Saturday, 3 July 2021

There Have Been Many Great Explorers,

for myself,

Sir Richard Francis Burton has got to be my personal favourite, photograph courtesy of, why do I admire him so much? if you do not want to go to the link here is a brief resume of his life from his web page,

'Soldier, explorer, linguist, ethnologist, and controversialist. Mostly self-educated, he mastered half a dozen Eastern languages after joining the Army of the East India Company in 1842, and produced ground-breaking ethnological studies of Sindh in the early 1850s. He then completed a famous pilgrimage to Mecca, in 1853, disguised as a Pathan; became the first European to visit the forbidden city of Harrar in 1855; served with Beatson's Horse in the Crimea in 1855; led the expedition to East Africa that in 1858 discovered Lake Tanganyika and, through his deputy John Hanning Speke, the headwaters of the Nile, Lake Victoria Nyanza. After ascending the Cameroons Mountains in 1862, he led a notable mission to the King of Dahomey in 1863; rafted down the Rio São Francisco in Brazil in 1867; collaborated in the publication of the Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga; and in the 1880s translated the poetry of Camoens from Portuguese, and the first unexpurgated 1000 Nights and a Night from Arabic. He wrote over 80 books, from travel and exploration to anthropology, archaeology, ethnology, poetry and Eastern Literature'.

I should also mention that he travelled widely in Asia, Africa, and America, and was a very talented linguist, being able to speak twenty-nine languages, including French, Romani, Saraiki, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Portuguese, Swahili, and Hebrew, so it was with great interest that I found these for sale,

a uniformly bound set of Richard Burton's famous translation and notes of the Arabian Nights,

this set published in London, by The Burton Club,

but he also published under the 'Kama Shastra Society' to avoid the consequences of the Victorian obscenity laws. 

complete in sixteen volumes. 'Arabian Nights', or 'One Thousand and One Nights', is a collection of folk tales from the Middle East,

the roots of the tales being traced from Greek, Indian, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Jewish folklore,

Burton's translation is celebrated, but was only able to be printed in subscribers-only editions upon the publication, due to the sexual content in the tales, which were frowned upon at the time,

how times have changed, this set could be yours for just £1,300.00, at Rooke Books, as an aside after his death his widow Isabel burnt what many believed to be his greatest work, The Scented Garden, plus many other unpublish manuscripts, such a waste.

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