Life and Travel Writing

African Adventures | Among the Mormons/American West | Mecca and Arabia | Other | Death

Amazon. Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton by Mary S. Lovell. Nine customer reviews. The hardcover is currently going for $10 (off from $40). For reviews and blurbs on the book see my Books about Burton page.

African Adventures

"Speke's Journal" by Sean Redmond. Review of Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile by John Hanning Speke, (1868; Dover, 1996). The Journal of African Travel-Writing, Number 3, September 1997 (pp. 87-91). An extremely interesting article by a Classics professor at NYU.

Amazon. Burton, First Footsteps in East Africa Or, an Exploration of Harar (Dover edition)

Amazon. Speke, Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile (Dover edition)

Web Archive: In Search of Legends by Jerry Williams. Teachers' guide for a mapping/travel literature project. Covers Burton and Speke's journey closely.

Web Archive: Bugs in the Ear. What impetus did the onscreen auricular insect give to this "urban legend." I didn't know he tried melted butter first. Where did the expedition get butter? Why wasn't it already melted?

Another "Bugs in the Ear" page. I should start a "bugs in the ear" directory.

Burton, The Lake Regions of Central Africa (Dover edition)

Amazon. Burton, Wanderings in West Africa (Dover edition)

"Relocating Burton: Public and Private Writings on Africa" By Greg Garrett for The Journal of African Travel-Writing Number 2, March 1997 (pp. 70-79). Attempts to deal with complexity of Burton's relationship to imperialism and racism.

"While Burton may indeed demonstrate many of the attitudes of his reading public in regard to such things as race and empire, his underlying approach to the people and places he encounters is one of curiosity and close observation of their differences; and while it may also be true that he often denigrates the cultures and peoples he encounters, he often does so under the most trying of conditions. Even under the best of circumstances Burton was hard on any culture, including his own."

"Narrative of a Trip to Harar" Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, v 25 pp.136-150 (June 1855).

Web Archive: The bug-in-ear excerpt from Speke's journal courtesy from Tales from the Jungle: A Rainforest Reader by Daniel R. Katz and Miles Chapin.

Web Archive: The Historic City of Harar with a quote by Burton.

Ebay: "A Journey To The Land Of The Moon," 1860 extract from The Lake Regions Of Central Africa. Includes image. (Ends June 24, 2000)

Web Archive: Images of Lake Tanganyika.

Web Archive: Web Journal on Heart of Darkness by Peter O'Carroll, student at Tulane (19 October 1999). Thoughts on racism and colonialism, touching on Burton. The following seems to be very mistaken:

"Sir Richard Francis Burton, an explorer of a number of regions both inside and outside of the British Empire, serves as an example of the typical Victorian Darwinist." [emphasis added]

Among the Mormons/American West

Burton's minute observations on the towns through which passed the Pony Express, from Pony Express Museum . This functions as the "stations" page of the museum. Burton's tone clashes with the museum's image. On the station at Smith's Creek:

"The station house was no unfit object in such a scene, roofless and chair less, filthy and squalid, with a smoky fire in one corner and a table in the center of an impure floor, the walls open to every wind, and the interior full of dust. Of the employees, all loitered and sauntered about as cretins with the exception of the cripple who lay dying on the ground."
Ah, the romance of the Pony Express!

Read Burton's The city of the saints, and across the Rocky mountains to California (1862) online. Unfortunately, your two viewing options are both poor: the actual page at great magnification or totally unformatted and uncorrected text. It is, however, searchable. From the Utah Lighthouse Ministry.

Web Archive: Adventurer Wrote of the City of the Saints by Harold Schindler for the Salt Lake Tribune. Article on Burton's 1860 visit to "the last of the Holy Cities." For their Centennial Edition (1895-1995).

Richard F. Burton's Log 1860, from The City of the Saints and Across the Mountains to California for a project on pioneer trails of the time.

Burton's comments about the Pony Express stations in Nevada, from Pony Express Home Station. Also includes a brief bio. Other pages with quotes by Burton are here.

Mecca and Arabia

Amazon. Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al Madinah and Mecca by Richard Francis Burton.

Short excerpt from Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah. Burton on Cairo street-life. From John Crocker's History of "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments."

Sir Richard Francis Burton: A Pilgrimage to Mecca, 1853 (Modern History Sourcebook). Excerpt from Eva March Tappan, ed., Egypt, Africa, and Arabia, Vol. III in The World's Story: A History of the World in Story, Song, and Art (Boston, 1914). I need to check this against Burton's own publication. I wouldn't be surprised if it was edited (especially in 1910s Boston!)

Amazon. Burton, The Gold-Mines of Midian.


"The Sentiment of the Sword: A Country-House Dialogue" by Captain Sir Richard F. Burton. Reprinted by Journal of Non-lethal Combatives, February 2000. Written as a sort of addendum to the Book of the Sword.

Web Archive: Selection from Ultima Thule, Burton's account of Iceland (1875). From Ed Jackson's page on 19th-Century Travellers in Iceland.

Burton, The Book of the Sword. Nifty Dover edition of Burton's guide to swordplay.

Amazon. Burton, Goa, and the Blue Mountains : Or, Six Months of Sick Leave , Dane Kennedy (Designer). Newly and attractively reissued by UCLA. Check UCLA's blurb.

Blurb on Selected Papers on Anthropology, Travel and Exploration" by Sir Richard Burton. Edited by N.M. Penzer. A collection of lesser-known papers, such as the intriguingly-titled "Notes on Scalping." (Vedams Books)


Web Archive: Burton's Tomb at Mortlake. Images from Rowena Hart's Richard Burton page. .

Narrative of Burton's agnostic end, and Isabella's religious hopes from Infidel Death-Beds by G. W. Foote and A. D. McLaren. Anti-religious slant.

Web Archive: "The Bonfire of the Manuscripts." Discussion of Isabel's infamous act from Rowena Hart's Richard Burton page. .

Another tomb page. (One new picture?) From "Mike and Clare's Place." has Rowena Hart's images of Burton's grave.

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may also like these other sites by me:

Duels and Dueling on the Web. Information on sword and pistol dueling in Europe and the Americas.

Alexander the Great on the Web. Links to over 1000 images and 200 images of Alexander.

Ibn Battuta on the Web. Everything about the great 14th century Muslim traveler.

( See all my sites )