burton in Liang 2012

ere was this leak, in the old house or in the
new? I spent some time looking at the books themselves: many of them I greeted
like old friends. I see you have Lewis Hyde’s _Trickster Makes the World_ and
Edward Rice’s _Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton_ in the pile: both top-class
books. (Burton is a bit of an obsession with me. The man did and saw
everything there was to do and see, and thought about it all, and wrote it all
down in a massive pile of notes and manuscripts. He squirrelled a fraction of
his scholarship into the tremendous foo

ow made a bonfire in the backyard, and burnt
everything because she disapproved of these products of a lifetime’s labors,
and of a lifetime such as few have ever had, and no one can ever have again. I
almost hope there is a special hell for Isabel Burton to burn in.)

Moving from one’s personal pile to the burning of the work of one of the
greatest autodidacts of the nineteenth century and back it was strangely
comforting to be reminded that libraries—the greatest of time machines


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