A collection of ten rare and otherwise inaccessible articles by the British explorer Richard Francis Burton

Burton, Richard / N. M. Penzer (eds.). Selected Papers on Anthropology, Travel & Exploration. Now edited with an introduction and occasional notes.

London, A.M. Philpot, Ltd., 1924.

8vo. 240 pp. Red-brown cloth with title information in gilt on spine. Red upper edge.


First edition of a collection of ten quite rare and otherwise inaccessible articles by the British explorer, scholar and soldier Richard Francis Burton (1821-90), compiled and edited by N. M. Penzer, the author of "An Annotated Bibliography of Sir Richard Burton" (1923).

After the publication of Burton's bibliography, Penzer received numerous requests to publish some of the articles he had mentioned but were hard to find by members of the general public. Norman Mosley Penzer (1892-1960) was a scholar who specialised in Oriental studies and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He wrote several original works, for example on cotton in British West Africa (1920) or the mineral resources of Burma (1922), but he was possibly more famous for the works he edited. According to the Royal Geographical Society, Penzer was an eminent authority on Sir Richard Francis Burton but failed to write the definitive biography, though "it was well within his power to do". Apart from his works on Burton, Penzer also edited other anthropological works and even translated the tale of Nala and Damayanti from Sanskrit in 1926.

Penzer consciously made a small selection of Burton's more obscure papers, in order to give an insight into the varied activities and achievements of the explorer's life. Thus, the contents of the present work vary in subject. Burton's travels in India, Ethiopia, Gabon, Syria, and to Mecca are represented in separate articles. The subjects of other articles are more anthropological in nature, as expected regarding the title, such as the history and significance of scalping in different cultures around the world or spiritualism and religion in Africa and the Middle East. Other than the introduction, in which he explains his reasoning for including certain articles, Penzer only included short preliminary and explanatory remarks at the beginning of each paper and the occasional footnote, while Burton's work remained the focal point of the book.

Slight browning and foxing throughout, with an autograph in blue ink on the first flyleaf. Overall in good condition.


Howgego IV, B98. Cf. Shapero, The Islamic World (2003), 158 (another edition).