Sir Richard Burton (2745 words)

Best known as an African explorer who sought to discover the source of the Nile, Richard Burton also attained distinction as an early ethnographer, a travel writer, a translator of exotic Eastern texts (most notably, the Arabian Nights), and a promoter of Eastern teachings. He also published two book-length poems drawing on Eastern lore, somewhat in the manner of Edward Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. He was a noted linguist, said to have learned at least 29 languages, and his interest in exotic sexual customs, coupled with his attempts to undermine Victorian sexual repression, has led to him being called a forerunner of Havelock Ellis and other sexologists.

Burton was a restless wanderer his entire life, a …

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Goldfarb, Sheldon. "Sir Richard Burton". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 September 2013
[, accessed 12 December 2018.]

Related Groups

  1. Exploration, Explorers, Pioneers

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