Thursday, March 19, 2009
Happy birthday, Sir Richard Francis Burton.
The writer, translator, and explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton—seeker of the source of the Nile (dramatized in The Mountains of the Moon with Patrick Bergin as Burton and Iain Glen as John Hanning Speke) and the first Englishman to visit Mecca—was born today in Hertfordshire in 1821. More on his life and work can be found in Dane Kennedy's The Highly Civilized Man: Richard Burton and the Victorian World. As part of his always entertaining Cliff Janeway series, John Dunning posed an intriguing premise for Burton's trip to the United States in 1860; see The Bookman's Promise (2004).