The Tangled Web: A Life of Sir Richard Burton

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Matador, 2008 - Explorers - 576 pages
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Sir Richard Burton was undoubtedly one of the greatest personalities of the Victorian age: soldier, explorer, traveller, anthropologist, scholar, consummate linguist, skilled swordsman and prolific author. As one commentator remarked: 'No Englishman of the nineteenth century lived a more romantic life'. In this penetrating study of an exceptional man, Jon R. Godsall has thrown a far wider net over Burton's life than previous biographers. Painstakingly researched and containing a wealth of new material never before used, "The Tangled Web" will appeal to all those who are fascinated by the exploits and achievements of this multi-talented, if controversial, character.In 1853, Burton made his famous pilgrimage to the holy cities of Medina and Mecca in Arabia, closely followed by an arduous journey to the forbidden city of Harar in the Ethiopian highlands, service with the notorious Bashi Bazouks, and a trail blazing expedition with John Hanning Speke to the Lake Regions of Central Africa. After visiting the Mormon community in Salt Lake City, Utah, Burton served as HM consul at Fernando Po in West Africa; Santos in Brazil; and, Damascus, from where he was ignominiously recalled by the Foreign Office, and Trieste, where he lived out the rest of his life. During this time, he was able to work on translations of the great Portuguese poet, Camoens, as well as his sixteen-volume edition of "The Arabian Nights" and "The Kama Sutra". He also translated "The Perfumed Garden", the unpublished manuscript of which was burnt by his wife after his death.

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About the author (2008)

Jon R. Godsall grew up in Swansea during the 1930s-40s. Following National Service in the RAF he trained as a teacher, later reading English at London University. After pursuing musical and artistic interests for many years, he turned to the study of the life and career of Richard Burton, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.

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