clubs allowed men to craft their identity and project a coveted status in an insulated environment. The cultured status of the Rubáiyát and the Omarian rituals of the Club together created an artful illusion of security amongst the fluctuating cultural conditions of the modern world.

 

Danny KARLIN
Much Ado about nothing in the Rubaiyat

'You stole a bit in it from the Gardner's Daughter, I think': Tennyson's accusation, made in a letter to Edward FitzGerald in 1872, alludes to the similarity between his line, 'Bound for the shores of nothing', and FitzGerald's 'Starts for the Dawn of Nothing' (st. XXXVIII, first edition).

FitzGerald's defence implies a metaphysical gap between Tennyson's idea of 'nothing' and his own: he had been 'at a loss for a word to express the "no-thing"?Nothingness, Non-existence; Non-entity, etc., failing from clumsiness in one way or other . . . I remember often wanting a word like the French "Néant" to express what is so much the burden of the old Song'. It is this 'burden' (a refrain, and a weight) that forms the focus of my paper. I trace the antecedents of FitzGerald's 'Nothing' (in English and classical literature and philosophy, and in the Bible) and reflect on the significance of the term for a reading of the Rubáiyát as a modern version of an 'old Song'.

 

Parvin LOLOI
The Vogue of the English Ruba'iyat and Dedicatory Poems in Honour of Khayyam and FitzGerald

As is well known, the Pre-Raphaelites and their friends were instrumental in popularising Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam; the establishment of the Omar Khayyam Club in 1892 further gave impetus to this trend. It is not going too far to say that by the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, a cult of the Ruba'iyat had been established.

After the publication of Swinburne's Laus Veneris in 1866 (the first English poem to be written in Ruba'iyat form), well over a thousand poems have been published employing this very Persian poetical form (albeit in an English meter). The English Ruba'iyats embrace many varied forms and subjects; from the parodies which peaked in first two decades of the twentieth century (but which also include such later examples as that by Wendy Cope) to imitations and dedicatory Ruba'iyats in honour of Khayyam and / or his English translator, and to English poems which employ the form with no explicit allusion to Fitzgerald's poem.

The dedicatory poems have been written in many other forms than simply the Ruba'iyat, including sonnets, odes, villanelles, etc. The distinguished members of the Omar Khayyam Club and their guests, who included figures such as Austin Dobson, Francis Thompson, G. K. Chesterton and Walter de la Mare, all contributed to this cult in one way or another. The most famous of the dedicatory poems is 'To E. FitzGerald' by Alfred Tennyson, who was a close friend of FitzGerald's (and received Persian tutoring from FitzGerald, most of it focussed on the poems of Hafiz). FitzGerald wrote about his fascination with Khayyam in letters to Tennyson, and even translated occasional lines for him.

The fascination is also evident in the second half of the twentieth century in such poems as the 'Quatrains' of John Heath-Stubbs, himself a translator, with peter Avery, of the Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam (1979), and the president of the Omar Khayyam Club for many years. Dick Davis's 'Letter to Omar' is another significant example of a poet/ scholar's employment of the Ruba'iyat. Other contemporary poets such as Francis Warner and, more extensively, Mimi Khalvati have also written poems to which they have chosen to give the title 'Rubaiyat'.

The success of - and enduring interest in - FitzGerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is perhaps unique amongst English poetic translations, not least in the way in which it has resulted in a Persian poetical form becoming part of the mainstream of English poetry.

 

William H MARTIN and Sandra MASON
The illustration of FitzGerald's Rubaiyat, and its contribution to enduring popularity

There are many special features of the publishing history of FitzGerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. It has seldom been out of print in the 150 years since the first edition, the large number of different editions and reprints worldwide is unique for one short poem, and the book has been the focus of a very high level of fine bindings and editions, and collector interest among bibliophiles. Of particular relevance to this history, is the extent to which FitzGerald's Rubaiyat has been published in illustrated form. Around one half of the editions of the poem contain illustrations, and over 130 different illustrators have worked on FitzGerald's version of Khayyam's quatrains.

