This volume, with its erudite introduction by Mario Praz, presents three of the most celebrated Gothic novels: The Castle of Otranto, published pseudonymously in 1765, is one of the first of the genre and the most truly Gothic of the three. Vathek (1786), an oriental tale by an eccentric millionaire, exotically combines Gothic romanticism with the vivacity of The Arabian Nights and is a narrative tour de force. The story of Frankenstein (1818) and the monster he created is as spine-chilling today as it ever was; as in all Gothic novels, horror is the keynote.
The happy thought of this William Beckford’s life was “Vathek.” It is a story that paints neither man nor outward nature as they are, but reproduces with happy vivacity the luxuriant imagery and wild incidents of an Arabian tale. There is a ghost of a moral in the story of a sensual Caliph going to the bad, as represented by his final introduction to the Halls of Eblis. But the enjoyment given by the book reflects the real enjoyment that the author had in writing it—enjoyment great enough to cause it to be written at a heat, in one long sitting, without flagging power. Young and lively, he delivered himself up to a free run of fancy, revelled in the piled-up enormities of the Wicked Mother, who had not brought up Vathek properly, and certainly wrote some parts of his nightmare tale as merrily as if he were designing matter for a pantomime.
Whoever, in reading “Vathek,” takes it altogether seriously, does not read it as it was written. We must have an eye for the vein of caricature that now and then comes to the surface, and invites a laugh without disturbing the sense of Eastern extravagance bent seriously upon the elaboration of a tale crowded with incident and action. Taken altogether seriously, the book has faults of construction. But the faults turn into beauties when we catch the twinkle in the writer’s eye.
The pages turn on their own as this compelling story exposes a tale of a black sheep, the mindset of the victim, the actions of the people he thought would love him the most, the betrayal of family and friends, and the walk towards conversion, healing and restoration. Your nights will be short as you stay awake, reading each page as quickly as possible so you may know what happened next. Intense does not begin to describe "He Leadeth Me." Williams true story reads like a best-selling thriller - but it's not fiction. His story begins as a childhood nightmare and ends with Gods miraculous and victorious deliverance and restoration.
At the heart of this book are real issues that we all face: learning to grow through pain, making decisions that will help us move forward, overcoming adversity, and trust in the power of God for healing. Centered on the people that were close to him, he brings his own cast alive with crisp dialogue and action - oftentimes breathtaking with brutal honesty. At an early age, he learned how to cope with adversity and loneliness. He found love, in other peoples homes. Never has a story been told of how a child had to fend off forces of evil and powers of the dark world. With no hope of escape from the flood of witchcraft and sorcery, he learned to trust God even at an early age.
The novel chronicles the fall from power of the Caliph Vathek (a fictionalised version of the historical Al-Wathiq), who renounces Islam and engages with his mother, Carathis, in a series of licentious and deplorable activities designed to gain him supernatural powers. At the end of the novel, instead of attaining these powers, Vathek descends into a hell ruled by the demon Eblis where he is doomed to wander endlessly and speechlessly.
Vathek, the ninth Caliph of the Abassides, ascended to the throne at an early age. He is a majestic figure, terrible in anger (one glance of his flashing eye can make "the wretch on whom it was fixed instantly fall backwards and sometimes expire”), and addicted to the pleasures of the flesh. He is intensely thirsty for knowledge and often invites scholars to converse with him. If he fails to convince the scholar of his points of view, he attempts a bribe; if this does not work, he sends the scholar to prison. To better study astronomy, he builds an observation tower with 11,000 steps.