(London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1897). 197 x 140 mm. (7 3/4 x 5 1/2"). 2 p.l., 112 pp.Translated by Edward FitzGerald.
CONTEMPORARY ELEGANT AND ANIMATED GREEN MOROCCO, GILT AND ONLAID, IN A PERSIAN DESIGN, each cover with a frame containing 16 onlaid red morocco paisley forms decorated with gilt flowers, sinuous floral cornerpieces, gilt-diapered central panel (each diamond-shaped compartment containing the same floral centerpiece tool); flat spine bordered by plain gilt rule, vertical titling accented with small tools, CRIMSON MOROCCO DOUBLURES with eight green onlaid morocco paisley forms, leather hinges, crimson watered silk endleaves, all edges gilt (paper at hinge between two preliminary leaves renewed). In a suede-lined brown morocco fitted pull-off case. Spine mellowed to an olive brown, BUT A LOVELY VOLUME IN VERY FINE CONDITION, the extremely pretty binding lustrous and virtually unworn, and the text with only the most trivial imperfections.
It is both astonishing and a shame that the talented binder of this edition of the "Rubaiyàt" did not sign his or her name in some way, because the work here is beautifully designed and executed. Whoever our anonymous binder may be, the artisan was obviously familiar with Persian motifs, choosing the ancient design called "boteh jegheh" in Persian and "paisley" in the West as a prominent element. The binding is, thus, an excellent match for this poem by the "Astronomer-Poet of Persia," offered here in FitzGerald's enduringly popular translation, which is an uncertain but beautiful amalgam of the Medieval and the 19th century. Although we know that Omar Khayyám was an 11th century astrologer and mathematician, we are less certain about his poetic accomplishments, and very unsure if the text here was his work. What we do know is that the poetry is early, that it may have been Omar's, that it was translated into English in 1859 by Edward FitzGerald (1809-83), and that this lush and evocative translation has become a widely acclaimed work whose popularity has endured to the present day. (ST15557-10)