A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton

A Rage to Live A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton Describes the accomplishments of the British explorer and scholar and the relationship between him and his unconventional wife

  • Title: A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton
  • Author: Mary S. Lovell
  • ISBN: 9780393046724
  • Page: 388
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Describes the accomplishments of the British explorer and scholar, and the relationship between him and his unconventional wife.

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      Published :2019-01-09T12:53:59+00:00

    1 thought on “A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton”

    1. This is a great dual biography of Richard Burton (the explorer, not the actor) and his wife Isabel. Burton was a fascinating man of the nineteenth century British Empire, and Isabel was his ideal mate - a woman so compatible with the interests and ideas that fired Burton that one can only use the hackneyed phrase "a match made in heaven". This in spite of the fact that Burton was, practically speaking, an atheist, while Isabel was a firmly believing Catholic all her life (though not, because of [...]

    2. I have to admit that although this took me a long long time to read I was incredibly impressed with the amount of detail that seeped through the pages. Perhaps the only other biography that I have read that compares and probably falls short to this in terms of detail is the biography of Winston Churchill by Roy Jenkins. Burton was an incredible incredible character the likes I just guess we will not get to see because people will be too distracted by technology to be interested in some of the fi [...]

    3. Sir Richard Burton has been an idol of mine since childhood. This is the third biography I've read of him, and it's simply the best. I savored every paragraph of this book like it was a delicious steak. Burton spoke 29 languages, was an avid swordsman, soldier, and fighter. He explored the lake regions of Africa, helped solve the mystery of the source of the Nile, successfully snuck into Mecca, and wrote volumes about previously unstudied cultures around the world.Mary S. Lovell really did her r [...]

    4. This is the third biography that I have read of the 19th century explorer, adventurer, linguist, scholar, and Satan’s body double Richard Francis Burton, and it is by far the best. (Yes, Burton, who was tall, broad-shouldered, intimidating, and very dark, often shocked others with his Mephistophelean look; it didn’t help that Burton liked to shock.) As a young officer in British India, Burton learned several of the native languages and was able to pass, in the service of intelligence, as a t [...]

    5. Mary Lovell has written a number of biographies of intrepid women, such as Beryl Markham, Amelia Earhart, and Jane Digby, so it should come as no surprise that she is nearly as focused here on Isabel as she is on Richard, infinitely the more famous of the two. Personally, I've always felt that Isabel was a bit of a harridan, but Lovell takes great pains to defend her and create a more balanced picture here. The Burtons had incredibly rich lives, and Lovell leaves few stones unturned as she descr [...]

    6. Very few people in history are more interesting than Richard Burton. If Kipling had made him up in one of his books, he would have been too unbelievable. Out of his long list of accomplishments, being the first person to translate the Kama Sutra into English is one of my favorites. He was an amazingly brave, original thinker in all aspects of his life, including his romantic relationships. His attitudes toward women, sex, and his relationship with Isabel is fascinating.

    7. This is another great biography about Sir Richard. But this one is centered on the intense love he had for his wife Isabel and her support of him throughout his adventurous career. A wonderful book. Devoured it from cover to cover. A great story about one of the most renown explorers this world has ever seen and the woman he loved and who loved him. I can't say enough about this book.

    8. Of the remarkable things Burton did in his life, being married to Isabel Burton doesn't even make the list. Rather than read about what their marriage was like, I yearn to understand why a man covered in scars from Sufi mystic dervish ceremonies, who soaked his skin in walnut oil to pose as an Egyptian physician on a Hajj, to sought the source of the Nile, who fought Somali pirates, wrote and translated libraries of literary, historical, anthropological, and sociological works - how a man like t [...]

    9. True RomanceA thoroughly researched, thoughtfully and intelligently written work about one of the great, but controversial men of the Victorian Era and of the wife who appears to have been his soul mate. This is an incredible love story, expressing, loyalty, fortitude, endurance and mutual support through many highs and lows.

    10. I'd give this 5 stars for the writing and research, but only 3 for the subject, so I've made it an average of 4. Previously I've thoroughly enjoyed several of Mary Lovell's biographies but this one didn't really work for me. Don't get me wrong, it was as brilliantly researched as ever, it was beautifully written and it contained some fresh material. What's more Ms Lovell isn't shy of giving her opinion, something I very much value in a biographer. No, the problem was not the writer but the subje [...]

    11. A biography of Richard Burton - 'but not the famous one', as Mary Lovell humourously observes in her introduction. But in his day, of course, Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton was the famous one, indeed the only one. He was a soldier, scholar, linguist, explorer, spy, geographer, diplomat, writer - the kind of Victorian polymath we don't tend to see anymore. He spoke more than 25 languages - upwards of 40, apparently, if you include dialects. He was instrumental in introducing the British publi [...]

