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The Collector of Worlds: A Novel of Sir Richard Francis Burton

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  621 ratings  ·  93 reviews
This fictionalized account imagines the life of Sir Richard Francis Burton — a nineteenth-century British colonial officer with a rare ability to assimilate into indigenous cultures. Burton's obsessive traveling took him from England to British India, Arabia, and on a quest for the source of the Nile River in Africa. He learned more than twenty languages, translated The Ar ...more
Hardcover, 453 pages
Published March 24th 2009 by Ecco (first published 2006)
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Ich weiß schon eigentlich, warum ich etwas gegen zeitgenössische deutsche Literatur habe. Irgendwas ist mit dieser Generation passiert: sie können einfach nicht vernünftig schreiben! wahrscheinlich hat sich in ihnen der Gedanke fest gesetzt: ein gutes buch muss kompliziert sein... von der gepflegten Erzählkultur, wie sie sich zum Beispiel die Angel-Sachsen erhalten haben, halten diese neuen deutschen Schriftsteller so gar nichts.
Ich dachte, der Weltensammler wäre anders und ich beschloss dem buc
Der britische Offizier Richard Burton bereist im 19. Jahrhundert Indien, Arabien und Afrika.

Mit einer Mischung aus Camouflage und Mimikri taucht der Entdecker und "Meisterspion" in fremde Rassen, Kulturen, Sprachen und Religionen ein, absorbiert einfach alles aus der fremden Welt und liefert für die britischen Kolonialherren als Spion wertvolle Aufzeichnungen und Innenansichten.
Meist lässt Burton sich von der Umgebung völlig emotional mitreissen und manchmal distanziert er sich mit seinem brit
Literate and no doubt well-researched, I was still left somewhat disappointed.
The book is divided into three important chapters in Burton's life: His years as a soldier in India, the daring Haj disguised as one of the faithful and the trek in east Africa to discover the source of the Nile. But it still brings us no closer to Burton the man.
One would be better off picking up one of the excellent biographies written about Sir Richard, i.e.: Burton by Byron Farwell; A Rage To Live by Mary Lovell o
A very interesting novel about Sir Richard Burton that focuses on three segments of his life: his time in British India during which he translated the Kama Sutra, his performance of the Hajj in Arabia, and his voyages in East Africa with John Speke to find the source of the Nile. In each case, the story is told not so much from Burton's perspective as from the local people of the areas with whom he interacted.

In India this is his servant who is telling his story to a letter writer in order to g
The Victorian age was the last great age of exploration, and Sir Richard Francis Burton was the greatest explorer of them all. His life beggars description; he was a spy, he spoke 22 languages (at least), he discovered the source of the Nile, he was the first European to make the pilgrimage to Mecca -- in disguise -- he was the first person to translate the Kama Sutra into English. And on and on. My favorite story from his life was the time in Somalia when he was attacked in the middle of the ni ...more
Als ich dieses Buch zum ersten Mal aufschlug, war ich durchaus begeistert. Die Handlung kommt faszinierend vor: ein britischer Abenteurer erlebt Kulturen von Indien, Arabien, und Afrika im 19. Jahrhundert. Er ist ein sprachbegabter Wissenschaftler und Forscher, der keinerlei Angst davor hat, unter dem hiesigen Volk zu leben und von ihrer Weltanschauung zu lernen, ganz im Gegensatz zu den anderen Europäern, die sich zu dieser Zeit außerhalb von Europa aufhielten. Diese exotische Geschichte sollte ...more
THE COLLECTOR OF WORLDS. (2006). Iliya Troyanov. ***.
Disappointing. I was looking forward to reading this novel based on the life of Sir Richard Francis Burton. The author is a German writer, and this book garnered several prizes in his country and turned into a best seller. Burton is one of those people I’d like to go back in time for in order to meet. I am continually amazed at all he was able to accomplish, especially considering the lack of what we today consider standard amenities, e.g., el
Anne Nikoline
Jul 26, 2015 Anne Nikoline rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Anne Nikoline by: second semester
I cannot give a book more than a single star when I could barely finish it and had to skip through several pages just to feel closer to the end. That said there are positive things to say about Der Weltensammler by Iliya Troyanov. For instance, I enjoyed the writing, and another thing was how difficult I found it to actually give myself completely to the novel, which is also a thing I dislike, but I think this might also be a positive thing, because the author wanted to write a book about how im ...more
Reading this book was hard work. Firstly the German writing style is difficult. Secondly there was no drama.
The story gave only a ghostly sketch of Sir Richard Burton, who somehow did not come to life.
No doubt that the man was a fascinating character, a linguist and a traveller who was the first westerner to go on pilgrimage to Mecca. A man who translated the Kamasutra and spoke so many languages, and lived so many different lives.
The book only gives glimpses of his personality through the re-t
I had a lot more hope for this book. I read some pretty impressive pre-pub buzz and was psyched to get my hands on a proof. I found that it wandered without purpose, which was a little ironic since Burton notoriously wandered with purpose. I felt that since it was a novel, the author could have taken a little more license with Burton so you felt you knew him at the end, instead, the constant shifting of perspective from Burton to 3rd party observers deprives the reader of any intimate knowledge ...more
Темата е много интересна- доколко можем да се слеем с различните от нас, да се претопим в чуждото, в" другото". В същото време книгата представлява интригуващ опит за психологически портрет на една изключителна личност. Сериозна писателска заявка.:-)) Обаче не можах да я дочета. Самият начин на повествование ми беше монотонен и в един момент просто се почувствах блокирана да продължа. Въпреки това, впечатленията ми от автора са много добри и смятам да опитам с други негови книги в бъдеще.
Antoaneta Mitrusheva
Просто не се справих с тази книга. Опитвах няколко пъти, но четенето й никак не вървеше. Не заради съдържанието, колкото заради формата - не знам дали заради автора или заради преводача/защото оригиналът е всъщност на немски език/, но буквално се спъвах на всяко второ изречение. Езикът не ми хареса, конструкцията на изреченията и абзаците - също. Четях я мудно, трудно.
А може би подходих към книгата с твърде големи очаквания. Или не избрах точния момент за четенето й.
There are small treasures throughout this book - a fictionalized narrative of the life of the explorer Richard Francis Burton. Troyanov finds in Burton's life all the contradictions of the
British Empire: he underlines those contradictions by switching from the story as experienced by Burton and the story as recalled by those whose cultures he collected during his life. This will bear repeat readings.
Een boek om niet meer weg te leggen: met het verhaal van Richard Francis Burton op reis door Brits-India, Arabië en Oost-Afrika.
"Voor het eerst aanschouwen geciviliseerde ogen een meer dat niet mooier zou kunnen zijn, hoewel de schijn eerst spreekwoordelijk heeft bedrogen, want het meer deed zich aanvankelijk voor als een glinsterende streep, een aanfluiting, een povere beloning voor alle inspanningen, een verpletterende teleurstelling, maar een paar stappen later, als de zon niet meer door het
The Reader's Bookshop
Absolutely one of the best novels I've ever read. It's about Richard Burton's travels through India, Asia, and Africa. Well crafted, brilliantly written - a real pleasure to read. The middle part is a bit challenging but well worth it by the time he gets to Africa. Highly recommended for the serious reader.
Steph Johnson
This book is beautifully written in English and so the translator must have done an amazing job. The structure is different, fresh and quirky, but the story is lyrical and entrancing, Sehr gut!
I wasn't sure if I was going to finish this book, especially after the writing style seemed a little too full of itself, maybe even pretentious. And full of unfamiliar words -- either outdated or foreign to me -- that required a quick search of the dictionary to keep me going. It reminded me of other German historical fiction books I'd tried to read and quit on, but I kept going.

