This novel of 1782, written in French by the wealthiest man in Britain, was the most striking and artistically successful Arabian Nights parody. (An illustrated edition.) Tales of William Beckford's profligate art collecting and extravagant architectural follies are like the Decadents' tales of the excesses of ancient emperors. In many ways, he was the prototype of artists who would come much later: Romantics, Surrealists and Aesthetes. He is best remembered for this astonishing Gothic novel dressed in the costumes of the Arabian Nights, written in two days and a night of feverish creativity.