Standard Ebooks

Vathek

William Beckford

Description

The titular Vathek is a powerful caliph who, though intelligent and capable, has a tendency to indulge in sensuality. A mysterious traveler arrives in his kingdom and mesmerizes Vathek with a promise of dark powers and hedonism beyond imagination. Vathek becomes obsessed with the supernatural possibilities, and, goaded on by his power-hungry mother, embarks on a journey of blasphemy and debauchery.

Vathek is one of the best-known Gothic novels, frequently referenced in literature of the era and beyond. Beckford, an English novelist, wrote it in French over the course of just several days at the age of twenty-one, after having hosted a three-day-long party in a lavish Orientalist style. European culture at the time was delighting in Orientalism, and Beckford capitalized on this by merging a fashionable Gothic narrative with a lush Orientalist setting. The novel’s emphasis on the supernatural and on the horror of ghosts, ghouls, efreets, and djinns, was something still new to many contemporary readers; and couching a familiar morality tale in the trappings of an exotic setting made the story both accessible and fresh, contributing greatly to its popularity.

The story went on to inspire Romantic writers, including Lord Byron, Southey, Moore, and Keats; Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith were also influenced by Vathek’s decadent and fantastic style.

Read free

This ebook is only thought to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. It may still be under copyright in other countries. If you’re not located in the United States, you must check your local laws to verify that the contents of this ebook are free of copyright restrictions in the country you’re located in before downloading or using this ebook.

Download for ereaders

  • Compatible epub All devices and apps except Kindles and Kobos.

  • azw3 Kindle devices and apps. Also download the Kindle cover thumbnail to see the cover in your Kindle’s library. You may be interested in our Kindle FAQ.

  • kepub Kobo devices and apps. You may also be interested in our Kobo FAQ.

  • Advanced epub An advanced format that uses the latest technology not yet fully supported by most ereaders.

Read online

A brief history of this ebook

  1. Update vathek.xhtml

  2. Finish metadata and initial publication

  3. Change cover art

  4. Italicize language

  5. [Editorial] koran -> Koran in some cases

More details

Sources

Transcriptions

Page scans

Improve this ebook

Anyone can contribute to make a Standard Ebook better for everyone!

To report typos, typography errors, or other corrections, see how to report errors.

If you’re comfortable with technology and want to contribute directly, check out this ebook’s GitHub repository and our contributors section.

You can also donate to Standard Ebooks to help fund continuing improvement of this and other ebooks.