(Philadelphia: David McKay Co., 1942). 248 x 174 mm. (9 5/8 x 6 3/4"). 101 (i.e., 120),  pp.Translated by Edward FitzGerald.
ATTRACTIVE CONTEMPORARY DARK BLUE CRUSHED MOROCCO, GILT, IN A PERSIAN DESIGN, covers with stippled strapwork lozenge centerpieces and cornerpieces worked with floral vines and stippling, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with lozenge or grapevine centerpiece, gilt titling, densely gilt turn-ins, patterned endpapers, top edge gilt. All pages with decorative frames, title page and preliminary leaves with panels of Persian design, and 20 full-page black & white illustrations by Willy Pogány. A hint of bowing to the binding, but a SPARKLING COPY inside and out, with no signs of wear.
This is an attractively bound and attractively illustrated edition of an enduring classic involving a Persian text, an English translator, a Hungarian illustrator, and an American bindery. The text 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. First published anonymously, this translation is the chief work of FitzGerald, whose great wealth permitted him to devote his entire adult life to literature, especially translating. The ethereal illustrations in black & white have a sculptural quality. They are the work of Hungarian artist Willy Pogány (1882-1955), who immigrated in 1914 to America, where he found success as an illustrator and set designer known particularly for his depictions of exotic locales and ancient times. In addition to illustrating such works as "The Arabian Nights" and "The Golden Fleece," Pogány designed sets for the Metropolitan Opera and Broadway productions. Our binding is not signed, but is identical in design and tooling to the bindings done by Maurin for other copies of this edition, differing only in the color of morocco used. Sales records document a number of fine morocco bindings done in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s by this bindery, which may have been located in the Northeastern United States. (ST15775)
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PJP Catalog: 76.106