Rage to Live Summary

Rage to Live

The Welsh author, Mary S. Lovell, has gained acclaim for her biographies of female adventurers, including STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING: THE BIOGRAPHY OF BERYL MARKHAM (1987), THE SOUND OF WINGS: THE LIFE OF AMELIA EARHART (1989), and CAST NO SHADOW: THE LIFE OF THE AMERICAN SPY WHO CHANGED THE COURSE OF WORLD WAR II (1992). While Markham and Earhart are well-known subjects for discussion, CAST NO SHADOW details the amazing exploits of the Allied spy Amy Elizabeth Thorpe Pack. A proven stickler for getting her facts right, Lovell took on the task of fleshing out Isabel Burton in order to fully understand what made Isabel’s marriage to such a complicated figure as Richard Burton not really the mismatch that scholars previously had thought. A man of large appetites, Burton was an accomplished linguist, anthropologist, explorer, author, and much more. Bold to a fault, Burton’s curiosities and rebellious nature made him a great adventurer but also made him feared (and even hated) by many of England’s Victorian elite.

Isabel Arundell was born into a respectable family who were aghast at her attraction to the outspoken ruffian Richard Burton. Having gained access to new archival material, Lovell is able to show how independently minded Isabel was also and that these two rebellious souls were meant to fall in love with each other. They became a team and Lovell brings Isabel out of the shadows of myth, rumor, and lies. One of the most exciting men of the nineteenth century, Burton comes fully alive in this biography as does the woman who was his partner through all the triumphs and tribulations.