Burton, Richard F.

Sir Frederick Leighton: Richard F. Burton

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton

Sir Richard Francis Burton was a British explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations in Asia, Africa and the Americas, as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. According to one count, he spoke 29 European, Asian and African languages.

As a writer, he was responsible for at least 29 major works during his lifetime, including travel books, ethnography, poetry, translations (including an unexpurgated translation of the 1001 Nights, and the first publication of the Kama Sutra in English), and a large number more published after his death.

Select Bibliography:

  1. Goa, and The Blue Mountains; or, Six Months of Sick Leave. 1851. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

  2. Sindh and The Races that Inhabit the Valley of the Indus with Notices of the Topography and History of the Province. 1851. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1992.

  3. Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al Madinah & Meccah. 1855-56. Ed. Lady Burton. 1893. Bohn’s Library. 1898. 2 vols. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1913.

  4. First Footsteps in East Africa or, An Exploration of Harar. 1856. Memorial Edition. Ed. Isabel Burton. 2 vols. 1894. Classics of Exploration. Amsterdam: Time-Life Books, 1983.

  5. The Source of the Nile. The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration. 1860. Introduction by Ian Curteis. London: The Folio Society, 1993.

  6. [Trans.]: Vikram and the Vampire, or Tales of Hindu Devilry. 1870. Memorial Edition. Ed. Isabel Burton. London: Thylston & Edwards, 1893.

  7. The Gold-Mines of Midian [and the Ruined Midianite Cities: a Fortnight’s Tour in North-Western Arabia]. 1878. New York: Dover Publications, 1995.

  8. The Kasîdah of Hâjî Abdû el Yezdi: A Lay of the Higher Law. 1880. Booklover’s Library. London: Hutchinson, n.d.

  9. [Trans., with F. F. Arbuthnot]: The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. 1883. Ed. John Muirhead-Gould. 1963. London: Panther, 1968.

  10. The Book of the Sword. 1884. New York: Dover Publications, 1987.

  11. [Trans., with F. F. Arbuthnot]: The Ananga Ranga of Kalyana Malla. 1885. London: Kimber, 1963.

  12. [Trans.]: A Plain and Literal Translation of The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, Now Entituled The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night: With Introduction, Explanatory Notes on the Manners and Customs of Moslem Men and a Terminal Essay upon the History of the Nights. 10 vols. Benares [= Stoke-Newington]: Kamashastra Society, 1885. N.p. [= Boston]: The Burton Club, n.d.

  13. [Trans.]: Supplemental Nights to the Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night with Notes Anthropological and Explanatory. 6 vols. Benares [= Stoke-Newington]: Kamashastra Society, 1886-88. 7 vols. N.p. [= Boston]: The Burton Club, n.d.

  14. [Trans.]: Nefzawi, Shaykh. The Perfumed Garden. 1886. Ed. Alan Hull Walton. 1963. London: Panther, 1966.

  15. [Trans., with Leonard C. Smithers]: Priapeia sive diversorum poetarum in Priapum lusus, or Sportive Epigrams on Priapus by divers poets in English verse and prose. 1890. Wordsworth Classic Erotica. Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Classics, 1995.

  16. [Trans., with Leonard C. Smithers]: The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus: Now first completely Englished into Verse and Prose, the Metrical Part by Capt. Sir Richard F. Burton, K. C. M. B., F. R. C. S., etc., etc. etc., and the Prose Portion, Introduction, and Notes Explanatory and Illustrative by Leonard C. Smithers. Preface by Lady Isabel Burton. London: Printed for the Translators, 1894.

Biography & Secondary Literature:
Blanch, Lesley. The Wilder Shores of Love. 1954. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1959.

Brodie, Fawn M. The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Burton. 1967. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

Farwell, Byron. Burton: A Biography of Sir Richard Francis Burton. 1963. Harmondsworth: Viking, 1988.

Harrison, William. Burton and Speke. 1982. London: Star, 1985.

Lovell, Mary S. A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton. 1998. London: Abacus, 1999.

McLynn, Frank. From the Sierras to the Pampas: Richard Burton’s Travels in the Americas, 1860-69. London: Century, 1991.

Ondaatje, Christopher. Sindh Revisited: A Journey in the Footsteps of Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton – 1842-1849: The India Years. Toronto : HarperCollins, 1996.

Penzer, Norman M. An Annotated Bibliography of Sir Richard Francis Burton, K.C.M.G. London: Philpot, 1923.

Rice, Edward. Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: The Secret Agent Who Made the Pilgrimage to Mecca, Discovered the Kama Sutra, and Brought the Arabian Nights to the West. 1990. New York: HarperPerennial, 1991.

Homepages & Online Information:

Wikipedia entry

Rischgitz: Richard Francis Burton (1864)

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