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Guessing at "Third Episode of Vathek"
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 10 August, 2018 09:33AM
So I had read William Beckford's Vathek and the first of the Episodes of Vathek, but not the second or third. I had read most of Clark Ashton Smith's work, but had not yet read his version of the "Third Episode of Vathek". I thought I had a fair sense of the style and mood of both authors.

So I decided I would try an experiment. I would read Smith's version of "The Third Episode of Vathek", and try to guess where Beckford's writing ended, and Smith's began.

And there did come a point in my reading where it first struck me -- rather strongly -- that I was no longer reading Beckford, but was in fact reading Smith.

As luck or instinct would have it, I was correct. Smith was in fact writing at this point, and had in fact been writing for little more than a few sentences before I noticed that something was different.

Unfortunately, I cannot claim to have guessed right. That is because, once I became convinced that Smith was already writing, I began wondering how long he had been writing without me noticing anything. I went back over previous paragraphs and pages to give them a second look. I managed to convince myself, for various reasons, that this or that passage was probably Smith and not Beckford. I was of course wrong on every point.

I guess this illustrates the dangers of thinking too much.

I wonder if anyone else, in a similar unspoiled position, has tried, or would like to try, a similar experiment.

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