Vathek with The Episodes of Vathek
  • Publication Date: May 14, 2001
  • ISBN: 9781551112817 / 1551112817
  • 397 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Vathek with The Episodes of Vathek

  • Publication Date: May 14, 2001
  • ISBN: 9781551112817 / 1551112817
  • 397 pages; 5½" x 8½"

William Beckford’s Vathek is a touchstone of eighteenth-century Orientalism and of the Gothic novel. Beckford’s later work, The Episodes of Vathek, shares Vathek’s irreverent and decadent style, and an edition that unites the two has long been overdue. The Broadview edition includes a newly discovered early version of the first episode, never before in print, that centres on male-male love, as well as the previously published version that was re-written by Beckford as a heterosexual narrative. Based on the 1823 edition—the last one edited by the author himself—the Broadview Edition also introduces The Episodes in the order Beckford planned, and incorporates his final corrections.


“Sympathetic to Beckford’s odd and yet unexpectedly typical position as a member of the ruling class with progressive attitudes and often rebellious tastes, Graham offers us the first true appreciation of Beckford as a literary innovator, oriental scholar, social visionary, and plain old curious character. The first volume to take Beckford in all his sardonic comedy truly seriously, Graham’s Vathek with The Episodes of Vathek is certain to remain the standard edition of, and commentary on, Beckford for decades to come.” — Kevin L. Cope, Louisiana State University

“Kenneth W. Graham’s introduction to William beckford’s Vathek with The Episodes is simply packed with information, and includes one of the finest discussions of Oriental Tales I’ve encountered. With its careful editing, its appendices, maps, and bibliography, this new, expanded edition of Vathek is, all in all, superb.” — Sydney Conger, Western Illinois University

William Thomas Beckford: A Brief Chronology


  • Vathek united with The Episodes: thematic unity
    Vathek: Sensuality and Curiosity
    “The History of the Princes and Friends Alasi and Firouz”: rebellion and atrocity
    “The History of Prince Barkiarokh”: picaro meets apprentice
    “The History of Princess Zulkai’s and the Prince Kalilah”: ambition and incest
    Conclusion: Beckford’s Oriental Vision

Vathek with The Episodes of Vathek

Appendix A: “The History of Prince Alasi and the Princess Firouzkah”

Appendix B: Notes

  1. The Explanatory Footnotes and Beckford’s Orientalism
  2. Notes on the Choice of Texts
  3. Emendation Notes

Appendix C: Geography and Maps

Works Cited/Recommended Reading

Kenneth W Graham teaches at the University of Guelph. He has written widely on eighteenth-century literature. His books include Gothic Fictions: Prohibition/Transgression, and “Vathek” and the Escape from Time: Bicentenary Revalutations.