Multicultural Writers from Antiquity to 1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Alba Amoia; Bettina L.Knapp | Go to book overview

WILLIAM BECKFORD

(1760-1844)

Marie-Madeleine Martinet


BIOGRAPHY

William Beckford lived from childhood in social surroundings linked with distant countries. He was the son of a lord mayor of London whose family had interests in Jamaica as sugar planters and had been involved in the government of the island. His mother belonged to the aristocratic family of the Hamiltons. Anthony Hamilton, the late-seventeenth-century author of the Mémoires du comte de Gramont (in French), was a relative on his mother's side, whom Beckford said he hoped to meet in the afterlife. The Beckford family seat of Fonthill in Wiltshire contained numerous works of art and rooms decorated in the Oriental style, as well as a library including the Arabian Nights. In his family surroundings the usual classical imaginative world of the period was strongly mixed with exotic influences.

Beckford's father died when the boy was ten; he was educated at home by his mother (known as “the Begum, ” an Oriental title), guardians, and tutors, who offered the precocious child a cosmopolitan education including classical, modern, and Oriental languages. He is said to have received lessons in piano at the age of five from the nine-year-old Mozart. He took lessons in architecture from William Chambers, and his drawing master was Alexander Cozens, nicknamed “the Persian, ” who had been brought up at the Russian court, where his father was the czar's shipbuilder, and who developed his interests in Oriental cultures. Cozens had created a method of drawing called “blotting” in which the draughtsman allowed blots of paint to drop at random on the paper, forming unpredictable shapes that he then interpreted into landscapes: form preceded meaning, a mode of sensibility that corresponded to Beckford's atmospheric perception.

In 1777 Beckford traveled to Switzerland where he met Voltaire, became a member of the Jacques Necker circle—Necker's daughter was the future Ma-

-29-

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Multicultural Writers from Antiquity to 1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface and Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Alcuin 13
  • Selective Bibliography 16
  • Apuleius 17
  • Selective Bibliography 19
  • Antonin Artaud 21
  • Selective Bibliography 24
  • Saint Auqustine of Hippo 25
  • Selective Bibliography 28
  • William Beckford 29
  • Selective Bibliography 33
  • MarÍa Luisa Bombal 34
  • Jorge Luis Borges 38
  • James Boswell 43
  • Selective Bibliography 46
  • Fredrika Bremer 47
  • Selective Bibliography 50
  • The Brownings: Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning 51
  • George Gordon Byron 56
  • LuÍs Vaz De CamÕes 60
  • Ch'Oe Ch'IwŎn 64
  • Paul Claudel 67
  • Joseph Conrad 71
  • Stephen Crane 75
  • RubÉn DarÍo 79
  • Selective Bibliography 82
  • Alexandra David-Neel 83
  • Selective Bibliography 86
  • Charles Dickens 87
  • Selective Bibliography 90
  • Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) 91
  • Selective Bibliography 94
  • Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky 95
  • Selective Bibliography 99
  • Pierre Drieula Rochelle 101
  • George Eliot (Mary Anne, Later Mary Ann and Marian, Evans) 106
  • Selective Bibliography 109
  • Erasmus (Desiderius Erasmus Rotterdamus) 110
  • Gustave Flaubert 114
  • E.M.Forster 118
  • Margaret Fuller 122
  • George Gemistos Plethon 127
  • Selective Bibliography 130
  • AndrÉ Gide 131
  • Selective Bibliography 134
  • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe 135
  • Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol 140
  • Carlo Goldoni 144
  • Knut Pedersen Hamsun 148
  • The Hawthornes: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Sophia Peabody Hawthorne 152
  • Heinrich Heine 156
  • Ernest Hemingway 160
  • Johann Gottfried Von Herder 164
  • Selective Bibliography 167
  • Herodotus 168
  • Selective Bibliography 172
  • Hermann Hesse 173
  • Hugo Von Hofmannsthal 177
  • Horiguchi Daigaku 183
  • Selective Bibliography 186
  • Aldous Leonard Huxley 187
  • Ibn Battuta 192
  • Ibn Khaldun 196
  • Henrik Johan Ibsen 200
  • Selective Bibliography 203
  • Washington Irving 204
  • Viacheslav Ivanovich Ivanov 207
  • Henry James 212
  • Jiang Guangci 216
  • Selective Bibliography 219
  • Jean De Joinville 220
  • Flavius Josephus 224
  • Selective Bibliography 229
  • James Joyce 230
  • Selective Bibliography 233
  • Kabir 234
  • Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin 238
  • Selective Bibliography 241
  • Kim SowŎl 242
  • Rudyard Kipling 245
  • Selective Bibliography 248
  • Adamantios KoraÍs 249
  • BartolomÉ De Las Casas 253
  • D(avid) H(erbert) Lawrence 257
  • Selective Bibliography 260
  • Fanny Lewald 261
  • Selective Bibliography 265
  • Lin Yutang 266
  • Pierre Loti 270
  • AndrÉ Malraux 275
  • Thomas Mann 279
  • Selective Bibliography 282
  • W[illiam] Somerset Maugham 283
  • Selective Bibliography 286
  • Adam Mickiewicz 287
  • Henry Miller 291
  • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu 295
  • Montaigne (Michel Eyquem, Seigneur De) 299
  • Selective Bibliography 302
  • Charles-Louis De Secondat De Montesquieu 303
  • Selective Bibliography 306
  • Mori (RintarŌ) Ōgai 307
  • Nagai KafŪ 312
  • GÉrard De Nerval (GÉrard Labrunie) 316
  • Selective Bibliography 319
  • AnaÏs Nin 320
  • George Orwell 324
  • Pausanias 329
  • Fernando Pessoa 334
  • Selective Bibliography 337
  • Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) 339
  • Marco Polo 343
  • Jan Potocki 348
  • Selective Bibliography 351
  • Ameen F.Rihani 352
  • Selective Bibliography 355
  • Rainer Maria Rilke 356
  • George Sand (Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin) 361
  • Domingo Faustino Sarmiento 366
  • Victor Segalen 370
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley 374
  • Selective Bibliography 377
  • Georges Simenon 378
  • Madame De StaËl (Anne-Louise-Germaine Necker) 383
  • Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle) 387
  • Selective Bibliography 390
  • Robert Louis Stevenson 391
  • Selective Bibliography 394
  • Cornelius Tacitus 396
  • Rabindranath Tagore 400
  • Terence (Publius Terentius Afer) 404
  • Selective Bibliography 407
  • Alexis De Tocqueville 408
  • Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy 412
  • Cristina Trivulzio Barbiano Di Belgioioso 417
  • Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev 421
  • Selective Bibliography 424
  • Giambattista Vico 426
  • Geoffroy De Villehardouin 430
  • Selective Bibliography 433
  • Voltaire (FranÇois-Marie Arouet) 434
  • Edith Wharton 438
  • Oscar Wilde 442
  • Selective Bibliography 445
  • Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) 447
  • Xenophon 451
  • Selective Bibliography 455
  • Xu Zhimo 456
  • Select Bibliography 461
  • Index 467
  • About the Editors and Contributors 489
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