Our paper will explore the nature of the illustrations for FitzGerald's Rubaiyat and the contribution that they have made to the enduring popularity of this work. It will consider the way in which the quatrains have been selected for illustration and the interpretations that have been put on FitzGerald's text. Different periods of illustration will be examined, distinguishing between the pre first world war Art Nouveau illustrators, the Art Deco work on the interwar period, and the more modern post war illustrators. The phenomenon of reissuing the work of popular artists, and the creation of several different portfolios by some illustrators of the Rubaiyat, will be considered. And the paper will bring the analysis up to the present day, looking both at some 21st century illustrators and the continuing publication of illustrated editions abroad, notably in Iran.

The analysis presented will shed further light on issues initially raised by the presenters in their recent book on The Art of Omar Khayyam*. These issues are the subject of continuing research by the authors. In particular, the role that illustration has played in developing and maintaining the popularity of FitzGerald's Rubaiyat will be assessed against the background of changing publishing technology and taste, and social and economic conditions in different periods.

* Martin WH & Mason S, The Art of Omar Khayyam: illustrating FitzGerald's Rubaiyat, London, IB Tauris, 2007.

 

Taha SADERI, Karim SADERI
A Criticism and Survey of The Translation of Rubaiyat of Khayyam by Fitzgerald

Being an unknown poet in Iran for hundreds of years, scholars heard reputation of an Iranian poet named Khayyam from West*. It was through Fitzgerald's translations that he was introduced to the West and became a household name. The Rubaiyat became popular to the extent that British soldiers took copies of it with them during World Wars I and II, and Khayyam clubs were formed to read and discuss the poetry of this 11th-century man**. This is maybe a general habit to forget his treasures by the third world or a message of awareness from developed societies to the ones who think that literature cannot develop.

Khayyam like the other great poets have his own fancies and ideas and getting familiar with them can surely help literary scholars to extend their view toward the world and life. Beside Fitzgerald's effective role in the world literature some criticisms of his works are done that deserve to be taken under consideration. The main point at such criticisms is the fact that he has relied more on his intuitive guess than his knowledge of Persian in interpreting what a passage meant***. He acquired the intuitive faculty, relied implicitly on his taste, and disclaimed the power of systematic criticism. "I have," he says, "more reliance on my unreasoning than on my reasoning affections in such matters****.

In this paper we try to glorify the job that Fitzgerald did to develop the literature in his time and note the points that are translated interpretively and finally survey the changes done in the context. Knowing Khayyam as he really was from the Iranian theosophy point of view will be helpful to the ones who want to improve their understandings about his quatrains.

* Muhammad Ali Islami Nodushan, "Hakim Omar Khayyam Nishaburi, The Great Philosopher of Iran," Hasti journal, vol. 17, spring 2004.

** Fozia Qazi, "The Poetry and Mathematics of Omar Khayyam," River Gazette, March 2003, p. 13.

*** Anand, "Translator made Khayyam sensualist he never was," The Gazette (Montreal), June 12, 1993, Pg. L2.

**** A. Blackwood, "Fitzgerald, Additional Letters from the Interpreter of Omar Khayyam," The New York Times, May 31, 1902.

 

Tea SHURGAIA
Translation of Omar Khayyam's poetry into Georgian - a touchstone of translators

The popularity of Omar Khayyam in Georgia covers various categories and strata of society. The keen interest of translators in his poetry has never faded; His works have been studied by scientist (not only by iranologists). Khayyam is one of the most renowned poets in Georgia: even those who hardly can be considered to be literature lovers know his verses by heart.

By now Khayyam's poetry has been translated and published by nine Georgian translators (excepting the word-for-word translation made by Justine Abuladze published in 1924). The story of Khayyam translations in Georgian is nearly a century old and covers several generations of translators. To translate his quatrains has become a touchstone for translators thereby intensifying the competition among them, resulting in sometimes vast numbers of different translations for each of Khayyam's quatrains. Techniques and principles used in the translations are diverse.

The structure of the quatrain coupled with its laconism creates complicated translation problems, which intensifies when a translator tries not to retrace rhythm and artistic means used by his predecessors.

