Traces T.S. Eliot's first discovery of Edward Fitzgerald's "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" and its subsequent influence on his poetry - his first reading of the work was, he later said, "like a sudden conversion; the world appeared anew, painted with bright, delicious and painful colours".
Eliot Possessed: T.S.Eliot and Fitzgerald's "Rubaiyat" by Vinnie-Marie D'Ambrosio
At first glance few literary lineages might seem less likely than one connecting the foremost experimental poet of the 20th century to Victorian poet/translator Edward FitzGerald's "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam". But the controversy surrounding the life and work of FitzGerald was approaching its peak around the time a young and intellectually fervid Thomas Stearns Eliot first found the "Rubaiyat" "lying about", and his exposure to it resulted in a profound inward change. Years later Eliot observed in his Norton lectures that the effect of his first reading of the work was "like a sudden conversion - the world appeared anew, painted with bright, delicious and painful colours". "Eliot Possessed" reminds us of this important lineage.
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