Immensely popular in the 1940s and 50s, the eleventh-century Persian poetry cycle The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám – in French Les Robaïyat – harks back to a romantic time of peace and beauty when all that mattered were the simple things of life.

The Rubáiyát was never as popular in France as it was in the English-speaking world, where passages from Edward FitzGerald’s 1859 verse translation were on many people’s lips. Author Franz Toussaint’s 1924 French prose translation, used in this edition, is quite adequate, though does not trip off the tongue so lightly.

Génia Minache’s illustrations for Les Robaïyat are some of her best, stylish and beautifully reproduced.

Les Robaïyat was published by Marcel Lubineau, Paris, in a limited numbered edition of 550 copies.