November 7, 2005 Dane Kennedy to Discuss His New Biography of Famed Victorian Richard Burton on Nov. 30

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

Historian Dane Kennedy will discuss his new book, “The Highly Civilized Man: Richard Burton and the Victorian World,” at the Library of Congress at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 30, in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

A book signing will follow the presentation, which is part of the Center for the Book’s Books & Beyond author series at the Library. The program, co-sponsored by the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are needed.

Burton (1821-1890) was one of Victorian Britain’s most intriguing figures: a soldier, explorer, ethnographer and linguist, as well as a poet, travel writer and translator of “The Arabian Nights” and “Kama Sutra.” He is best remembered as a daring adventurer who, in 1853, entered Mecca in disguise and in 1858 discovered Lake Tanganyika on an expedition to find the source of the White Nile. Burton also participated in his generation’s contentious debates on science, religion, sex, race and empire.

In “The Highly Civilized Man” (Harvard University Press, 2005), Kennedy presents an examination of Burton and his contribution to the widening world of the Victorians. Library Journal referred to the book as “scholarly and eminently readable.” Publishers Weekly said, “Kennedy succeeds in re-establishing Burton as a relevant figure for a 21st century world grappling with issues of ethnic, cultural and sexual diversity.”

Kennedy is the Elmer Louis Kayser professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University. The Humanities and Social Sciences Division provides reference and collection development services in the Library’s Main, Local History and Genealogy, and Microform reading rooms. It regularly sponsors programs in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Established in 1977 as a public-private sector partnership, the Center for the Book uses the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy and libraries. For further information about its activities and forthcoming events, visit


PR 05-242
ISSN 0731-3527