Edward FitzGgerald born 31 March 1809 (d. 1883)
Edward Marlborough FitzGerald was an English writer, best known as the poet of the first and most famous English translation of Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.
Edward FitzGerald was born near Woodbridge, Suffolk. He was one of eight children and his parents owned a number of estates in England and Ireland. He was educated at the King Edward VI Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge.
He spent most of his life in Suffolk where he lived the life of a country gentleman rarely travelling, except to London. He lived for sixteen years on his family estate at Boulge and spent the remainder of his life in Woodbridge.
In 1850 he married the daughter of the poet Bernard Barton whose biography he had penned previously. The marriage appears to have been an 'unhappy' one and they separated after only a few months. After learning Spanish privately he produced blank-verse translations of six poems by Calderon (1853). His developing fascination with Persian poetry led him to translate a series of works. Salaman and Absal, an allegory by Kami was published anonymously in 1856 followed in 1859 by his most celebrated work, translations from the Rubaiyat.
His warm personality and sophisticated wit earned him the friendship of many great writers including William Thackery, Alfred Tennyson and Thomas Carlyle. Tennyson was to dedicate his poem Tiresias to Fitzgerald. He left a legacy of delightful letters, bursting with anecdotes concerning his literary acquaintances, which were edited and published after his death.
FitzGerald's homosexuality has been well-known since at least 1970, when H Montgomery Hyde published The Love That Dared Not Speak Its Name. An entire book documenting FitzGerald's passionate affair with a fisherman named Joseph Fletcher was published in 1908 (James Blyth, Edward FitzGerald and Posh). He was previously enamored, at 23, of a teenage youth named Kenworthy Browne, whose tragic early death while riding left Fitzgerald heartbroken. FitzGerald became a dedicated sailor, and his later years were passed among various fishermen and friends along the coast. It has to be admitted however that there remains some doubt as to whether FitzGerald's intense love for his various male friends ever found physical expression.
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