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Vathek by William Beckford
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Vathek (original 1786; edition 1816)

by William Beckford

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8413210,711 (3.19)1 / 122
Member:panzerwolf
Title:Vathek
Authors:William Beckford
Info:London, 1816.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, classics

Work details

Vathek by William Beckford (1786)

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English (27)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  English (32)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
A very Gothic late 18th century book. Caliph Vathek and his mother Catharis rule a middle eastern caliphate (?). They want power and riches, and the Genie Giaour promises it to them. There is clearly something evil going on, as Vathek gives some of the best children of his ruling to the Giaour. He then meets and falls for Nouronihar (and she for him), an emir's daughter, on a trip. He separates her from her dear cousin Gulchenrouz.

Nouronihar follows Vathek. They get what they want, and so does Catharis, but it is not what they were expecting. A story about what unrestrained passions, atrocious actions, and blind ambition get you in the end. ( )
  Dreesie | Oct 31, 2016 |
Book Description
"Woe to the rash mortal who seeks to know that of which he should remain ignorant; and to undertake that which surpasseth his power!"

One of the strangest and most unforgettable eighteenth-century novels, Vathek is a wild Gothic fantasy whose sensuous imagination and grotesque comedy have inspired writers from Byron to Lovecraft. The Caliph Vathek is dissolute and debauched, and hungry for knowledge. When the mysterious Giaour offers him boundless treasure and unrivaled power he is willing to sacrifice his god, the lives of innocent children, and his own soul to satisfy his obsession. Vathek's extraordinary journey to the subterranean palace of Eblis, and the terrifying fate that there awaits him, is a captivating tale of magic and oriental fantasy, sudden violence and corrupted love, whose mix of moral fable, grotesque comedy, and evocative beauty defies classification.

My Review
This book is considered to be the 1,002 fable in the Arabian Nights Tales. It was interesting but fantasy is not one of my favorite genres. The narrative of Vathek uses a third person, omniscient, in the sense that he knows what is happening everywhere. The novel, while it may lend itself to be divided into chapters, is one complete manuscript without pause. It's humor is entertaining in some parts but it does drag in the middle. If you like fantasy type fables then I would recommend this book for you. ( )
1 vote EadieB | Jun 1, 2016 |
This book is considered to be the 1,002 fable in the Arabian Nights Tales. It was interesting but fantasy is not one of my favorite genres. The narrative of Vathek uses a third person, omniscient, in the sense that he knows what is happening everywhere. The novel, while it may lend itself to be divided into chapters, is one complete manuscript without pause. It's humor is entertaining in some parts but it does drag in the middle. If you like fantasy type fables then I would recommend this book for you. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
Vathek William Beckford
★★★

This is the story of the Caliph Vathek a dissolute man with obvious Mummy issues, when he meets a mysterious Indian who promises him magical weapons and knowledge in exchange for him renouncing his religion, murdering hundreds of innocent children and betraying his people the Caliph thinks, you know what that sounds like a good plan with no downside so why not...

Well as every sensible person knows the only reward you are going to get for betraying every good principle in the world is a slow, painful death and guess what the Caliph gets??
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
A fairytale akin to the Arabian Nights with a strong moral against greed and power. Vathek falls from grace by being tempted by the Giaour (a demon type thing) and declines steadily. An easy read but not particularly exciting. ( )
  sashinka | Jan 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Beckfordprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bawden, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benda, WolframTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benda, WolframTranslator and Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blaine, MahlonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blei, FranzÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Camerino, AldoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carter, LinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cruz, RayCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damman, BenjaminEngraver.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elie, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emmett, R.J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitz-Gerald, SJ AdairIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graham, Kenneth W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grimsditch, Herbert B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Håkansson, GabriellaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Helnwein, GottfriedIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Helnwein, GottfriedIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Isfelt, ArthurTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lonsdale, RichardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lonsdale, RogerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marzials, Frank T.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moravia, AlbertoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morley, HenryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
North, WilliamForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paoletti, GiovanniEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pentleton, CarolDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pintor, GiaimeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Redon, OdilonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The long and extravagant career of the author of Vathek would surely have impressed Samuel Johnson as a notable and sustained illustration of what his Imlac had called (in his own very different 'oriental' tale) 'that hunger of imagination which preys incessantly upon life'. (Introduction)
Vathek, ninth Caliph of the race of the Abassides, was the son of Motassem, and the grandson of Haroun al Raschid.
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Contains only Vathek. Please do not combine with editions containing The Episodes of Vathek or other works.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192836560, Paperback)

Beckford's Gothic novel, "Vathek", an Arabian tale, was originally written in French when the author was 21. It is the story of Caliph Vathek, whose eye can kill at a glance, who makes a pact with the Devil, Eblis.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

William Beckford was a youthful millionaire who first published 'Vathek' in late 18th century France. He was exiled from England for his outrageous behaviour whilst at the same time being considered by Byron and Lovecraft as a great Gothic writer. This ed. of this translation originally published: 1980.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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