Near Eastern Languages & Cultures
| N492 The Ruba'i--Omar and Beyond (3cr/3cr)
N492 | 3030 | Losensky
N492/N692 The Ruba'i--Omar and Beyond (3cr)
Time and Day: 2:30p-3:45p TR
Prof. Paul Losensky
For most readers in the western world, Persian literature can be reduced to one name--Omar
Khayyam. Through FitzGerald's translation, the Ruba'iyat have become as much a part of world
as of Persian literature. Khayyam's quatrains, however, are only one aspect of this multi-faceted
genre. Ruba'iyat not only encapsulate sage wisdom, but also decorate medieval ceramics and
buildings, punctuate polite conversation, and enliven prose biographies and histories. In this
course, we will explore the nature and uses of this remarkably versatile and socially useful
literary form. Although the course will center on the close reading of Persian texts (both poetry
and prose), we will also read and discuss a generous sampling of the secondary literature in both
Persian and English. Among the topics we will consider are: the epigrammatic structure of the
ruba'i, its history and development, thematic anthologies of ruba'i, the impact of FitzGerald's
rendition on European literature and the light it sheds on translation theory, and the social and
performative uses of the genre.
Intermediate to advanced knowledge of written Persian.
Active and regular participation in class discussions.
Translation exercises (three to four).
Final term paper.
Reading packet (available at Mr. copy)
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward FitzGerald (first and fifth editions, Dover Thrift