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Vathek (Anglais) Broché – 13 juin 2013


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Présentation de l'éditeur

'Woe to the rash mortal who seeks to know that of which he should remain ignorant; and to undertake that which surpasseth his power!' The Caliph Vathek is dissolute and debauched, and hungry for knowledge. When the mysterious Giaour offers him boundless treasure and unrivalled power he is willing to sacrifice his god, the lives of innocent children, and his own soul to satisfy his obsession. Vathek's extraordinary journey to the subterranean palace of Eblis, and the terrifying fate that there awaits him, is a captivating tale of magic and oriental fantasy, sudden violence and corrupted love, whose mix of moral fable, grotesque comedy, and evocative beauty defies classification. Originally written by Beckford in French at the age of only 21, its dreamlike qualities have influenced writers from Byron to H. P. Lovecraft. This new edition reprints Beckford's authorized English text of 1816 with its elaborate and entertaining notes. In his new introduction Thomas Keymer examines the novel's relations to a range of literary genres and cultural contexts. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Biographie de l'auteur

Thomas Keymer has edited Oxford World's Classics editions of Johnson's Rasselas, Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Richardson's Pamela and Fielding's Joseph Andrews and Shamela. He is the author of numerous critical essays and books, editor of The Cambridge Companion to Laurence Sterne (2009) and co-editor, with Jon Mee, of The Cambridge Companion to English Literature from 1740 to 1830.



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5 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
For hard-core fans of Gothic only.... 20 août 2013
Par gammyraye - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This short novel, first published in 1786, is often mentioned in the list of prominent early Gothic offerings, but it is Gothic with a twist, owing more to the influence of "The Arabian Nights" than to "The Castle of Otranto," which is considered the first Gothic novel. The setting is the opulent East, rather than a crumbling English castle, and the villain is a powerful Caliph who seeks ultimate knowledge and power. He is spurred on by his ruthlessly wicked mother as he travels to meet Eblis, the Islamic equivalent of Satan, to trade his soul for promised rewards.

Along the way, the reader is treated to accounts of numerous supernatural occurrences (the Caliph can kill with just a hard stare from his black eyes, for example) and even more accounts of atrocities committed to gain favor with Eblis (pushing 50 young children off a cliff, for example). The Caliph is distracted from his quest when he becomes enamored with a seductive young lady, but his mother tracks him down and pushes him into completing his journey.

But as we all know, pacts with the Devil never turn out well for mortals, and so it is with the Caliph.

Surprisingly enough, the novel is entertaining, although the plot consists just of one fantastical and bizarre incident after another, without any of the suspense or character development normally considered necessary for a good novel. The tone, which is slyly humorous and ironic, rescues the book from the boredom brought on by a mere catalog of incidents. My favorite part is when dwarfs are pinched to death.

Even more of interest and wonder is the biography of the writer, as given in the introduction (augmented by my internet research). William Beckford was the richest man in England at the time, and built Fonthill Abbey, a huge Gothic cathedral-like castle with the highest tower in England, which housed his huge collection of art and other esoteric treasures and included a retinue of lavishly attired foreign servants, including a dwarf who opened the door. His sexual behavior was so reprehensible to society that he was forced from time to time to leave his home for the Continent to escape scandal and possible prosecution. He was widely supposed by neighbors to hold orgies with unspeakable acts in his isolated castle. More than one research source indicates that this novel was considered to be semi-autobiographical, particularly in reference to the mother of the Caliph and Beckford's real mother!

I would not recommend this novel to anyone not interested in Gothic literature and tracing its history.
As you read this book you'll feel like you're in a state of dreaming 22 mai 2015
Par Jenny Bragg - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
As you read this book you'll feel like you're in a state of dreaming. This novel is very fast-paced and at times difficult to comprehend. However, this novel gives us a glimpse of how 18th century Britain viewed orientalism and allows us to understand the contrast between British and Oriental values of the time.
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