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Kamasutra: A New Translation (Oxford World's Classics Series)
     

Kamasutra: A New Translation (Oxford World's Classics Series)

by Mallanaga Vatsyayana, Sudhir Kakar (Translator), Wendy Doniger (Translator), Sudhir Kakar (Translator)
 

The Kamasutra is the oldest extant textbook of erotic love. But it is more than a book about sex. It is about the art of living—about finding a partner, maintaining power in a marriage, committing adultery, living as or with a courtesan, using drugs—and also, of course, about the many and varied positions available to lovers in sexual intercourse and the

Overview

The Kamasutra is the oldest extant textbook of erotic love. But it is more than a book about sex. It is about the art of living—about finding a partner, maintaining power in a marriage, committing adultery, living as or with a courtesan, using drugs—and also, of course, about the many and varied positions available to lovers in sexual intercourse and the pleasures to be derived from each.
The Kamasutra was composed in Sanskrit, the literary language of ancient India, sometime in the third century, probably in North India. It combines an encyclopedic coverage of all imaginable aspects of sex with a closely observed sexual psychology and a dramatic, novelistic narrative of seduction, consummation, and disentanglement. Best known in English through the highly mannered, padded, and inaccurate nineteenth-century translation by Sir Richard Burton, the text is newly translated here into clear, vivid, sexually frank English. This edition also includes a section of vivid Indian color illustrations along with three uniquely important commentaries: translated excerpts from the earliest and most famous Sanskrit commentary (thirteenth century) and from a twentieth-century Hindi commentary, and explanatory notes by the two translators.
The lively and entertaining introduction by translator Wendy Doniger, one of the world's foremost Sanskrit scholars, discusses the history of The Kamasutra and its reception in India and Europe, analyses its attitudes toward gender and sexual violence, and sets it in the context of ancient Indian social theory, scientific method, and sexual ethics.
"[This] new translation is fascinating, thought-provoking and occasionally even amusing."—Salon.com

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A radically different view of the famous sex manual."—The New York Times

"A fresh translation of the Kamasutra, gloriously rendered by Wendy Doniger and Sudhir Kakar. Put Doniger, one of the University of Chicago's top historians of religion, and Kakar, India's leading psychoanalyst of sex, together and you've got the kind of moxie and revisionist energy that lead some to try 'splitting the bamboo.' In a highly entertaining and learned 57-page introduction packed with crisp insights and droll asides, they put the Kamasutra in historical context, outline its numerological conceits, and clarify its gender ambiguities. Thanks to two nervy scholars, we now have a Kamasutra in which everyone's on top."—Philadelphia Inquirer

"A new look at the ancient Indian textbook of erotic love has fleshed out—and in some cases corrected—the original translation from Sanskrit into English, done in 1883 by explorer and writer Sir Richard Burton."—Chicago Tribune

"The Kamasutra is one of those rare publishing gems, an ancient Hindu treatise on sex and romance that has engaged generations of serious scholars as well as lesser minds like Homer Simpson. Far from being an ancient dime-store manual, the Kamasutra comes off as a potent social commentary. Nonetheless, it is also a terribly sexy book."—Religion News Service

"If you're a serious student of sex, or of India, or if you and your honey want to read each other a different kind of pillow book, the new translation is fascinating, thought-provoking and occasionally even amusing."—Michael Castleman, salon.com

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780192839824
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
05/28/2003
Series:
Oxford World's Classics Series
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.53(d)

Meet the Author

Wendy Doniger is Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago. She is the author of The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade and Siva, The Erotic Ascetic. Sudhir Kakar is Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University. He is the author of Shamans, Mystics and Doctors: A Psychological Inquiry into India and Its Healing Traditions.

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