"A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou, Beside me, singing in the Wilderness," is only one of the memorable verses from Edward FitzGerald's translations of poems by the 11th-century Persian sage Omar Khayyam. This magnificent version of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam reproduces the edition published by Hodder & Stoughton of London in 1909, in which the timeless poems are accompanied by full-color images by Golden Age illustrator Edmund Dulac. Critics and collectors have long debated which book represents the peak of Dulac's career, and many agree that his affinity for Persian art makes this gloriously illustrated volume a strong contender.
French-born artist Edmund Dulac (1882-1953) achieved prominence during the Golden Age of Illustration. His work encompasses a wide variety of themes and styles, although he preferred to work in watercolors and remains best known for his imaginative illustrations for fairy tales and other children's books. Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) was among the Middle Ages' most influential thinkers. Scholar, astronomer, mathematician, and poet, the Persian philosopher wrote one of the most important pre-modern treatises on algebra but is best remembered for his poetry. Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883) was a scion of one of Great Britain's wealthiest families who devoted himself to Oriental studies. His translation of Khayyam's verse, published anonymously in 1859, initially received little attention but gradually achieved enormous popularity and influence.