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View Full Version : Real exploration, adventure.



ishmael
06-14-2006, 06:36 PM
I just started a film about Burton and Speke, "The Mountains of the Moon. Burton, an Irish raconteur, Speke, an English semi-aristocrat. They had a bunch of personal issues, but wanted it. From what I've read the film is pretty true. "Find the source of the Nile" was a huge scientific directive in 1850. Burton turns out the more interesting figure, because he was genuinely interested. Speke, a boy with good guns.

Meerkat
06-14-2006, 06:42 PM
Afterwards, a little pussy? :D

ishmael
06-14-2006, 06:56 PM
Speke, if we can believe this film, turned out to be a young homosexual man who fell in love with then betrayed a quite reasonable mentor who had no interest in homosexual coupling.

Though Speke is credited with the discovery of the Nile's source, Burton is a much more accomplished man. Translation of many Arabic texts, including Kyam, as one example.

A bit of a Byronesque figure, Burton. Publisher of sexual observations. Not well liked in Victorian England. Fiery, Celtic, no nonsense. He took on Speke because Speke was skilled, especially in weapons. And Speke, out of ego, betrayed him.

Speke got the credit. A fascinating story, and a pretty good film about it.

ishmael
06-14-2006, 07:08 PM
Burton really was a fascinating character. His final tent, his tomb, is a stone rendition of an African tent, somewhere in England.

One of his claims to fame was that of being the first westerner to make the Haj, at a time when being exposed as a westerner got you beheaded.

He was never well accepted. The Victorians thought him a barbarian. But he kept plugging along.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
06-14-2006, 07:10 PM
To say nothing of Abruzzi.

ishmael
06-14-2006, 07:30 PM
Um, what does Abruzzi have to do with Burton and Speke?

When I look at them, I think what wonderful confidence. Full of all the conflict we are all heir to, they decided to go find the source of the Nile. That confidence was a creature of European, largely English, confidence in themselves.

We can do this, let's go try, even when it eats us up. The same thing ate Scott and company alive at the South Pole, when Norwegians, more pragmatic, made it there and back on what seems a lark in comparison.

Anyway. The African exploration seems pretty brave and interesting to me.