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Folio Society Published Works Number 2063

Fitzgerald, Edward - The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Limited Edition

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Fitzgerald, Edward - The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Limited Edition (Published in by The Folio Society in 2009. Limited to 1,000 copies. Vellum quarter-binding, spine blocked in 22-carat gold, vellum tips. New etching hand-printed, signed and numbered by the artist, and tipped onto a special limitation spread. Front board blocked in three shades of foil with a design by Niroot Puttapipat. Limitation page and endpapers printed letterpress by the Logan Press. 16 plates printed in colour with gold borders and highlights and tipped into decorative borders. Introductions by A. S. Byatt and Edward FitzGerald. Quatrains set in 24-point Caslon, Gilded top edge, ribbon marker. 220 pages. Book size: 13" x 9¾". Presented in a cloth-bound solander box. A collector's edition celebrating the 150th anniversary of its publication. Limited to 1,000 copies. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám holds a unique place in English literature. A sensation of the Victorian age, it remains, a century and a half after publication, one of the best-loved poems in the language. With its exotic themes and its blend of melancholy and romance, it has seduced readers and inspired artists. Now The Folio Society celebrates the poem's 150th anniversary with this magnificent collector's edition, illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám was born of the encounter of two minds across seven centuries, when the reclusive scholar Edward FitzGerald translated a set of rubáiyái or quatrains attributed to the 12th-century Persian poet, Omar Khayyám. Each quatrain is a meditation on the fleeting nature of life. Man is compared, variously, to a bubble poured out with wine, a piece on a chess board, or a clay pot created by a careless maker. Filled with the lush opulence and romance of the East, the Rubáiyát advocated the pleasures of earthly life – wine, love, song – over the uncertain promise of heaven. Published anonymously, the Rubáiyát at first languished on a penny bookstall, before it was discovered by Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and the rest of the Pre- Raphaelite circle. It became a poetic phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic, with devotees including Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle, and Omar Khayyám clubs flourished throughout Britain and America. The poem's growing fame coincided with new developments in colour printing, and it proved a source of great inspiration to artists, illustrators and publishers – the most expensive book binding ever created (over 1,000 precious stones were set into the leather) was for a single-volume edition of the Rubáiyát. The reclusive FitzGerald, who rarely left his native Suffolk, would have been astonished at the impact of his poem on such a range of readers, writers and artists, an impact that is still felt today. This limited edition has been exquisitely illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat, one of the most gifted young illustrators working today. His affinity with the late Victorian period and his lyrical, almost dreamlike style make him the perfect artist for the Rubáiyát. The images he has created are beautifully detailed, rich in texture, capturing the opulence of the poem, filled with the rich lapis blue and gold decoration that is such a feature of Eastern art. )

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