I am glad that I persisted, because it really was an enjoyable read. Not having known anything about Sir Richard Franc
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Trotz eher schlechter Kritiken meiner Bekannten habe ich mich an dieses Buch getraut und bin froh darum!

Dieser Roman ist die halbfiktionale Biographie des britischen Abenteurers und Entdeckers Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890). In Indien auf einen ereignislosen Militärposten versetzt, beginnt er, Sprachen zu lernen, sich für neue Kulturen zu interessieren und sich auf diese einzulassen. Diese Fähigkeiten und seine persönlichen Charaktereigenschaften bringen ihn später als einer der ersten E
This book tries to get in the head of Richard Burton the same way that Hilary Mantel's books get in Cromwell's head.

There are three distinct segments. India is where he first learns to become fluent in the languages and customs of the local population (mostly to gather intelligence). He then goes on the Hajj. Finally he leads an expedition from Zanzibar to the source of the Nile.

Each segment is told partly from Burton's point of view and partly from the view of a servant or local official. For
“Weltensammler” in the original German but the “worlds” in the title could equally have been “words” as I misread it when I picked up the book in Kingston Canberra recently. This best seller from a Bulgarian born writer is a fictionalised account of Richard Burton’s historic and notorious journeys to India, Mecca and the source of the Nile in Africa. Burton as a young subaltern with the East India Company in India before the mutiny was a wonderful autodidact who became fascinated with languages, ...more
This book is hard work. There are just too many words, not enough editing and not enough happening to justify it. I can't fault the erudition of the author, and I also accept that I did read a translation, but nevertheless, the only way I could get through it was skim read.

The book is set in three parts, all documenting part of the life of the explorer, Richard Burton, and his experiences in India, the Middle East and Africa. Each was told from a different point of view - the first by his servan
David Randa
Ilija Trojanow lets you walk alongside the collector of worlds, protagonist, Richard Burton in a world that is not only strange to the victorian explorer but even more remarkable to modern man. Trojanow lets Burton introduce us to, or rather he lets the figures whom Burton happens to cross paths with, the wonders of an unexplored world - a world filled with people to be studied, dark areas of maps that needs filling, novel languages that call for tongue twisting manoeuvres as well as questions o ...more
Marthe Bijman
The Collector of Worlds (English edition, 2009

Sir Richard Burton was an explorer, littérateur and professional maverick who had the ability to change his character and appearance as slickly as a chameleon on a painter’s palette. In the late 19thcentury, there were still undiscovered realms in the British Empire, and Sir Richard had a yen to find the source of the Nile. En route, he inveigled himself into the cultures of the countries in which he lived, even making the hajj pilgrimage, indistingu
Beautifully written, at times frustrating (the reader has to do a fair amount of work, particularly in the second section). I don't quite agree with the reviews that wanted Burton described more; I think the book does a wonderful job of painting the inner motivations and turmoil of him through these three adventures.

