Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
(800) 937-3880

Lot #189
Richard Francis Burton Handwritten Manuscript Draft for 'Vikram and the Vampire'

Burton drafts a tale for 'Vikram and the Vampire,' his retelling of an ancient Sanskrit story

This lot has closed

Estimate: $2000+
Sell a Similar Item?


Burton drafts a tale for 'Vikram and the Vampire,' his retelling of an ancient Sanskrit story

English explorer, translator, writer, soldier, and diplomat (1821-1890) renowned for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa, as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. Partial handwritten draft manuscript by Richard Francis Burton for a tale from 'Vikram and the Vampire,' totaling nine complete pages plus some attached (and detached) fragments, 6 x 7.75, with the title amended from "How a woman once told the truth" to "How a woman was once made to tell the truth," being a story supposedly told to Rajah Vikram by a demon. The manuscript begins: "In the City of Dharmapur was a physician Manka by name, a man renowned for the art of healing as Chanaka himself. How he acquired his reputation it is difficult to say, for he has entrusted most of his difficult cases to assistants, called in the barber when bleeding was necessary, left bone setting to the herdsman…But he invariably dosed his patients with arsenic or arsenious acid which according to him were panaceas. When anyone died of the remedy which not infrequently happened, he quoted a versicle from Sasratas infallible work, proving that the man ought not to have died, at least just then. And when anyone was cured he paraded the case and boasted of it to such an extent that—one lie breeds a score—in a short space of time it became as good as twenty cures." In overall good to very good condition, with fragile repaired tears, chipping and paper loss to edges, and one page just a fragment.

Vikram and the Vampire: Classic Hindu Tales of Adventure, Magic, and Romance by Richard Burton was first published in 1870. It is a freely adapted collection of vampire tales from a larger work called Kathasaritsagara, written in Sanskrit sometime before 1070 by the Kashmiri court poet Somadeva. The original tales are much more condensed than Burton's reworking, which he adapted from a Hindi version called Baital Pachisi. Interestingly, this draft differs dramatically from any of the tales published in the memorial edition of Burton's work.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #689 - Ended April 17, 2024