Sketch of the Career of Richard F. Burton

Alfred KINSEY   |   Richard F. BURTON

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Item#: 101188 price:$1,500.00

“IN THE FOREMOST RANK OF THE NOBLE BAND OF ILLUSTRIOUS EXPLORERS”: A SKETCH OF THE CAREER OF RICHARD F. BURTON, 1886—ALFRED C. KINSEY’S COPY, WITH HIS OWNERSHIP SIGNATURE AND BOOKPLATE OF HIS INSTITUTE FOR SEX RESEARCH

RICHARDS, Alfred Bates, WILSON, Andrew, and BADDELEY, St. Clair. A Sketch of the Career of Richard F. Burton. London: Waterlow & Sons, 1886. 12mo, original half brown cloth, stiff glazed decorated card boards; pp. [4] 96. $1500.

Second edition of this contemporary biography of “the celebrated Eastern traveler, author and linguist,” with photographic frontispiece portrait. This copy from the library of Alfred Kinsey’s Institute for Sex Research, with its bookplate and Kinsey’s ownership inscription (“Alfred C. Kinsey, 6-18-45”).

Three different authors trace the life, travels and adventures of a "very extraordinary man, who has toiled every hour and minute… distinguishing himself in every possible way. He has done more than any other six men in Her Majesty's dominions, and is one of the best, noblest and truest that breathes" (page 37). "This is a curious little book, often overlooked in studies of Burton, but it deserves closer attention. Of special note is the frontispiece, pp. 84-96, which prints a scrap of Burton's autobiography and pages 79-82, which contain a 'List of Captain Burton's Works'" (Casada 369).
With Woodburyprint photographic frontispiece, bearing Burton's printed facsimile signatures in English and Arabic. This edition reprints and updates A Short Sketch of the Career of Captain Richard F. Burton by "An Old Oxonian" (1880). Penzer, 305-06. Decorative monogrammatical bookplate of C.J. Peacock. Owner signature of Alfred C. Kinsey, with bookplate of the Institute for Sex Research. Kinsey founded the Institute in 1947, in part, "to create the most complete and most scientific data bank on human sexuality ever compiled… Kinsey hired and carefully trained a team of interviewers to gather more case histories… and he also collected a staggering cache of books, 'how to' manuals, primitive artifacts and implements of an erotic or sexual nature; these were housed at the Institute's library" (ANB). Considering the translated erotica he published through the Kama Shastra Society, Burton likely would have appreciated Kinsey's work. Kinsey had an interest in Burton's: in 1948, in fact, he enlisted Gershon Legman (best known for his scholarly studies of erotic humor) as a bibliographer to "help locate such obscure rarities as… the 16 original volumes of Richard Burton's Arabian Nights with their complex and lengthy footnotes on Levantine sexuality" (Mikita Brottman, Funny Peculiar). Title and library marking written on spine in white ink.

Interior generally clean, with foxing mostly confined to free endpapers; Kinsey's inscription still easily legible. Front joint tender, small, old repair to foot of rear joint; boards with light edge-wear, mild toning to decorations. An excellent copy of a scarce work in near-fine condition, with a notable and intriguing provenance.

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KINSEY, Alfred >
BURTON, Richard F. >