Next up: a true biography to provide more background on what seems to have been an incredible life.
Klaus Metzger
Ein interessanter Abenteuerroman über den englischen Offizier Richard Burton, der als Forschungsreisender, Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts, anonym in Indien, Arabien und Afrika gereist ist, um das Wesen der fremden Kulturen kennenzulernen und zu verstehen. Insbesondere der Abschnitt über Indien hat mich interessiert (Vorbereitung für unsere Radjasthan-Rundreise im Oktober 2007).
John Irving
Great read about a legendary colonial hero of India, Arabia and Africa. Perhaps a bit long winded in places but great insights about how the Brits were seen in India, the inside story of a trip to Mecca, and the battle for honors with unspeakable John Speake in discovering the source of the nile.
It is a book about the otherness. I have experienced the otherness of its language as well as my neglecting to read further, to undersand further the alienation between ideas and those words that were more visual than written. The narrative itself fosters alienation, a blunt rejection of knowledging and power.

The scribe, the servant, the storytelling lover - deeply immersed into words, they re-create their worlds. Be native, or be other. Is there a difference.

At some point, the otherness ceases
Friederike Knabe
Imagining the life of historical figures can be illuminating, engaging and/or entertaining. The story of Sir Richard Burton's life didn't satisfy this reader in any of these attributes. Some of the time, yes. But with 520 pages it delved into too many minutiae that the story lost my attention.
The book is a fictional biography for the great explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton told in 3 sections with a preface and conclusion. Each is told in alternating reminisces of a servant and Burton. The first covers his early career in the West India British military. Not one to seek or fit in the the typical officer, he learns languages and dresses as a native. On being transferred north to Muslin territory, he adopts Islam dress and customs. Part two of the book covers his time in Cairo and his ...more
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  • Das Wetter vor 15 Jahren
  • The Have-nots
  • Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit
  • Imperium
  • Nichts als Gespenster: Erzählungen
  • Plan D
  • Der Turm: Geschichte aus einem versunkenen Land
  • No Place on Earth
  • The Last World
  • Day In Day Out: A Novel
  • Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton
  • A Proper Education for Girls
  • Eating Mammals: Three Novellas
  • Youth / Heart of Darkness / The End of the Tether
  • Es geht uns gut
  • Der Nazi & der Friseur
  • Das zweite Königreich
  • Nach Hause schwimmen
Ilija Trojanow (bulgarisch Илия Троянов) ist ein deutscher Schriftsteller, Übersetzer und Verleger bulgarischer Abstammung.
Ilija Trojanow im deutschen Wikipedia

Ilija Trojanow (Bulgarian: Илия Троянов) is a Bulgarian-German writer, translator and publisher.
Ilija Trojanow in the English Wikipedia
More about Ilija Trojanow...

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“Слънцето трябва да залезе и да се издигне месецът, докато Кайро се отвори като мида и се разкире красотата му в силуетите."
"Някои палми накланят глави сред вятъра, нощта е чудна във всеки отрязък, благодарение на собствените и на чуждите духове,а той, самотният пътешественик, не може да си представи мръсния, припрян, пронизителен и потискащ живот през деня."
"Понякога напращелият град се уригваше. Всичко миришеше на разложения от стомашни сокове. Накрая на улицата лежеше полусмялно слепоочие, което щеше скоро да се разтече. Една лъжица загребваше от месестата част на презряла папая, на връщане от пазара петите не излъхваха пот,а кориандър. Той не знаеше какво го отвращаваше повече, морският бриз, по време на отлива, носещ гнилия дъх на водорасли и плажни медузи, или уханията на мюсюлманската закуска от вътрешности на коза, запържвани върху малки печки. Пътеката на човечеството бе постлана с коварни изкушения."
"Най-непоносими са шумовете: гукащите гълъби в отворения шкаф, дрезгавогласни и свадливи от любовно усърдие, огромните котки, които минават през скелето на покрива и ридаят от ненаситна разгоненост."
"Те рецитираха първата сура, фатихах, насочили длани към небето, сякаш искаха да уловят някакво благословение, което слизаше от небето върху кораба."
"Ричард Франсис Бъртън умря рано сутринта, когато нишките бяло и черно бяха неразличими. Над главата му висеше една персийска калиграфия на която пишеше:
И това ще отмине.”
“Тази поразителна неразбория, която звучи така, сякаш думите са били хвърлени с прашка. Посред безумието. Затова забраних всякакво говорене.
- Писарите пред вратата...
- Едно прошение трябва да се отправи писмено. Пред съда не се говори. Само присъдата говори. Тук всекидневно цари мълчание. Опитвам се накарам тези хора да схванат колко е важно да се обуздава говоренето.”
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