Ruby: A Contemporary Re-interpretation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

  • Michael Zand Ahanchian

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study is a practice-based creative writing project with an accompanying thesis. It consists of Ruby, a work of poetry and prose, along with a thesis that seeks to contextualise it within literary poetics. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is the creative point of origin of Ruby. It is not a translation of The Rubaiyat in the traditional sense but rather a re-interpretation of the earlier text. Whilst Ruby heavily references The Rubaiyat in terms of content and narrative structure, it is an original piece of work set in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Ruby is strongly influenced by contemporary British and American poetry, and the references for the poem have partly been shifted to modern-day Britain. I have included a range of recognisable forms of “conventional” poetry, including quatrains, sonnets and haiku. However, there is also creative re-working and development using a variety of more experimental methods, through original poetic compositions, the use of “found material” (i.e. texts and images from other sources carefully placed for poetic effect) and via word montage. The result is a hybrid piece of work, which incorporates a variety of textual and visual forms. The thesis is divided into four chapters: the first is an introduction to the nature and aims of Ruby, and an overview of how it fits with other current research activity in the field of “poetic translation.” The second chapter explicates the format and structure of the creative piece, particularly its visual layout. The third chapter contains the text itself and a detailed critical commentary, which explores specific allusions in the text and how they connect the work to broader literary themes. The final chapter is a conclusion, exploring the implications of the poetics of Ruby to the subsequent treatment of re-interpretative translations of this kind.
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorPeter Jaeger (Supervisor) & Jeff Hilson (Supervisor)

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