"Beckford, well read in Eastern romance, caught the atmosphere with unusual receptivity." -- H.P. Lovecraft . . . THE VISION is a most unusual book by a most unusual young man. William Beckford (1760-1844) was about seventeen when he wrote this strange, surreal tale of mystic revelation. He may have written it to impress a tutor, the St. Petersburg born Alexander Cozens, who encouraged Beckford's delvings into the weird and fantastic. Five years later, Beckford was to pen his Oriental romance VATHEK, which has made his name immortal. From his earliest years he had shown himself to be an amazing prodigy, writing and speaking French at age three, learning Latin and Greek by the time he was seven. He was also the richest commoner in Britain, who, in the course of his tour of the Continent to complete his education (the tour during which THE VISION was written) moved in such state that he was mistaken for the Holy Roman emperor traveling incognito. He became, ultimately, one of the most spectacular and eccentric aesthetes of all time, and a great connoisseur of all that is rare and beautiful.