William Beckford, Vathek

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William Beckford’s Vathek, An Arabian Tale (1786) is perhaps the most bizarre response to Europe’s love affair with all things ‘Oriental’ in the eighteenth-century. The age witnessed a rich immigration of Eastern art and culture, as evidenced by figures such as Mary Elizabeth Wortley Montagu, who ‘smuggled’ in her letters on Turkish society and customs after a two-year stay in 1716-1718. Once the letters were finally published in 1762, the market had already been established by the French translation of an Arabic classic, The Thousand and One Nights. Antoine Galland’s translation, Les Mille et une nuits (1704-1717), quickly became a bestseller, reaching eighty …

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Citation: Grasso, Joshua. "Vathek". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 September 2018 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8595, accessed 04 October 2023.]

8595 Vathek 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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