Orientalism, Islam, and Eroticism: Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton and the Arabian Nights

Randall, Vicky ORCID: 0000-0002-4923-3070 (2021) Orientalism, Islam, and Eroticism: Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton and the Arabian Nights. Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature, 139. pp. 1-17. doi:10.1353/vct.2021.0001

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The year 2021 marks the bicentenary of Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821–1890). This discussion assesses Burton's career as a Victorian soldier, explorer, and writer through the theoretical framework of Edward Said's Orientalism. Burton spent years immersed in the languages and cultures of the Arab-Islamic world; while serving as an agent in the British Empire, he also challenged assumed western social and moral superiority to eastern cultures. Burton's controversial translation of the Arabian Nights (1885–1888) reveals his resistance to British sexual norms by presenting the East as a site of erotic liberation. Defying censorship laws, Burton delighted in displaying his knowledge of eastern pornography and homosexual practices. As a landmark of European scholarship and a book considered shockingly explicit by contemporaries, Burton's Nights proves to be the major work of an enfant terrible of the Victorian fin de siècle.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature was formerly named The Victorian Newsletter (ISSN: 0042-5192)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2023 14:25
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2023 10:02
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/12414

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