[OMAR KHAYYAM (d. c.1123). The Rubaiyat. Translated by Edward Fitzgerald. Paris: Roger Lescaret for The Black Sun Press, [?]1930]. 2 proof sheets printed on japon:
(i) 54 x 115mm, 8° format, forming a leaf 27 x 29mm, printed on the recto only in black, bearing quatrains IX, XII, XIII, XVI, XVII, XX, XXI and XXIV. (Folded to format.)
(ii) 54 x 115mm, 8° format, forming a leaf 27 x 29mm, printed on recto and verso, the text in black within red borders, bearing quatrains XLI, XLII, XLIII, XLIV, XLV, XLVI, XLVII, XLVIII, XLIX, L, LI, LII, LIII, LIV, LV, and LVI.
PROOF SHEETS OF ONE OF THE RAREST BLACK SUN PRESS BOOKS. Fitzgerald's translation of The Rubaiyat had long been one of Harry Crosby's favourite books, since he was introduced to it by his Boston friend Tote Fearing, whereupon it 'joined the Bible in Harry's literary pantheon, and continued among his touchstones throughout his life. Omar's epigrammatic quatrains--passionate and direct, expressive of the kind of pessimistic fatalism that young men use to justify their self-indulgence--seeped into Harry's fancy and soon began to control his character' (G. Woolf Black Sun, p.30).
The Black Sun Press Rubaiyat is one of the scarcest works published by the press; although the colophon states that it was issued in an edition of 44 copies on japon, few seem to have survived. Bondy describes it as 'extremely rare', while Minkoff was only able to trace proof sheets (at Southern Illinois University), and states that 'No complete copy of this work has been seen'; only one copy of the title is recorded at auction by ABPC since 1975. The work appears to have been some time in preparation, perhaps due to the technical difficulties posed by a miniature book; Minkoff and Published in Paris date the work to 1929 (although the former only describes the proof sheets), while Bondy dates it to 1930; the copy at Brown University is dated on the title 1930 and inscribed as a gift 'Xmas, 1930' but dated on the colophon January 1931 (call no. PK6513.A1 1930a). Cf. Bondy Miniature Books p.180; cf. Minkoff A26; cf. Published in Paris p.408. (2)