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The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Omar Khayyám , Edward FitzGerald
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

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Fresh translation, good production. Many color illustration. a delightful edition of a world classic

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Poème légendaire 10 février 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
J'ai pensé à lire ce poème mythique depuis longtemps, et la possibilité de l'avoir tout de suite en déchergement m'a paru une excellente idée. Après lecture partielle (c'est bien longue!) j'en suis très content.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  111 commentaires
128 internautes sur 136 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Omar and the Spice Girls 27 janvier 2004
Par Boris Bangemann - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
"The Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam" translated by Peter Avery and John Heath-Stubbs is available in two Penguin editions. This edition (ISBN 01400595447) comes in a larger format with 32 beautiful colored illustrations of Persian miniature paintings from the 16th and 17th century, and an essay on the history of the miniatures that points out the influence of Chinese painting on Persian graphic arts (an interesting subject in itself). The other edition is the Penguin Classics edition (ISBN 0140443843), which is identical to this edition but lacks the illustrations and the essay on Persian graphic arts. The illustrated, larger sized edition is definitely worth the slightly higher price, in my opinion.
A reader who is familiar with FitzGerald's classic "re-creation" - "translation" is a term that is too weak in this context - will be surprised at the defiant materialism of Omar Khayyam's quatrains in Avery's literal translation stripped of the poetic spark of FitzGerald's work.
For example, while the Victorian gentleman Edward FitzGerald chose to translate Omar Khayyam's praise of simple joys and poetry in his famous "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!", Peter Avery gives us not only a more literal translation (#98) but also a much more worldly (and spicy) version of the same theme:
If chance supplied a loaf of white bread,
Two casks of wine and a leg of mutton,
In the corner of a garden with a tulip-cheeked girl
There'd be enjoyment no Sultan could outdo. (#234)
In his introduction, Peter Avery points out that the ruba'i (quatrain) was the favorite verse form among intellectuals, "those philosophers and mystics in eleventh- and twelfth-century Persia who were in some degree non-conformists opposed to religious fanatism, so that they have often been called Islam's free-thinkers." And a free-thinker Omar Khayyam was. He did not believe in the cardinal Muslim tenet of the resurrection of the body after death, and he suggested that drinking wine was better than worrying about abstruse religious theories and dogmas. In an instance that must have been particularly enraging for orthodox Muslims he turned the argument for future rewards in paradise on its head by thinking it through to its logical end:
They promise there will be Paradise and the houri-eyed,
Where clear wine and honey will flow:
Should we prefer wine and a lover, what's the harm?
Are not these the final recompense? (#88)
(the "houri-eyed" are beautiful girls, by the way)
In another slyly funny (and self-critical) quatrain, Omar Khayyam pushes his skepticism and blunt honesty even further:
A religious man said to a whore, "You're drunk,
Caught every moment in a different snare."
She replied, "Oh Shaikh, I am what you say,
Are you what you seem?"(#86)
Peter Avery's translations stress the worldly, materialistic side of Omar Khayyam, which is rooted in his conviction that nothing lasts but the joys experienced in the present moment. What I missed in Peter Avery's translations, though, was the joy Omar Khayyam must have felt when he created a new quatrain to remind himself to seize the day, to change his state of mind (that's a polite way of describing "to get drunk") or just to invent a polished metaphor or rhyme. FitzGerald captured this redeeming poetic beauty of Omar Khayyam's work so well that his rendition of the Rubaiyat remains a benchmark true to the spirit if not the letter of the Persian poet:
And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop'd we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help - for It
As impotently moves as you or I.
(while Avery translates with the intention "to give as literal an English version of the Persian originals as readability and intelligibility permit":)
The good and evil that are in man's heart,
The joy and sorrow that are our fortune and destiny,
Do not impute them to the wheel of heaven because, in the light of reason,
The wheel is a thousand times more helpless than you. (#34)
Buy this edition for the invaluable introduction, for the contrast to FitzGerald's rendition, and quite simply to get a feeling for Omar Khayyam's blunt honesty; but do buy a book with FitzGerald's version, preferably the out-of-print edition with English novelist A.S. Byatt's introduction ("Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam", ASIN 0965231240).
And lest anyone should think Omar Khayyam was only a frivolous, inebriated hedonist, here are two of my favorite quatrains from Peter Avery's and John Heath-Stubbs's book:
If the heart could grasp the meaning of life,
In death it would know the mystery of God;
Today when you are in possession of yourself, you know nothing.
Tomorrow when you leave yourself behind, what will you know? (#5)
It is we who are the source of our own happiness, the mine of our own sorrow,
The repository of justice and foundation of iniquity;
We who are cast down and exalted, perfect and defective,
At once the rusted mirror and Jamshid's all-seeing cup. (#211)
(Avery explains that to the Persian culture hero Jamshid or Jam was attributed a magic cup in which he could see time past, present and future and all the world, and by which like Joseph with his silver cup, he could divine (Genesis xliv, 4-5).)
31 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful, I would recommend it to anyone! 3 septembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I first read this work of art a month ago, and many times after that. My parents were surprised that I, being 14 years of age, liked it, although I think anyone with a bit of an understanding towards life would enjoy it. Being Persian myslef, and knowledgable towards the history of Omar Khayyam and his time,I read this book in Persian, English and French. Although I think that without doubt anyone who is able to should read the Persian edition, the English translation did not lose the touch and certain charm of the works. Don't underestimate your children either. I mean hey, give it a shot, they might like it!
37 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Better a live sparrow than a stuffed eagle 7 juin 2010
Par C. E. Stevens - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
It is somewhat ironic (one might say "tragic") that Amazon chooses to lump reviews of multiple translations into each version of a book; in the case of the Rubaiyat, the two prevailing translations--FitzGerald's, and Avery and Heath-Stubbs'--could not be more different. As a general reader not terribly knowledgeable about Persian literature, I struggled before deciding on which version to read; influenced by the leading reviewer on this page, I read the FitzGerald version with illustrations by Dulac and the introduction by Byatt.

