IBNA- Collas Publishing has released a new French translation of ‘Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’ in 96 pages translated by the author and translator Patrick Reumaux.
Omar Khayyam, a 12th-century Persian poet, is one of the most famous scholars of his time. This polymath, whose life is shrouded in mysteries, was a also mathematician, astronomer and philosopher. But he is best known for a collection of quatrains ‘Rubaiyat’, which were not published during his lifetime due to the fanaticism of the time.
These quatrains are the work of a great poet whose inspiration is surprisingly modern and avant-garde. Endlessly, Omar Khayyâm calls for the enjoyment and forgetting of everything except the moment, long before what we find in the poems of Charles Baudelaire.
Reumaux who was born in January 1942 in El Biar (then part of Algiers) in French Algeria has translated the work of Irish writers Flann O'Brien and Sheridan Le Fanu. Among his other translations are the works of writers John Updike, Llewelyn Powys and John Cowper Powys, as well as poets Edgar Lee Masters, Dylan Thomas, Emily Dickinson and the Sicilian poet Salvatore Quasimodo.
The first French translation, of 464 quatrains in prose, was made by J. B. Nicolas, chief interpreter at the French embassy in Iran in 1867.
The best-known version in French is the free verse edition by Franz Toussaint (1879–1955) published in 1924. This translation consisting of 170 quatrains was done from the original Persian text, while most of the other French translations were themselves translations of FitzGerald's work.
The Éditions d'art Henri Piazza published the book almost unchanged between 1924 and 1979. Toussaint's translation has served as the basis of subsequent translations into other languages, but Toussaint did not live to witness the influence his translation has had.