    12. Five star research, three-and-a-half star writing. Best of all: a scintillating five star subject.This, the more interesting, Richard Burton was one of the most fascinating characters of the nineteenth century. Polyglot (he mastered twenty-nine languages in the course of his life), adventurer-geographer (he was the first white guy to describe Lake Tanganyika), adventurer-adventurer (he travelled in disguise to Mecca and Medina and the “forbidden city” of Harrar), fencing master, translator o [...]

    13. I thoroughly enjoyed this book - the first full-length biography of Burton that I had read, with the biography of his almost equally extraordinary wife a distinct plus. It is certainly a "full length biography" but the story is so fascinating and so lucidly and engagingly told that I found myself keen to keep reading page after page.The author is very sympathetic to Burton, but is certainly not uncritical. I enjoyed the perspectives and insights into the workings of Victorian Britain, the import [...]

    14. I have not yet read about a more interesting personality than Richard Burton. Just the wide variety of topics that he was interested in, the number of languages he learnt, the places he explored, his frankness and above all his kindness and openness is so refreshing to read. He is probably the only one who readily took on a muslim name. His tolerance of customs and religions is also rare among explorers of his generation. I came across interesting terms such as horripilation (gooseflesh), Zoolec [...]

    15. If you are interested in the life of Richard Francis Burton this is a good book to read. If you are curious about his "better half", a description that many of Burton's biographers and admirers would take serious exception to, this is a great book to read. Burton's life provides more than enough material for a fascinating exploration. Adding a balanced and informed perspective on Isabel Burton simply adds to the experience. True, the last section drags a bit after all of the adventures of Burton [...]

    16. Whenever I read a Mary S. Lovell biography, I'm flooded with historical information, new discoveries through her research and a well told story of VERY interesting people.This was no exception. I dove into this, but as I only read at night after a full day, I chipped away at it over about three months. It didn't mean I wasn't thoroughly enjoying the read, I'm just slow.As is the case with biographies, we all know how most historical biographies end - the hero dies. This is not a spoiler. With Ma [...]

    17. A well-written, brilliantly-researched biography of the man contemporaries called "the most interesting figure of the nineteenth century." Burton's life is absolutely fascinating, and the amount of research Lovell conducted is truly impressive. When Lovell describes Burton's most famous adventures (sneaking into Mecca or exploring East Africa) the book is absolutely excellent. But in between these grand adventures, the book falls flat, and it's obvious that Lovell is writing more to correct prev [...]

    18. Fascinating life from one of these amazing multiple humans in one - intellectual, explorer, a stretch from translating the epopeic Os Lusiadas from my country, to a National Geographic Society hero, Richard Burton is handed over to prosperity by the mistress of biography, Mary S. Lovell. And the book gives the mundane woman like me the pleasure to trick people by mentioning, yes, I just read the biography of Richard Burton (Pause) You know, the explorer.

    19. Great book. Very detailed. I had it on the go as a second book to dip in and out of as the mood took me. He was a complicated, arrogant, hugely intelligent, and very attractive man. I'm left a little bit in love with him. He didn't do politics or diplomacy or religion and it cost him during those deeply conservative times. Such a pity that he didn't get the recognition that was due to him during his lifetime.

    20. The biographer thought there were errors in the Burtons' story, in this book she set out to correct them, notably Richard was not a homosexual, his marriage was not a chaste one and Isabel despite her destroying the manuscript of The Scented Garden after Richard's death was an intelligent and essential part of Richards life. I found the book a little ponderous, perhaps the Burtons' lived a little too much for my taste.

    21. A pretty long read but interesting. Ever since I saw the 1990 movie The Mountains of the Moon I've been curious about Richard Francis Burton's life and adventures. He was driven by an insatiable love of travel. He began the record of his most famous journey to Africa with these words: "Of the gladdest moments, methinks in human life, is the departing upon a distant journey into unknown lands"

    22. Hard to evaluate this as merely a book because the two subjects of this biography, Richard and Isabel Burton, are overwhelming!Well worth reading about their adventures and individual outlooks on an age that could not begin to match their blazing emotions.

    23. While this is the only biography on Either Burton, so I can't comment on whether some of the statements she makes about past Burton research are accurate or appropriate, I enjoyed the book immensely. All one ca say is WHAT A GUY! And, as for Isabel, she put up with a lot!

    24. A great read, entertaining and illumative. I have read no other biography of Burton so find it hard to coment on the accuracy of Lovell's portrayal of this fascinating couple,. I can say I greatly enjoyed reading this biography of a fascinating Victorian couple.

    25. Burton is adventurer extraordinaire. The Che's motorcycle trip through the Americas has nothing on Burton sneaking into Mecca, being the first European to do so without dying.

    26. For fans of Burton or explorers, this book is exceptional and pure genius about a warrior, scholar, linguist,A great book.

    27. Pretty much the best biography of Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton that I've ever read. Unique in that it does not villify his wife.

    28. I read this book many years ago. In my opinion it remains the most objective biographical treatise concerning Richard and his life with Isabella. Excellent.

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