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

By: Rice, Edward

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Book Condition: Good


First printing of the Da Capo reissue. Spine lightly creased, corners bruised, fore edge slightly soiled. 2001 Trade Paperback. xx, 664 pp. A New York Times best-seller when it was first published, Rice's biography is the gripping story of a fierce, magnetic, and brilliant man whose real-life accomplishments are the stuff of legend. Rice retraces Burton's steps as the first European adventurer to search for the source of the Nile; to enter, disguised, the forbidden cities of Mecca and Medina; and to travel through remote stretches of India, the Near East, and Africa. From his spying exploits to his startling literary accomplishments (the discovery and translation of the Kama Sutra and his seventeen-volume translation of Arabian Nights), Burton was an engrossing, larger-than-life Victorian figure, and Rice's splendid biography lays open a portrayal as dramatic, complicated, and compelling as the man himself. Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS (19 March 1821 – 20 October 1890) was an English explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat. He was famed 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. Burton's best-known achievements include a well-documented journey to Mecca, in disguise at a time when Europeans were forbidden access on pain of death; an unexpurgated translation of One Thousand and One Nights (commonly called The Arabian Nights in English after early translations of Antoine Galland's French version); the publication of the Kama Sutra in English; and a journey with John Hanning Speke as the first Europeans to visit the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source of the Nile. Burton defied many aspects of the pervasive British ethnocentrism of his day, relishing personal contact with human cultures in all their variety. His works and letters extensively criticized colonial policies of the British Empire, even to the detriment of his career. Although his university education aborted, he became a prolific and erudite author and wrote numerous books and scholarly articles about subjects including human behaviour, travel, falconry, fencing, sexual practices and ethnography. A characteristic feature of his books is the copious footnotes and appendices containing remarkable observations and information. Burton was a captain in the army of the East India Company, serving in India (and later, briefly, in the Crimean War). 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 and was the first European to see Lake Tanganyika. In later life, he served as British consul in Fernando Pó, Santos, Damascus and, finally, Trieste. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and was awarded a knighthood (KCMG) in 1886.

Title: 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

Author: Rice, Edward

Categories: Literature, Asia, Nautical & Exploration, Literary & Intellectual, Middle East,

Edition: 1st Printing

Publisher: New York, Da Capo Press: 2001

ISBN Number: 030681028X

ISBN Number 13: 9780306810282

Binding: Trade Paperback

Book Condition: Good

Seller ID: 2304076

Keywords: EDWARD RICE CAPTAIN SIR RICHARD FRANCIS BURTON SECRET AGENT WHO MADE PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA DISCOVERED KAMA SUTRA BROUGHT ARABIAN NIGHTS TO WEST LITERATURE BIOGRAPHY TRAVEL EXPLORER ADVENTURE,