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Rare Burton Biography

A Sketch of the Career of Richard F. Burton collected from "Men of Eminence", from Sir Richard and Lady Burton's own works; from the press; from personal knowledge, and various other reliable sources.

London: Waterlow & Sons, 1886.

Price: $1,250.00


About the item

First edition. An expansion of the extremely rare "Sketch By An Old Oxonian" of 1880. Woodbury-print photographic frontispiece of Burton. [iv], 96 pp. 1 vols. Small 8vo. Rare Burton Biography. Original stiff black paper wrappers, with large gilt facsimiles of Burton's signature on upper and lower cover, black cloth spine. Flyleaves toned, bookplate of G.E.W. Loder. Near fine copy of a scarce book. Penzer pp. 304-6 ("rare").

Item #366885

The second attempt at a biography of the legendary explorer, linguist, and author Richard F. Burton, utilizing the contents of a short "Sketch" by Richards, Burton's closest friend at Oxford (published in 1880 and unobtainably rare), with new material bringing his life up to 1886 (Burton died in 1890). Contradicting Burton's own later accounts of his unpopularity, Richards wrote that Burton was "brilliant, rather wild, and very popular," at Oxford, adding however that "none of us foresaw his future greatness." The book at hand contains a 47-page biography and various appendices including a 13-page autobiography written around 1856. It was followed by a full-fledged treatment by Francis Hitchman the following year.
The Woodburytype portrait is striking.
An historic, scarce, and curious volume, a prelude to the vast eruption of Burton studies and biographies which was to follow, and which shows no signs of diminishing.