All about Sir Richard Burton — at least — look at how this stacks up…
“…more than a century after his death, he is still considered the world’s greatest erotic anthropologist.” Page 13.
What sold the book, from a list I subscribe to, for me, was two-fold. Three. Price for the digital version, suggestion the book was from a long-lost Richard Burton diary, and the publisher’s note.
Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade, Yucca, and Good Books imprints, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fiction–novels, novellas, political and medical thrillers, comedy, satire, historical fiction, romance, erotic and love stories, mystery, classic literature, folklore and mythology, literary classics including Shakespeare, Dumas, Wilde, Cather, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
But more about Burton?
“for our records indicate a history of Burton’s single-minded independence, which borders on insubordination, and a marked disinclination to do as he is told.” Page 14.
Me? I just adored that. I can hear the British accent, “…a marked disinclination to do as he is told….”
The proffered journal bits are written in a hand that is obviously a raconteur’s voice, part cad, part jerk, part adventuresome soul.
How did Mark Twain say it?
“There was a thing or two he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.” (Huck Finn)
There’s an ease, and also a suggestion of that breezy, but still couched in Victorian words, frame of reference.
“NEXT DAY: IN REVIEW, I realize it is my curse to be struck with contradictory thoughts as I write and perhaps even more so the next day.” Page 42.
“At this moment I wondered if the new Americans had run all the Indians off this land, or if the Red Man had decided to just pick up and leave out of a sense of moral disgust.” Page 81.
But I have to wonder. There were other comments, similar, and some even more pointed, not that any British Explorer had any kind of moral high ground, but —
After one gruesome scene, I have to wonder if this was an antecedent to Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972.
“God only knows what the future holds for the American political system. If this spectacle is any indication it may be studied better as a case study in mass hysteria rather than as a proper system of the electoral process.” Page 92.
So it would seem, the insanity of the American political system? It really hasn’t changed that much since the 1860 convention.
Rather remarkable, in some ways, a British Victorian Explorer, looking at a piece of American history. The analogies to Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and his legendary substance abuse hold true, plus, in both cases, that total lack of objectivity.
And, at the halfway point in the novel, a sidekick with a penchant for alcohol, the big spit, and opium. Plus, apparently, a suitcase full of money.
Good reading material.
Veracity of source is not checked, I can only surmise that it feels true.
Richard Burton coined the term Extra Sensory Perception. —Ed.
Footnote to chapter X, to a note about a liabon (psychic/shaman in Africa) and a Hoodoo Priestess in New Orleans. Not much has changed?
“Along with Southern slavery, the uprooting and movement of the American Indian is a national disgrace.” Page 219.
Not much changed.
“This journey, which originated in a mud hut in Zanzibar and was forged by an enigmatic and even spiritual hunt for humanity, has cumulated in a realization that all of humanity is one and that the beast is a disease of the species and not particular to any people.” Page 244.
Not much has changed. Suggest it is a clear antecedent to Fear and Loathing, but that could be me.
A stunning gem of a piece of work of dubious literary or historical value, but should be required of any online diarist if only as a style guide for form and content. Although, as such, there is much more.
Rewarding reading unless one is too deeply entrenched in a personal mythos.