The City of the Saints, and across the Rocky Mountains to California

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The British explorer Sir Richard F. Burton (1821-90) was a colourful and often controversial character. A talented linguist and keen ethnologist, he first gained celebrity for his adventurous 1853 trip to Mecca, conducted under the disguise of a pilgrim. He remains famous for his translation (with the British orientalist Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot) of The Kama Sutra (1883), a daring enterprise in the context of the Victorian society. First published in 1861, this book is an account of Burton's 1860 trip to Salt Lake City. It offers a geographical and ethnological study of Utah that focuses on the Mormon church. In the course of his research, Burton was able to meet the Mormon prophet Brigham Young, leader of the Latter-Day Saints and founder of Salt Lake City. Burton describes various Mormon customs, showing particular interest in polygamy, which he treats with critical distance and his characteristic sense of humour.

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Cambridge University Press
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