A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Fitzgerald, Edward

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Fitzgerald, Edward (1809-1883). -- Translator and letter-writer, was b. near Woodbridge, Suffolk, s. of John Purcell, who took his wife's surname on the death of her f.. in 1818. He was ed. at Bury St. Edmunds and Camb. Thereafter he lived in retirement and study with his parents until 1838, when he took a neighbouring cottage. In 1856 he m. a dau. of Bernard Barton, the poet, from whom, however, he soon separated. Afterwards he lived at various places in the East of England, continuing his studies, with yachting for his chief recreation. By this time, however, he had become an author, having written a life of his father-in-law prefixed to his coll. poems (1849), Euphranor, a dialogue on youth (1851), and Polonius, a Collection of Wise Saws and Modern Instances (1852). Becoming interested in Spanish literature, he pub. translations of Six Dramas of Calderon. Thereafter turning his attention to Persian, he produced (1859), anonymously, his famous translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám. He also pub. translations of the Agamemnon of Æschylus, and the Œdipus Tyrannus and Œdipus Coloneus of Sophocles. In his translations F. aimed not so much at a mere literal reproduction of the sense of the original, as at reproducing its effect on the reader, and in this he was extraordinarily successful. In the department of letter-writing also he attained an excellence perhaps unequalled in his day.