Who was Edward Fitzgerald?
Edward Fitzgerald was a Victorian translator
chiefly remembered for "The Rubyiat of Omar Kayyam".
Date and Place of Birth:
31st March 1809, Bredfield House, Near Woodbridge,
Suffolk, England. He was christened Edward Purcell.
Fitzgerald was the third son of John Purcell
who, in 1818, took his wife's name and Coat of Arms on the death
of her father.
King Edward the Sixth Grammar School, Bury St.
Edmunds, Suffolk. Trinity College, Cambridge. Met his lifelong friend
William Makepeace Thackeray and also
Thomas Carlyle and Alfred
Lord Tennyson. Although he knew people from the Apostle's Group
such as Tennyson he was never invited to join them formally.
Chronology/Biography of Edward Fitzgerald:
1816: The family
moved to Paris, France.
1818: The family
returned to England and changed their surname from Purcell to Fitzgerald
which was Fitzgerald's mother's maiden name. She had just come into
a family fortune on the death of her father who was one of the wealthiest
men in England.
1826: Edward Fitzgerald
went up to Cambridge University.
1830: Went to Paris.
1831: He returned
1835: Edward Fitzgerald
moves to Boulge, near Woodbridge in Suffolk.
to Persian literature by his new friend Edward Cowell.
1850: He began studying
1853: Cowell goes
up to Oxford University. Fitzgerald now devoted his time to oriental
1856: Cowell discovers
a manuscript of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in the Bodleian Library,
Oxford known as the Ouseley manuscript which dates from 1460. Cowell
goes to India to become Professor of History at the new Presidency
College in Calcutta. He then moves on to be Principal at the Sanscrit
college He finds another copy of the manuscript in the Asiatic Society
Library in Calcutta. Publication of his anonymous version in Miltonic
verse of "Salaman and Absal of Jami" .
receives a copy of the Indian manuscript.
1859: He publishes
a anonymous copy of his translation of the "Rubaiyat of Omar
1860: The "Rubaiyat"
was discovered by D.G. Rosetti and Algernon
Swinburne and became a tremendous and influential success. Fitzgerald
moved with his family to Farlingay Hall.
1863: He develops
a love for the sea and buys a yacht called "The Scandal".
1867: Edward Fitzgerald
becomes joint owner of a Herring Boat "Meum and Tuum".
Cowell returns to England to become Professor of Sanscrit at Cambridge
published the second version of "The Rubaiyat", still
choosing to remain anonymous.
of the Third Edition of "The Rubaiyat".
1873: Moved back
of the fourth Edition of "The Rubaiyat".
dedicates his work "Tiresias" to Fitzgerald.
(1889): The Fifth
Edition is published posthumously.
of Fitzgerald's letters to Fanny Kemble.
- 1851: "Euphranor:
A Dialogue of Youth".
- 1852: "Polonius:
A Collection of Wise Saws and Modern Instances.
- 1853: "Six
Dramas of Pedro Caulderon" (Translations from the Spanish).
- 1859: "The
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam". (Translation form the Persian).
- 1882: "Readings
FitzGerald marries Lucy Barton in Chichester
on 4 November 1856. She was the daughter of the poet Bernard Bartonon
and he had pledged to look after her. They are separated in August
1857 due to being totally incompatible.
Date and Place of Death:
14th July 1883 in his sleep at the Old Rectory,
Merton, Norfolk, England. He was on a visit to see his friend George
Crabbe the grandson of the poet.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
St. Michaelís Church, Boulge, Suffolk.
England. A cutting from a rose bush from the tomb of Omar Khayyam
at Nishapur in Iran was planted on Fitzgerald's grave in 1893.
Places of Interest:
Woodbridge Museum, 5a Market Hill, Woodbridge,
Suffolk, IP12 4LP.