Richard Burton, orientalism and imperialism

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Richard Francis Burton was one of the most talented figures, complex
and controversial among the personalities who played a role in the action
British imperial world in the nineteenth century. Known today
as the translator of Tales of the Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra, it
was a protean figure who knew more than 25 languages, traveled
in much of the world and published 40 books. Born in 1820,
he had a remarkably full and varied life, soldier, explorer,
Consul of ethnographer, travel writer, poet and polemicist. this was
a holding of scientific racism and the institution of slavery, he believed
to brute force to rule other people. It was also a relativistic
cultural, an admirer of the Islamic world and a fierce critic of society
and government. And he was an agent of British imperialism while
opposing ideological presuppositions. How he sought
to reconcile these positions, seemingly contradictory, helps explain
why it remains a figure that continues to generate much interest.

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