William Beckford: Vathek (2351 words)


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 …

Citation: Grasso, Joshua. "Vathek". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 September 2018 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8595, accessed 23 October 2020.]

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