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William Beckford
Even weirder than the Gothic excesses of Horace Walpole's Castle Of Otranto, even wilder than Matthew Lewis' The Monk, William Beckford's Vathek remain the most extreme example of English 18th century literature, a crawling meditation on the transgressions of the depraved. Witches, demons, human sacrifices and other spectral horrors mark the progress of Vathek, ninth caliph of the Abassides, on his pilgrimage to the underworld, where his sins and damnations flower into eternal torture.Originally composed in French, Vathek was translated into English in 1816. and it is this version which is included herein. Also included is a brand new introduction by Jeremy Reed, who aligns the book's decadent outrages with latin literary outlaws, and also details the extraordinary life of William Beckford, an eccentric who dissipated his entire fortune on the erection of gothic follys, and on the homosexual indiscretions which finally resulted in his exile from England.

The edition is illustrated by the bizzare lithographs of Odilon Redon, the 19th century Symbolist who was compelled to reproduce the most insane images from his unconscious through the inspiration of Baudelaire, Huysmans, and other "dangerous" writers of his age.
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