Doubters, Believers, Seekers in Literature and Film
Edited By Julian Ernest Preece, Frank Finlay and Sinéad Crowe
JULIAN PREECE - Faking the Hadj? Richard Burton Slips between the Lines in Ilija Trojanow’s Der Weltensammler 211
JULIAN PREECE Faking the Hadj? Richard Burton Slips between the Lines in Ilija Trojanow’s Der Weltensammler More than forty years ago Fawn Brodie counted ten biographies in English of the British explorer, Orientalist extraordinaire, and possible Muslim convert, Sir Richard Francis Burton.1 There have since been numerous others, as well as films, television series and documentaries, and novels. After T.E. Lawrence (1888–1935) at the beginning of the twentieth century, Bruce Chatwin (1940– 89) was inspired by him. Just before Ilija Trojanow (1965– ) set off on his trail in India, Arabia, and East Africa to research his biographical novel Der Weltensammler (2006), Christopher Ondaatje reimagined the Indian part of Burton’s career, which also takes up the first part of Trojanow’s novel.2 Burton is known, perhaps curiously, more through accounts of his life writ- ten by others than by his own writings. He is a figure of contemporary myth whose significance can be presented and interpreted in numerous ways. Only a small number of his own books has stayed in print (either on paper or on the Web).3 For obvious reasons he has always been a British hero, his pres- ence in non-English speaking culture being comparatively slight. As in the English-speaking world, his scholarly erotica (such as The Kama Sutra and The Perfumed Garden) and pioneering translation of The Arabian Nights 1 Fawn Brodie, The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Francis Burton (London: Eland, 1986/2002), p. 2. First published (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1967), p. x. 2...
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