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In nineteen short, fast-paced chapters, with handsome illustrations based on classic paintings from the Rubaiyat, the
novella focuses on the eventual betrothal of Adma, the ugly, unmarried elder daughter of Ibrahim Jafet, a morally righteous virgin who has made the life of her despondent but morally irresponsible father a living hell since the death of his wife.
Significantly, after Rossetti's discovery in 1861 of FitzGerald's hitherto neglected Rubaiyat, the
frequency of exercitive speech acts in his poetry increases.
But in the case of the Rubaiyat, the
uneasiness that readers may feel when faced with any literary collaboration is greatly increased by the fact that one side of the collaboration is opaque.
Together with other manifestations of the aesthetic of accident in the Rubaiyat, the
"Kuza-nama" signals how important that aesthetic was to FitzGerald's creation of the poem, how fundamentally it informs the spirit and intention of his rendering of Khayyam.
This bedrock realist vision of fatal continuity lets metonymy sponsor the most extended passage of allegorical writing in the Rubaiyat, the
so-called "Kuza-Nama" section (1859, LIX-LXVI: the name, omitted in later editions, means "writing about jugs").
Arberry in his excellent The Romance of the Rubaiyat, the
first book fully to exploit FitzGerald's letters to Edward Cowell, which are reprinted more or less in their entirety.