Richard Burton painted by Frederic Leighton.
Richard Burton painted by Frederic Leighton
ca. 1872-1875.

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

    • This 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 click here.

    • Richard Burton was a handsome man. To view pictures of him click here.

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