Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890)
This Richard Burton never met Elizabeth Taylor. He was an English explorer, spy, diplomat, scholar, and great adventurer. He was a world-class bad boy, expelled from Oxford University in 1840. He enlisted in the infantry and served in India. His enthusiastic “investigation” of gay brothels caused him to be sent back to England to cool off.
He was fluent in four languages before he was 20-years-old, and he would eventually learn 25 languages. But, he never said “no” in any of them.
Burton’s 10-volume translation of The Arabian Nights (1885) was so salacious that it had to be privately printed in London. Each volume had only 1000 copies printed, available only to Burton Club subscribers with a special television offer.
In 1853, he made a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina while in disguise, and in 1858, he the first white dude to find the source of the River Nile, Lake Tanganika.
He was married, but when Burton died, his wife burned his unpublished translation of the Arabian sex manual, The Scented Garden. She also destroyed Burton’s 40 years of diaries, which included detailed descriptions of his gay sexploits.
Burton wrote a best-selling English translation of the Eastern guide to sexual positions, Da Kama Sutra.
Burton’s Terminal Essay (1888) was the first ever History Of Homosexuality published in English. I’m hoping for a film version with Ryan Gosling, Ryan Kwnten and Ryan Reynolds.
The film Mountains Of The Moon (1990), starring hunky Patrick Bergin as Burton, relates the story of the Burton-Speke exploration and subsequent controversy over the source of the Nile.
I think that Burton would have made an ideal camping buddy.