A Comparison of the Absurd in the Philosophies of Omar Khayyam and Albert Camus

Lynn Alsatie Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Fait Muedini Butler University, Kaitlyn Creasy Butler University
The first time Omar Khayyam’s 12th century Rubaiyiat were brought to the Western world, it was through a translation from their original Persian to English by Edward Fitzgerald in 1859. Over the next century, Khayyam’s verses saw extraordinary popular success among intellectuals both in England and beyond. Although whether the meaning of his poetry is esoteric or hedonistic in nature is debated, his quatrains express an existential longing and grieving that can be compared to parallel feelings described by Albert Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus and its accompanying works. In this project, I explore the similarities in the notion of the absurd as defined by Albert Camus between The Myth of Sisyphus and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as well as whether these similarities lead to others in concepts of knowledge, being, and revolt. Through this exploration of the human experience across cultures and centuries, I propose this as an example that writings on individualist existential notions of absurdity and nostalgia blossomed nearly a millennium before they were developed by Western existentialists like Albert Camus in the 20th century.
Philosophy & Religion
Oral Presentation

When & Where

10:30 AM
Jordan Hall 336C