Sunday, August 3, 2008

Richard Francis Burton

Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890)

English explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, ethnologist, linguist, poet, hypnotist, fencer, diplomat ...

best known exploit
... travelled to Mecca in disguise

unexpurgated translation of The Book of One Thousand Nights & a Night (more commonly called The Arabian Nights abridgement) and the Kama Sutra

Controversy ...
  1. wrote about sex & sexuality = full of details; especially about the details of the sexual lives of those individuals where he travelled
  2. wrote about sexual techniques where he travelled (hinting he participated)
  3. broke sexual & racial taboos of the day
  4. Kama Shastra Society
  5. General Sir Charles James Napier had Burton go undercover to investigate a male brothel frequented by the soldiers
  6. accused of murdering a boy that caught him"urinating like a European" on trip to Mecca (exposing his true identity and putting his own life in jeopardy)

~ from the notes of Lady Victorian Historian