Home  »  library  »  BIOS  »  William Beckford (1760–1844)

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

William Beckford (1760–1844)

Beckford, William. A noted English man of letters; born at Fonthill, Wiltshire, Sept. 29, 1759; died at Bath, May 2, 1844. Heir to a large fortune, he traveled extensively, and after his return built a costly residence at Fonthill, where he amassed many art treasures. He is famous as the author of ‘Vathek,’ an Oriental romance of great power and luxurious imagination, written originally in French (1781 or 1782) and translated into English by himself, although another translation (by Henley) had been published anonymously and surreptitiously in 1784(?). Among his other writings are: ‘Biographical Memoirs of Extraordinary Painters’ (1780), a satirical burlesque; ‘Dreams, Waking Thoughts, and Incidents’ (1783), a series of letters from various parts of Europe; ‘Italy, with Sketches of Spain and Portugal’ (1834). (See Critical and Biographical Introduction).