London and New York: University Press, Cambridge for Constable and Company Limited and Richard R. Smith Inc, 1929. 8vo. 2 volumes, set. Limited edition of 1000 copies. First complete edition. Text in original French. Original navy buckram, gilt. Top edges gilt, others untrimmed. With black and white plates. Armourial bookplate of Peter Summers to each front pastedown and pencil ownership of R.N. Green-Armytage, Bath to each flyleaf. Light foxing to endpapers. D/ws are very slightly foxed, rubbed and tanned on the spines. Volume 1 has a very short closed tear to the top edge of the front panel. Volume 2 has a tear, with small loss, at the head of the spine. Near fine in very good d/ws. Item #4543
'Beckford's Vathek was written in a mood of ecstasy following on a hectic Christmas of festivity spent at his home, Fonthill, by the twenty-one year old Beckford, his adored mistress Louisa and his equally adored boy friend William Courtenay. [...] Written in French, Vathek was first published in French in Lausanne and Paris in 1787. But before the original text could appear, an English translation had been issued in London without the author's authority'. Episodes of Vathek were written to form part of the work but were left in manuscript until their discovery at the beginning of the twentieth-century. They are now incorporated in their proper places and this edition is therefore the first complete edition of Vathek as Beckford planned it and in the language in which he originally wrote it.
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