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