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I first read Edward Fitzgerald’s celebrated, if controversial, version of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat when I happened upon it in my father’s extensive library when I was a sophomore at Notre Dame High School. I have since read it countless times, even purchasing over 10 different editions of the widely-read poem, which is arguably the most famous Persian literary work in the world.
While there is much debate about Omar Khayyam’s philosophical outlook (is his message Sufi-oriented or existentially hedonistic?), there is no doubting its beauty and its profundity of thought.