The Obscure Legacies of Khayyamian Poetry and Mathematics
Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
The Ohio State University
Ever since the nineteenth century English poet Edward Fitzgerald produced a small booklet of translation of the Ruba’iayyat, Khayyam’s name was almost instantaneously elevated on a par with the giants of Classical Persian poetry. By our time Khayyam’s name enjoys wide spread recognition as a brilliant poet who produced The Quatrains, overshadowing his legacy as a brilliant mathematician and philosopher. There are many problematic points with both scholarly and public perception of Umar Khayyam’s life and career, ranging from the inconsistent and scattered reception of both the Khayyamian poetry as well as mathematics, to the reconciliation between a poetic ad a scholarly persona. Many basic aspects of Khayyam’s life or career remain obscured or contested, for a variety of reasons. In this talk, I will present a historical investigation into the circumstances of Khayyam’s life and career, based on the extant evidence from a variety of sources, to put the two seemingly divergent personae in context, and seek answers to questions regarding his mathematical and literary legacy.
Winner of Yale University’s 2014 Frederick W. Hilles Memorial Award, Hadi Jorati is Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the Ohio State University, and a Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. Jorati received his first PhD in Mathematics at Princeton University, and served on the faculty of University of British Columbia until 2008. He earned his second doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and History from Yale University under supervision of Dimitri Gutas. Dr. Jorati specializes in the social and intellectual history of Islamic societies. The focus of his research is the world of Medieval Islam, with occasional forays into the Late Antique or Pre-modern periods. Broadly, his research is concerned with the interaction between scholar and society: education, institutions of learning, scholarly circles, scholarly correspondence, movement of scholars, and court patronage. His most recent projects include a monograph focusing on the career of the 13th century Scholar Nasir al-Din Tusi, as well as a textual and philological critique of the historiographical corpus of the Ilkhanid period.