Sir Richard Burton as Totemic Pantomime Demon in Postcolonial Theory

John Wallen


The present article examines the ways in which the travels and journeys in Arabia and other Muslim lands of Richard Francis Burton, the nineteenth-century explorer and writer have, since the influential work of EdwardW. Said on Orientalism, been somewhat undervalued by contemporaries. It aims to offer a re-evaluation of those works and their contribution to Victorian knowledge. It will also offer a challenge to Said’s account of Burton and, particularly in the second part, look at ways in which Burton has been viewed more generally by post-colonial theorists since Said’s influential work.



Richard Burton, Edward Said, Postcolonialism, Orientalism, Victorian explorers, Victorian science

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a) First Editions of Burton’s Works

Burton, Richard Francis, ed. and trans. The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. With Introduction Explanatory Notes on the Manners and Customs of Moslem Men and a Terminal Essay upon the History of the Nights. Printed by the Kama Shastra Society For Private Subscribers Only. Printed in 10 volumes, 1885.

Burton, Richard Francis, ed. and trans. The Supplemental Nights to the Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night. Printed by the Kama Shastra Society For Private Subscribers Only. Printed in 6 volumes, 1886-1888.

Burton, Richard Francis. First Footsteps in East Africa. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1856.

Burton, Richard Francis. The Gold-Mines of Midian and the Ruined Midianite Cities. London: C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1878.

Burton, Richard Francis. The Jew The Gypsy and El Islam. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1898.

Burton, Richard Francis (with F.F. Arbuthnot). The Kama Sutra of Vatsayana. London: Kama Shastra Society, 1883.

Burton, Richard Francis. The Kasidah of Haji Abdu El-Yezdi a Lay of the Higher Law. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1880.

Burton, Richard Francis. The Lake Regions of Central Africa, A Picture of Exploration. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860.

Burton, Richard Francis. The Land of Midian Revisited. London: C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1878.

Burton, Richard Francis, ed. and trans. The Perfumed Garden of the Cheikh Nefzaoui, A Manual of Arabian Erotology (XVI. Century). London: Kama Shastra Society of London and Benares and for private circulation only, 1886.

Burton, Richard Francis. Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah. First edition in 3 volumes. London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts, 1855-56.

Burton, Richard Francis. Stone Talk. London: Hardwicke, 1865.

b) Other Editions of Burton’s Works

Burton, Richard Francis. First Footsteps in East Africa. New York: Dover Edition, 1987.

Burton, Richard Francis. The Gold Mines of Midian. New York: Dover Publications, 1995.

Burton, Richard Francis. The Land of Midian (Revisited). Volumes I & II, C. London: Kegan Paul & Co., 1879.

Burton, Richard Francis. The Perfumed Garden. New York: Park Street Press, 1992.

Burton, Richard Francis. The Pilgrimage to Makkah and Medina. New Delhi, India: Goodword Books, za, 2002.

Burton, Richard Francis. The Sotadic Zone. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Fredonia Books, 2002.

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