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Intoxicating Rhymes & Sobering wine: The life and times of Khayyam


This educational documentary is about the life and times of Khayyam, the famed 11th-century Persian mathematician and astronomer.



Although today Khayyam is better known as a poet, during his lifetime he was known mainly for his achievements in the sciences and mathematics. The earliest references to his poetry come centuries after his death, when poetry attributed to him begins to appear in historical sources.


Khayyam achieved great fame as a poet after he was introduced to the Western world by Edward Fitzgerald, an English poet who anonymously published an English rendition of Khayyam's poetry titled "The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam" in 1859. The Rubaiyyat became a literary sensation, particularly in England and North America, and influenced and inspired many great literary minds of the Western world such as Ezra Pound, Mark Twain, and T.S. Eliot, to name a few.


Ironically, we have come to know Khayyam almost exclusively on the basis of the poetry attributed to him, the majority of which cannot be substantiated as his work.


Furthermore, our knowledge of the historical Khayyam is fragmentary. Each successive generation after Khayyam has made literal, metaphorical, and symbolic interpretations of his poetry and has reinvented Khayyam's image and message to fit and serve its own political and intellectual ambitions and aspirations.


Through interpretation of his poetry, Khayyam has been labeled a Sufi, mystic, atheist, nationalist, warrior, and devout orthodox Muslim, all in one breath. In the absence of more evidence, the historical Khayyam is a lost figure whose accurate reconstruction is unlikely.


It is astonishing that centuries after his death, we have not lost our fascination with Khayyam and his poetry. What motivates and drives our interest in him is as mystifying as the man himself.


This documentary reexamines Khayyam's life, work and poetry, and attempts to identify the reasons behind our intellectual preoccupation with his poetry and message.


Producer: Majeed Beenteha


Read more and watch the film trailer:

... Payvand News - 08/18/08 ... --

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