The Kamasutra was written in northern India in the third century AD, when erotic culture lay at the heart of an exquisite civilization.
The Book of Love is a unique portrait of this sensuous era, evoking the world of the pleasure-seeking men - and women - for whom the book was written. James McConnachie shows that the Kamasutra was always much more than a sex manual: it was a passionate portrayal of an ideal lifestyle that was, even then, under threat from the moralists.
He also demonstrates how the outrageous Victorian explorer Richard Burton, with the help of a clandestine coterie of sexual experimenters and iconoclasts, then unleashed this extraordinary volume on English society in an attempt to start a revolution.
And how the Kamasutra was driven underground into the hands of pirate pornographers, before being thrust once more into the daylight, in the wake of the publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover.
The Book of Love tells the story of the life of a work, of how something as fragile as an idea and a way of seeing the world can be cradled between hard covers - and survive.
About the Author
James McConnachie graduated from the University of Oxford in 1996. He is a journalist, travel writer and broadcaster. He has lived and travelled widely in India and Nepal.
Scholarly investigation into the history, purpose and context of the notorious ancient Indian text and its entry into Western society through the efforts of a few Victorian eccentrics.Although modern Western audiences tend to reduce the Kamasutra to a mere sexual-position manual, the contorted, gymnastic poses so firmly associated with it had no place in the original; such illustrations weren't added until centuries later. Nor, to the dismay of its American readers in the late 1960s, does the text unlock the spiritual secrets of tantric erotica, for that tradition emerged much later as well. As first-time author McConnachie reveals in urbane prose, the history of the Kamasutra is a lesson in misrepresentation. Western readers, he writes in one of his strongest sections, consistently approached the book as a reliable source of information about modern, not ancient, Indian sexuality. Its translators, editors and publishers used the Kamasutra to signify whatever they needed it to mean, adding and excising material to better embody each generation's vision of sexuality. The original, written in the third century by Indian philosopher Mallanaga Vatsyayana, contained much broader social instruction, intended to provide an encyclopedia of pleasure for the young, aristocratic male. McConnachie's insightful scholarship restores to the Kamasutra its full history, presented in an easily readable chronology. He focuses primarily on Richard Francis Burton, the work's Victorian-era champion, but crucial chapters at the beginning outline the Kamasutra's early history and its literary progeny, while later pages hint at its divisive and changing role in modern Indian culture. McConnachie's treatment of the rediscovery and reentry of Vatsyayana's erotic "bible" into India seems incomplete, but perhaps that subject would fill another volume by itself.Thorough textual genealogy offering the delights of a page-turner. (Kirkus Reviews)
|The Wheel of Sexual Ecstasy||p. 3|
|Pleasure in the Passions||p. 35|
|The Hindoo Art of Love||p. 65|
|Rending the Veil||p. 105|
|A Doubtful Book in Old Age||p. 137|
|Overwhelming Obscenity||p. 179|
|Kama Commodified||p. 213|
|Note on Sanskrit Spelling and Pronunciation||p. 237|
|Bibliographical Essay||p. 239|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 267
Published: 9th August 2007
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.3 x 16.3 x 3.2
Weight (kg): 0.566
Edition Number: 1