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Vathek: With the Episodes of Vathek (Broadview Literary Texts)
by by William Beckford
Binding: Paperback, 1 edition, 397 pages
Publisher: Broadview Press
Weight: 101
Dimension: H: 0.87 x L: 8.5 x W: 5.51 inches

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Book Description:
This Orientalist novel is subtitled An Arabian Tale, a very suitable subtitle considering the ways in which the author, William Beckford, mixes the foreign with the supernatural. Vathek is both The Caliph (a Muslim religious and civic leader) and the son of the previous Caliph and a Greek sorceress. His desire for forbidden knowledge leads him, Faust like, to join in league with the devil. The tale follows him through his misdeeds and travels, including into the underworld, before his realization all too late of the vanity of his worldliness.

The youthful and audacious William Beckford extended Vathek s irreverence and decadence into The Episodes of Vathek, and an edition that unites the two has long been overdue. This is all the more so with Kenneth Graham s recent discovery of an early version of the first Episode that centres on male male love. With the Broadview edition, this version is now in print for the first time, along with the previously published version that had been re written as a heterosexual narrative. This edition of Vathek also introduces The Episodes in the order Beckford planned and incorporates Beckford s final corrections.

Vathek was first written in French and then published in English amidst a dispute over the translation. The text of the Broadview edition of Vathek is based on the last edition corrected by the author, an edition prepared much later (1823) than the work s original entrance into the English language. The text of The Episodes of Vathek is derived partly from the translation prepared by Sir Frank T. Marzials for the first published edition of 1912 and partly from manuscript discovered and translated by the editor.

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