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Author on trail of fearless explorer

PUBLISHED: 18:10 22 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:32 25 August 2010

A FORMER schoolteacher will be meeting readers and signing copies of a book he spent more than 20 years researching.

A FORMER schoolteacher will be meeting readers and signing copies of a book he spent more than 20 years researching.

Jon Godsall, 78, from Bexleyheath, has written The Tangled Web: A Life of Sir Richard Burton, published last month. He will be signing copies at the Central Reference Library, in Bexleyheath, on Saturday, November 1, from 11am until 12.30pm.

The book by the grandfather-of-six details the many facets of one of the greatest personalities of the Victorian age.

Sir Richard Burton was a soldier, explorer, traveller, anthropologist, scholar, linguist, swordsman and author.

He is best remembered for a journey he made in 1853 when he disguised himself as a Muslim to go on a pilgrimage to the holy cities of Medina and Mecca. He then made an arduous journey to the forbidden city of Hara in the Ethiopian highlands.

Mr Godsall, former deputy headteacher at Danson Primary School, said Burton's greatest legacy was his translations.

But one of the most famous texts he is credited with translating - the Indian book on sexual behaviour, the Kama Sutra - was not his work. He said: "It was translated by his friend, Foster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot, with the help of Indian scholars, and Burton was just asked to tidy it up but he gets all the credit for it.

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