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Portland, OR, 97209


All good except the turkish delight

James Kellerman

Sir Richard Burton, sounds like a fantastic guy to have at your next dinner party. Of course he did introduce Turkish delight so it's not all positive.
He was the first non-Muslim to make a successful pilgrimage to Mecca posing as one of the faithful, and the first to penetrate the ancient kingdom of Harar, in Somalia. He was the first Westerner to discover Lake Tanganyika, in an attempt to find the source of the Nile. He served as a spy in peacetime India and as an officer in the Crimean War. He prospected for gold in Egypt, West Africa, and Brazil. He wrote what is thought to be the best book on sword fighting of the nineteenth century. He introduced the word “safari” into the English language and is said to have introduced Turkish delight [a candy consisting of jellylike cubes] to Europe. He was one of the earliest translators of the Kama Sutra and of the Arabian Nights, and he also wrote poems in the manner of the classics of Arabic literature. … Explorer, anthropologist, linguist, erotologist, universal genius - [he] could easily have turned up as a character in a Joseph Conrad novel. - Joseph Epstein, New Yorker (11/23/98) Via the ever excellent Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society