Edward Fitzgerald was born near Woodbridge, Suffolk. He was one of eight children and his parents owned a number of estates in England and Ireland. He was educated at the King Edward VI Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge.
He spent most of his life in Suffolk where he lived the life of a country gentleman rarely travelling, except to London. He lived for sixteen years on his family estate at Boulge and spent the remainder of his life in Woodbridge.
In 1850 he married the daughter of the poet Bernard Barton whose biography he had penned previously. The marriage appears to have been an unhappy one and they separated after only a few months. After learning Spanish privately he produced blank-verse translations of six poems by Calderon (1853). His developing fascination with Persian poetry led him to translate a series of works. Salaman and Absal, an allegory by Kami was published anonymously in 1856 followed in 1859 by his most celebrated work, translations from the Rubaiyat.
His warm personality and sophisticated wit earned him the friendship of many great writers including William Thackery, Alfred Tennyson and Thomas Carlyle. Tennyson was to dedicate his poem 'Tiresias' to Fitzgerald. He left a legacy of delightful letters, bursting with anecdotes concerning his literary acquaintances, which were edited and published after his death.