Beckford, best remembered for the Gothic novel ""Vathek"", has always been a subject of fascination. A man of dazzling virtuosity - as story teller, linguist, musician, orientalist, art connoisseur - and of immense wealth, Beckford seemed destined for the highest reaches of English political life. In fact, he became a social outcast and his contributions were to letters and the revival of Gothic architecture on a grand scale. In this biographical sketch, Malcolm Jack concentrates on the importance of Beckford's Portuguese connection in settling his fate. Beckford came to Portugal when he was still open to new influences and the residence proved central to his imaginative development as an artist and to his life as an outcast grandee.