Intending purchasers of the Rubaiyat with this particular ISBN need to be wary. What I got here was exactly what I wanted, namely FitzGerald's first version, the version familiar to many of us from our schooldays as it is given in the additional poems at the end of Palgrave's Golden Treasury. FitzGerald revised the work no fewer than four times, and so far as I can see there is also a version in circulation with this same ISBN but giving one of the later texts and having a different editor as well as a different picture on the cover.
Presumably FitzGerald thought he was making improvements as he went along. For me, although some of the revised stanzas are probably better than his first attempts, and those that are completely new are very welcome, each successive version is a little weaker than the one before. He abandons, for instance, the magnificent and unique metaphor in the first quatrain, and the very effective quatrains where all four lines are made to rhyme disappear as well. The general feel of it all stays the same of course, but I sense a loss of vividness in the afterthoughts by and large.
The edition as I have it is edited by Alexander Hutchison who contributes a helpful short introduction. There is in addition a set of notes at the back, and these are thoughtful and informative also. I would imagine that for Eng Lit students this little book will be a godsend at such modest cost. Enthusiasts for the poem in general will find the printing beautifully clear, and I did not spot any misprints or inaccuracies. What I wanted is what I have been given here, but that was more by luck than by judgment on my part.