Harrassowitz Verlag, 2023,
First Edition. octavo, cloth in dust jackets, in slipcase. 1,184 pp. total. Harrassowitz Verlag, Item #33167
This catalog of an unparalleled private collection of Rubáiyát-related books and materials describes more than 7,000 items and includes color illustrations of over 2,000 book covers. Edward FitzGerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám - first published anonymously in 1859 - was by the early 20th century the most popular literary work in the English language. Only the Bible was printed more frequently. The Rubáiyát became such an integral part of the very fabric of English-speaking culture that by 1900 people were speaking generally of a veritable Omar cult.
Over the years more than 400 publishers on both sides of the Atlantic have issued thousands of editions/printings of the Rubáiyát. During the heyday of interest in the early decades of the 20th century, some publishers issued more than 20 different printings in a variety of editions in a single year. Many of these books were finely printed as limited editions and were often illustrated by leading artists of the time, such as Elihu Vedder, Edmund Dulac, and Willy Pogány. In addition to printings of FitzGerald's work, translations, parodies, and scholarly studies appeared, as well as a wide range of fascinating Omariana (novels, calendars, postcards, cartoons, musical works, cigarettes, jewelry, etc.). Included in the collection are many unique items, and only a very small number of the books described are presently held in public institutions. Very fine.