(London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1896). 210 x 152 mm. (8 1/4 x 6"). 2 p.l.,112 pp.
ESPECIALLY ELEGANT OLIVE BROWN MOROCCO, LAVISHLY GILT, BY ZAEHNSDORF (signed on front turn-in and with the stamped oval, normally marking the firm's best work, on the rear pastedown), covers elaborately gilt with border of multiple fillets, cresting wave roll, and lily cornerpieces enclosing a center panel with an all-over profusion of flowers, leaves, and tendrils on four vertically scrolling vines, raised bands, foliate spray compartments, with tendrils rising alternately either to the right or the left, fine gilt floral and foliate inner dentelles, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, other EDGES UNTRIMMED AND UNOPENED. Isolated trivial wear to extremities, but A VERY FINE COPY IN AN ESPECIALLY PLEASING BINDING.
This never-read copy of the most popular English poem of the 19th century comes in a binding luxuriant with flowers, transporting the reader to an exotic Persian garden before the book is even opened. The text here is FitzGerald's lush and lilting translation of the celebrated 11th century classic collection of evocative short verses, tinged with a sense of the vanity of all things. A work that appealed strongly to Victorian sensibilities, the "Rubáiyát," first printed anonymously in 1859, became immensely popular and went through a great many editions. According to DNB, FitzGerald (1809-83) loosely translated about half of the 11th century original, and wrote additional verse inspired by Omar. "The result is generally seen as being in some ways an original English poem, one that is much better known than Omar's poem is in Persian." (DNB). (ST17640-015)
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PJP Catalog: NY22BF.077