As a reader and occasional translator of a foreign language myself (although Japanese, not Persian) I was hesitant to read a version (one hesitates to call it a "translation") this old and this famously derided for its looseness with the original work by Omar Khayyam. And yet after comparing the two translations, I am glad that I read FitzGerald, for two main reasons.

First, true to his intention, FitzGerald accentuated the spirit of the original over the literal translation/transliteration of the original. The delightful impishness of Khayyam and the melancholy ephemerality of his Rubaiyat is wonderfully captured. FitzGerald made this artistic choice consciously, stating that "better a live sparrow than a stuffed eagle" ... although this modesty downplays the beautiful lyricism and Victorian elegance of his version.

Second, for better or for worse, this is the version that most captivated--and influenced--the world outside of Persia, including writers from Browning and Tennyson to O. Henry and Borges to Agatha Christie and Stephen King. Even the person who has not heard of Khayyam or the Rubaiyat and could not even locate Iran on a map has heard of "a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou". It is hardly an overstatement to credit FitzGerald for this.

That said, I completely sympathize with those who view FitzGerald as an unfaithful artist unworthy of the title 'translator' and who view his version of the Rubaiyat as an abomination. Indeed, it is advisable to read his version in concert with a more faithful translation such as Avery and Heath-Stubbs'. That said, for the general reader with an open mind, FitzGerald's version is more likely to be the more captivating, the more likely to tickle the imagination and captivate the spirit. Warts and all, FitzGerald's "live sparrow" has survived the generations for a reason.
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Translating Khayyum 6 juin 2002
Par M. Homayun - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Many people accuse the Fitzgerald translation of deviating too much from the Persian original. Personally, I don't like to see poetry translated from one language to another in verse either, because I will always feel that something has been missed.
However, if it is not translated in verse, then it is no longer has the quality of the original poetry. So what shall we do here?
I think that Fitzgerald has done an excellent job in translating Khayyum. It is said that good poetry has a balance of two things - beautiful language and meaning. Ftizgerald has achieved this.
If you are looking for a more "literal" translation, to get exactly what Khayyum said and thought, then you are better to look to a word for word, unrhyming translation, that has taken care to keep the authentic quatrains only - not all the ones ascribed to him. The "Persian Heritage Series" has produced a good translation like this.
Also beware of "commentaries" telling you that Omar Khayyum was a sufi, mystic, or whatever... and that his verses have special meanings outside of the literal interpretation. It is true that poets in Persia used such imagery as "may" (wine), "maykhana" (tavern), "saqi" (cup-bearer), "yar-e nazanin" (lovely maiden) etc. etc. to bring across meanings of God, and heaven, though this doesn't mean that these things are always implied.
One of the qualities of poetry is that it is ambiguous. It must be recognised that people like Omar Khayyum and Hafez were living in times of religious persecution. If you said something against the established sect, then you could be accused of "kufr" (blasphemy) and punished accordingly. Khayyum himself was accused of kufr, as was Hafez in his time through a line of poetry he had written. Hafez protected himself through the ingenious adding of another line of poetry, clearing his name. Khayyum protected himself because he was a guest at the royal court.
:)
16 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 the various translations are very different 16 novembre 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
One should be wary when purchasing or reading a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The various translations are VERY different. They are based on different original manuscripts, which do not contain exactly the same material. The FitzGerald translation is much more of an interpretation of Khayyam than a translation, although it is a wonderful piece of work in and of itself, it is victorian baroque romanticism not Sufism. From my own personal experience (I've read much of three of the translations, the ones by FitzGerald in the 1850s, by a professor from Cambridge made in the mid 1900s, and by Robert Graves in the 1960s) I would suggest that you go with the most modern translation (which is no longer the translation by Graves). The Graves translation definately is a work of both deep philosophical ideas and of beautiful poetry.
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