A title by William Thomas Beckford who was an English novelist, art critic, travel writer and politician. Having studied under Sir William Chambers and Alexander Cozens, he travelled to Italy in 1782 and promptly wrote a book on the subject: Dreams, Waking Thoughts, and Incidents; in a Series of Letters from Various Parts of Europe (1783). Shortly afterwards came his best-known work, the gothic novel The History of the Caliph Vathek (1786), written originally in French and, as he was accustomed to boast, at a single sitting of three days and two nights. There is reason, however, to believe that this was a flight of imagination. It is an impressive work, full of fantastic and magnificent conceptions, rising occasionally to sublimity.