Richard Francis Burton: The Victorian Adventurer And Spy Who Brought The Kama Sutra To The West – ATI

Sir Richard Francis Burton’s obituary described him as “one of the most remarkable men of his time” and he certainly lived up to that distinction. A linguist, soldier, explorer, spy, and author (among many other things), Burton lived a life of almost unparalleled adventure that spanned nearly five continents and seven decades.

As a boy, the world-traveling Burton had an extraordinary talent for languages (by the end of his life, he was supposedly fluent in around 40) and claimed he could speak Greek and Latin before he was five.


Burton’s linguistic skills made him an ideal intelligence officer and he was able to assimilate into local cultures as a spy, during which time he was renowned for not breaking character for days on end thanks to his language skills.

Go to the site to read more about his adventures including his undercover pilgrimage to Mecca, his search for the source of the Nile in East Africa with Speke and his translation of works like The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night and The Kama Sutra, which at the time was considered pornography. Read more..

Actor and writer Rupert Everett takes a revealing and witty journey retracing the steps of one of his great heroes — the infamous Victorian explorer and sexual whirlwind, Sir Richard Burton. Labelled ‘Dirty Dick’, in part for his translations of the Kama Sutra and The Arabian Nights, to others Burton was a pioneer, bringing new cultural ideas of sex and religion from the East to the West.

A documentary team retrace Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke’s journey through Africa, searching for the source of the White Nile.

You’ll be hard pushed to ever find a more interesting biography than this. An absolute must read..


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