“Like many noteworthy men, he was slightly nuts.”
I used to have the same problem with Richard Burton as with Francis Bacon: I knew about the guy who married Elizabeth Taylor twice, and about the funky painter, but I also knew, vaguely, there were other historic men with those same names.
So I appreciated this one page primer on Richard Burton, “Britain’s most flamboyant adventurer.” I’ve extracted for you three essential biographical details:
- “the young Burton had brought his music lessons to an end by smashing a violin over the head of his teacher”
- “he was eventually said to be proficient in an astonishing total of 40 languages and dialects”
- he “turn[ed] out endless manuscripts (including A History of Farting)”
Forgive my unsolicited candor, but it’s entirely possible he led a more interesting life than you or I ever will.
As for the other guy (the one not known as “Ruffian Dick”):
It was forty years ago he and Ms. Taylor decided to heed hope instead of experience. In Botswana.