Dreams, Waking Thoughts, and Incidents

In a Series of Letters from Various Parts of Europe

Dreams, Waking Thoughts, and Incidents

William Thomas Beckford (1 October 1760 - 2 May 1844), usually known as William Beckford, was an English novelist, a profligate and consummately knowledgeable art collector and patron of works of decorative art, a critic, travel writer and sometime politician, reputed at one stage in his life to be the richest commoner in England. His parents were William Beckford and Maria Hamilton, daughter of the Hon. George Hamilton. He was Member of Parliament for Wells from 1784 to 1790, for Hindon from 1790 to 1795 and 1806 to 1820. He is remembered as the author of the Gothic novel "Vathek", the builder of the remarkable lost Fonthill Abbey and Lansdown Tower ("Beckford's Tower"), Bath, and especially for his art collection.
  • Start Classics | 
  • 228 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781633554849 | 
  • January 2015
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The novel chronicles the fall from power of the Caliph Vathek (a fictionalized version of the historical Al-Wathiq), who renounces Islam and engages with his mother, Carathis, in a series of licentious and deplorable activities designed to gain him supernatural powers. At the end of the novel, instead of attaining these powers, Vathek descends into a hell ruled by the demon Eblis where he is doomed to wander endlessly and speechlessly.

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