Back Cover Copy
SEXUALITY / ART
Sexual frankness--without a hint of guilt or prurience--is the great legacy which the Eastern, and in particular Indian, traditions have given us. Here, for the first time, Sir Richard Burton and F.F. Arbuthnot's translations of three classic Eastern love texts have been published in one volume, illustrated in color with a dazzling and unique collection of Indian painting and sculpture.
These erotic treatises are not “sex manuals” in the modern sense--clinical collections of coital postures--but a more encompassing and sensitive exploration of Eastern sexual customs. The idea that something as natural as sexuality could be shameful in any way would have been incomprehensible to the old sage Vatsyayana who wrote Kama Sutra as a religious duty nearly 2,000 years ago. Kalyana Malla wrote his Ananga-Ranga with the worthy intention of preventing “separation of the married pair.” And even if Sheikh Nefzawi was a little less pious in intention, he can be forgiven for the poetry and humor in his Perfumed Garden.
As an expression of human culture, and as a “pillow book” for the modern boudoir, the Kama Sutra (the most famous work on sex ever written), the Ananga-Ranga, and Perfumed Garden set forth the principles of sexual pleasure with candor and grace, celebrating the science of love as an ecstatic expression of life's beauty.
SIR RICHARD F. BURTON (1821-1890) was one of the greatest traveler-explorers of history, whose life has recently been chronicled both in biography (Captain Sir Richard Burton) and film (Mountains of the Moon). Famous as the translator of The 1001 Arabian Nights, Burton also searched for the headwaters of the Nile and was the discoverer of the central lakes of Africa. Orientalist, prolific author, and member of the Royal Geographic Society, he was one of the most remarkable and controversial men of his century.