1823 Rare Gothic Book - Vathek (an Arabian Tale) by William Thomas Beckford
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Author : William Beckford
Title : Vathek. Translated From the Original French. Fourth Edition, Revised and Corrected.
Publisher : London: Printed for W.Clarke, 1823
Language : Text in English
Size : 8 " X 5 "
Pages : 284 pages
Binding : Very good and attractive full leather binding (hinges fine) under a protective removable mylar cover.
Content : Very good content (bright, tight and clean, exlibris of the Richardson family, gift note to Elizabeth Richardson 1850 on free blank endpaper)
Illustrations : Illustrated with a nice engraved frontis.
Estimate : (USD 150 - USD 300)
The book : Rare and attractive edition of Vathek (alternatively titled Vathek, an Arabian Tale or The History of the Caliph Vathek) -- a Gothic novel written by William Beckford. It was composed in French beginning in 1782, and then translated into English by Reverend Samuel Henley in which form it was first published in 1786 without Beckford's name as An Arabian Tale, From an Unpublished Manuscript, claiming to be translated directly from Arabic. The first French edition, titled simply as Vathek, was published in December 1786 (postdated 1787). In the twentieth century some editions include The Episodes of Vathek (Vathek et ses épisodes), three related tales intended by Beckford to be so incorporated, but omitted from the original edition and published separately long after his death.
The author: William Thomas Beckford (1 October 1760 – 2 May 1844) was an English novelist, a profligate and consummately knowledgeable art collector and patron of works of decorative art, a critic, travel writer and sometime politician, reputed at one stage in his life to be the richest commoner in England. His parents were William Beckford and Maria Hamilton, daughter of the Hon. George Hamilton. He was Member of Parliament for Wells from 1784 to 1790, for Hindon from 1790 to 1795 and 1806 to 1820.
He is remembered as the author of the Gothic novel Vathek (1786), the builder of the remarkable lost Fonthill Abbey and Lansdown Tower ("Beckford's Tower"), Bath, and especially for his art collection.