Mehdi Nakosteen’s translation of Oryan’s rubaiyyat is an approach rarely employed in poetic translation. The selections are adapted more to a literary than a literal form, which reflects the author’s concern in rendering the poet’s basic thoughts and sentiments. As a poetic form, the rubaiyyat is truly Persian in style and spirit.
Baba Tahir Oryan’s mysticism, philosophy, and sentiments are captured in quatrains of simple and uniform metre. Oryan, born in Hamadan, Iran, in the early eleventh century, was considered by his contemporaries as one of the most eminent, erudite mystics and sentimentalists of his time, a reputation he has held in the affection of his countrymen to the present day. Little is known of the circumstances of Oryan’s birth and death, and only his verses allowed his contemporaries and today’s readers to appreciate this thoughts and sentiments.
Nakosteen compares Oryan’s work with two other writers of rubaiyyat — Abu Said Abi’l Khayr and Omar Khayyam, and discusses the backgrounds of early Persian literature, language, and style.
The Persian calligraphy uses throughout this book was done by Dr. Nakosteen.