The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: the fifth edition of the translation into English by Edward Fitzgerald with his introduction and notes. One hundred and seventy-nine quatrains in Persian, translated into French by J. B. Nicolas.
Having read several other editions of the Rubáiyát, this is the first time I've read one with FitzGerald's foreword and his notes, which added much to the experience this time around.I was not previously aware of the debate regarding the possibility of reading Khayyám's frequent references to wine as literal (how I'd previously read it) or as a metaphor for divinity. Interestingly, having introduced me to the debate, FitzGerald comes down firmly on the literalist side. Nevertheless, I've enjoyed reading this one with the metaphor in mind and it will inform future readings. I understand FitzGerald's position, though, as not all of the stanzas lend themselves to a mystical rendition, however that could be due either to his translation or my own lack of spiritual knowledge.However that may be, this remains my favourite book of poetry (admittedly out of a relatively limited exposure to verse).