Vinni Marie D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.


This book tells of a modern poet's long struggle against "possession" by a Victorian poet/translator. It follows the course of T. S. Eliot's first intense acceptance of Edward FitzGerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam, his enduring conflict with the poet and the poem, and at last his release from them. In the main, it is a tale that reveals how the crises in this protracted struggle resulted in great treasure-that is, how some of the major poems of our century came to be.

Because the reputation of the Rubaiyat has lain at its nadir for some fifty years, the poem's impact on Eliot, or on anyone, has not seemed to be a probable subject for serious consideration. Its effect, however, was wider and deeper than any but the Persianists among us understand. Even near the end of its heyday, Eliot's friend and mentor, Ezra Pound, said that the Rubaiyat was "the only good poem of the time that has gone to the people" - and indeed it had, with a vengeance.


in Eliot Possessed: T.S. and FitzGerald's Ruyaiyat, Prologue, "The Possession," pg. 3

Selected Prose

Copyright © 2008 by Vinni Marie D'Ambrosio

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