An "extraordinary biography" (New York Times Book Review) of a brilliant pair of adventurers. Their marriage was both improbable and inevitable. Isabel Arundell was a schoolgirl, the scion of England's most distinguished Catholic family. When she first saw him while walking at a seaside resort, Richard Burton had already made his mark as a linguist (he was fluent in twenty-nine languages), scholar, soldier, and explorer--at once a symbol of Victorian England's vision of empire and an avowed rebel against its mores. When she turned and saw him staring after her, she decided that she would marry him. By their next meeting, Burton had become the first infidel to infiltrate Mecca as one of the faithful, and, in an expedition to discover the source of the Nile, would soon be the first white man to see Lake Tanganyika. After being married, the Burtons traveled and experienced the world, from diplomatic postings in Brazil and Africa to hair-raising adventures in the Syrian desert. In later life Richard courted further controversy as a self-proclaimed erotologist and the translator of The Kama Sutra. Based on previously unavailable archives, Mary Lovell has written a compelling joint biography that sets Isabel in her proper place as Burton's equal in daring and endurance, a fascinating figure in her own right.
a journey in the footsteps of Captain Sir Richard Burton : 1842-1849, the India years
Author: Christopher Ondaatje
Publisher: Harpercollins Canada
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Sindh Revisited is the remarkable story of the author's fascination with the early life of Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890). It is the story of an incredible journey, too - deep into the heart of British India, and the India and Sindh of today. Christopher Ondaatje's Sindh Revisited is the extraordinarily sensitive account of the author's quest to uncover the secrets of the seven years Richard Burton spent in India in the army of the East India Company from 1842 to 1849. "If I wanted to fill the gap in my understanding of Richard Burton, I would have to do something that had never been done before: follow in his footsteps in India...." The journey covered thousands of miles - trekking across deserts where ancient tribes meet modern civilization in the valley of the mighty Indus River. What was it that Burton discovered in India? What was it that changed him from a rebellious, wayward youth into a man of courage, imagination, wisdom and personal power? Through this unique book and the journey it describes, we come nearer than ever before to understanding the mystery of Richard Burton and the devils that drove him.
Soldier, explorer, and adventurer, British author CAPTAIN SIR RICHARD FRANCIS BURTON (1821-1890) is perhaps best remembered for his notoriously unexpurgated translations of The Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra, which scandalized-and titillated-Victorian readers. Lesser known, however, is his intriguing collection of classic Hindu tales of adventure, magic, and romance, first published in 1870. Enlivened by Burton's own imagination-he was the first to translate them from Sanskrit-these stories purport to demonstrate "the exceeding folly of many wise fools," "the use and misuse of magic pills," "that a man's wife belongs not to his body but to his head," "the marvellous delicacy of three queens," and more. This obscure, delightful work is a fascinating look at both Indian mythology and Victorian cultural anthropology.
Sir Richard Burton is best known as an explorer and translator of Arabian and Indian books, many of them sexually explicit. He was known as “Ruffian Dick” and led a life well beyond the pale of the typical Victorian. Richard Burton was a very famous actor with a brilliant voice and the looks to accompany it. Sometimes known as “Beer Burton”, he married Elizabeth Taylor twice and led a life which was often as dramatic as the characters that he played. Howard Marks became famous as a cannabis smuggler. He used the alias “Mr Nice” and adopted this as the title of a book that describes his exploits and ultimate incarceration in an American jail. Each of these men has a roguish streak to their character, but they also have a number of other things in common – one of which is that they each began their adult life at Oxford University. In fact they attended three colleges which stand, cheek by jowl on Oxford’s Broad Street: Exeter, Balliol and Trinity. Each was a master of disguise, though for rather different ends. Each was a great traveller, Howard for the drug trafficking, Richard for the film sets and Sir Richard for exploration and consular duties. They were all writers. Two of them were Welsh, two shared a name, two are dead, and all three are famous in their different ways. Finally they were all iconoclasts, mould breakers in different times and in different worlds. This book illuminates the fascinating lives of each of these interesting men, but also speculates on how they might react to each other. It recreates the Oxford that bred them, traces their subsequent lives, and then leads them back to the city so that they can meet and discourse upon: American hegemony, the freedom to consume drugs, the role of feminism and the value of education. These topics are exposed to the soaring intellectuality and conservatism of the older Burton, the articulation of the younger Burton and the liberality of Marks. The results are sometimes shocking, always interesting, and often edifying.
Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS (1821-1890) was an English explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, ethnologist, linguist, poet, hypnotist, fencer and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. According to one count, he spoke 29 European, Asian, and African languages. He was a captain in the army of the East India Company serving in India. Following this he was engaged by the Royal Geographical Society to explore the east coast of Africa and led an expedition guided by the locals which discovered Lake Tanganyika. His best-known achievements include travelling in disguise to Mecca, making an unexpurgated translation of The Book of One Thousand Nights and a Night. Burton was considered a controversial figure in his day; many considered him a hero, others jealous of his achievements called him a scoundrel. Burton remains possibly the greatest explorer ever because of his remarkable research and uncensored documentation of the lifestyles of the various cultures he encountered in his adventures.