11. Another aspect of the investigation that makes little sense.
“It’s difficult for us to understand today (2009) just how important a part of Victorian and even Modernist literature this (Fitzgerald) translation was. It is a remarkable example of how the literary canon changes over time,” said Molly Schwartzburg, the Ransom Center’s curator of British and American literature and co-curator of the The Persian Sensation: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in the West exhibition.”
Detective Sergeant Leane could only have been of the opinion that nobody, nation-wide, would recognise the two words ‘Tamam Shud’ as belonging to the Rubiayat.
“By 1919, 447 editions of FitzGerald’s translation had been published. By 2007, a total of 1330 versions of the “Rubáiyát” had been published in the West, FitzGerald and other translators included. Into the 1950s, the poem was so widely quoted that more than half of the “Rubáiyát” appeared in “Bartlett’s Quotations” and “The Oxford Book of Quotations.” Molly Schwartzburg.
Cleland gave Leane the slip in April.
Leane gave it to the press in June.
“During the first decades of the 20th century, the ‘Rubáiyát’ made its way into nearly every facet of people’s lives,” said Michelle Kaiserlian, co-curator of the exhibition and “Rubáiyát” scholar.
Adelaide in 1949 was home to about four hundred thousand including men and women from all nations, Persia included, yet Leane decided none of them would recognise where the words Tamam Shud originated.
“The Harry Ransom Center’s exhibition “The Persian Sensation: The ‘Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ in the West” explores how a translation of a Persian poem went from obscurity to celebrity in British and American culture.“