Dreams, Waking Thoughts and Incidents (1783)

There is still no perfectly sound explanation as to why William Beckford’s second book, Dreams, Waking Thoughts, and Incidents; In a Series of Letters, From Various Parts of Europe – printed in London in 1783 – was suppressed by the author prior to its release to the public. Whether due to the occasionally high-blown romantic rhetoric or due to the political sensibilities which the contents might offend, the book was never released to the public and today, only some five copies of an original print run of 500 remain in existence.

Beckford revised the work – heavily – for inclusion in Italy; with Sketches of Spain and Portugal (1834), but it would not be until 1891 that the book was printed and released in its original form.

The rough version provided by Beckfordiana is intended as a study-aid only. Use it; read it; search for phrases or words and recurring themes in the Beckfordian canon... but should the need arise for a scholarly quotation, there is still no substitute for Robert J. Gemmett’s excellent (and sadly out-of-print) 1971 edition of Dreams. Gemmett’s footnotes and introduction provide this seminal work with an essential and thought-provoking contextual framework.

Thanks are due to Stephanie Mikes for invaluable help in proof-reading the edition.

Please e-mail the keeper of this site if you encounter typos and other mistakes in this online edition at this e-mail address. Italics have not been retained in this online edition and no original pagination is provided.

Letter I ::: Letter II ::: Letter III ::: Letter IV ::: Letter V ::: Letter VI ::: Letter VII ::: Letter VIII ::: Letter IX ::: Letter X ::: Letter XI ::: Letter XII ::: Letter XIII ::: Letter XIV ::: Letter XV ::: Letter XVI ::: Letter XVII ::: Letter XVIII ::: Letter XIX ::: Letter XX ::: Letter XXI ::: Letter XXII ::: Letter XXIII ::: Letter XXIV ::: Letter XXV ::: Letter XXVI ::: Letter XXVII
Additional letters, I-VII
An Excursion to the Grande Chartreuse in the year 1778