New York, East
24 April 2001
BECKFORD, William Thomas. Vathek. Lausanne: Isaac Hignou & Compe, 1787.
8o (164 x 97 mm). Title within typographic border, woodcut vignette on title and p. iv. Contemporary half calf (rebacked, some wear to edges and corners). Provenance: "B.S.G." (bookplate).
First Edition in French. Although written in French, the first edition of Vathek (under the title An Arabian Tale) was published in 1786 by the London printer J. Johnson using an English translation by Rev. Samuel Henley. Its publication in French was contrary to Beckford's instruction to Henley in a letter. The book immediately found success as a masterpiece of the gothic genre, blending fantastic invention and bizarre detail, and was soon released in the original French. This first edition in French precedes the Paris edition brought out by Poincot in the same year. The texts of the two French editions vary significantly, the Lausanne edition having a "marked anglicism of phrase" (see Rothschild 352). J.W. Carter discusses the possibility that one or both of these editions was a retranslation in "The Lausanne Edition of Beckford's 'Vathek,'" Library, 4th series, XVII, 1937, p.369. Chapman 3.B.i; Gemmett 245.
A quoi sert un titre si l'ouvrage est bon. Paris Libraires Intelligens, 1789. 12o. (Lacks first leaf, B4 torn, blank corner of G2 torn away.)
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