Richard Burton painted by Frederic Leighton
Sir Richard Francis Burton
Explorer of the Sotadic Zone
Do what thy manhood bids thee do, from none but
self expect applause.
He noblest lives and noblest dies who makes and keeps
his self-made laws.
All other Life is living Death, a world where none
but Phantoms dwell,
A Breath, a wind, a sound, a voice, a tinkling of the
— Richard Burton: The Kasidah
These Burton pages are devoted to an early fighter
for the emancipation of male love. His famous (or infamous)
essay on pederasty is reproduced here, complete and
unexpurgated, with added footnote annotation. In addition, I have
written an Introduction to the essay, have reproduced Henry Fowler's
entry on Irony, and have collected some interesting pictures of Burton.
— John Lauritsen
Introduction analyzes Burton's stratagems for eluding the Victorian
censors: his use of irony, ostensibly homophobic language,
“Sotadic Zone”, and foreign languages. The Introduction
also includes brief biographical information. To read it click here.
• An ability to detect and understand
irony is a prerequisite for reading Burton's essay. Henry Fowler's
entry on Irony, from his Dictionary of Modern English Usage, is one of
his finest. To read it click here.
• Burton's essay on pederasty, Section D
of the “Terminal Essay” in volume 10 of the Arabian Nights
(1886), complete and unexpurgated, with footnote annotation. To read it
• Richard Burton was a handsome man. To view pictures of him click here.
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