Beckford's Gothic novel Vathek, an Arabian tale, was originally written in French when the author was twenty-one. Published in English in 1786, it was one of the most successful of the oriental tales then in fashion. This edition makes available to a new generation of scholars and general readers, the originality of Beckford's ideas, and the excellence of his prose.
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About the Author
William Beckford (1760-1844) inherited a large fortune and, at the age of nineteen, went on a tour of Holland, Germany, Belgium, France and Italy. He was a Member of Parliament and a traveller who spent large sums of money collecting rare books, curiosities and paintings for the embellishment of his Gothic Extravaganza, Fonthill Abbey, where he lived in opulent seclusion until forced by bankruptcy to sell it in 1822.