In the present paper the techniques used in Georgian translations of Khayyam's poetry are considered and the reasons for the varied popularity of different translations are discussed.

 

Marta SIMIDCHIEVA
"Recasting Persian Peotry": FitzGerald's Rubayyat as a vehicle of modernity ?

Published for the first time 150 years ago, Edward Fitzgerald's translation of the Quatrains, attributed to the medieval Persian mathematician and philosopher Omar Khayyam, eventually acquired a cult following in the English-speaking world, and crossed linguistic barriers on its way to becoming and international cultural phenomenon in its own right. The fame of Fitzgerald's Rubayyat rests to a great extend on his masterful "renditions" of the texts, singled out by R.A. Nicholson as "the highest and rarest kind of translation," the type that-" rising above the letter, [catches] the elusive spirit of the original and [reproduces] it in a worthy form". Yet the unprecedented reception of the Rubayyat cannot be explained only by the felicitous combination of beautiful poetry and masterful translation. With Mikhail Bakhtin's ideas about the sociality of literary "utterances" in mind, the proposed paper seeks some of the reasons for the extraordinary resonance of Fitzgerald's Khayyamic quatrains in an era which saw the contemporaneous publication of Darwin's Origin of Species (1859), and undermined traditional attitudes to science, religion, and their role in society. Secondly, taking cue from Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak's analysis of the role of translation in the modern "recasting" of Persian poetry, it will test the hypothesis that concomitant interest of Western authors and artists in the "exotic" artifacts of the East had a similar function of "opening" the system to cultural change.

 

Adam TALIB
Getting away with poetry: Le Gallienne's Paraphrase and the limits of translation

My study is an examination of Richard Le Gallienne's 1897 paraphrase of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat and seeks to suggest a paradigm for evaluating translations that are, in fact, pseudo-translations. It is my claim that Le Gallienne's Rubaiyat is an original work of literature that represents an important accomplishment in his poetic career. In the introduction to his The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Le Gallienne admits to two very important circumstances of his translation, which he very prominently and forthrightly terms a "paraphrase" in the sub-title of his poem, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám: a Paraphrase of Several Literal Translations. Le Gallienne admits that he has little if any knowledge of the Persian language and that he based his paraphrase on the translations of Nicolas, Whinfield, and, chiefly, McCarthy. I compare Le Gallienne's paraphrase to these sources and show how he departs from his cribs. In fact, the contrast between Le Gallienne and McCarthy's strategies is exemplified by the dissimilar rhetorical and methodological styles of the introductions to their respective translations of the Rubaiyat.

This paper addresses the issues of reading translators as creative writers and of understanding the license afforded to late 19th and early 20th century poets when they assumed the guise of Orientals. A comparison between the Rubaiyat of Le Gallienne and those of Whinfield and McCarthy provides an example of an early bifurcation of strategies and standards between the realms of popular and academic translations. Le Gallienne wrote his Rubaiyat in the shadow of FitzGerald and in the midst of what Yohannan has called "the fin-de-siècle cult" of the Rubaiyat. Yet Le Gallienne's Rubaiyat is also one of the poet's creative works and one of a set of Persian-esques including his later paraphrase, "Odes from the Divan of Hafiz," and a long, original poem, "Omar Repentant." I demonstrate that Le Gallienne liberates his verse in the Rubaiyat because the figure of Omar Khayyam and the conceit of translation are conducive to doing so. I explain that Le Gallienne uses the figure of Khayyam much in the way other writers and poets have resorted to pseudonyms, citing the contemporary example of The Facts of Winter, a novel purported to be translated from a French original, but which in reality is the product of its "translator's" imagination, as an analog to Le Gallienne's situation.

When read in light of his own creative work, it is clear that Le Gallienne takes Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat, as it appeared in its various English and French translations, as a palimpsest or inspiration for his own creative effort. Le Gallienne's Rubaiyat, like FitzGerald's, is more profitably read as an original work rather than as a translation, and thus provokes questions: why Le Gallienne, the poet, chose to borrow the voice of Omar Khayyam and what influence these pseudo-translations have had on English literature, which we can begin to answer.