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The Kama Sutra by Vatsyayana
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The Kama Sutra

by Vatsyayana

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English (12)  French (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
The book is an ancient text related to sex and personal relationships. It is somewhat interesting but much of it relates to Indian caste systems, harems, and relations of the king. The potions are inevitably useless and much of the advice is useless. ( )
  GlennBell | Jun 14, 2013 |
This is more of a glimpse into the cultrual attitudes towards sexuality more than a sex manual. Intriguing, if not always intereting. ( )
  srboone | Apr 19, 2013 |
Note that this doesn't include the "two essential commentaries" or whatever that Cindy read, which makes it 300 pages shorter and much much better. And look how pretty it is! need.
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
Everyone knows what The Kama Sutra is about. Right? Well, for those of you laughing at me or looking at me askance, maybe you don't know quite so much as you think you do. Yes, it is about sex, but, more than that, it is a study of pleasure, of courtship. Only one chapter focuses on sexual positions, although the other chapters do include other sexual acts.

This new edition of The Kama Sutra does not have any pictures of how to accomplish the sexual positions. Disappointed? Well, there's always the cover and the inside flaps. Reading this, I'm a bit curious how the work became known as a book full of pictures of sexual positions. Certainly, Vatsyayana does describe a fair number, but probably not as many as are in the books that have been published. My own theory is that people came up with a bunch more positions while trying to figure out the ones Vatsyayana described, with limited detail.

From a historian's viewpoint, this was a really neat book to read. One thing I read for particularly was the treatment of women. Now, considering that it's from roughly the third century CE, women are obviously property. Their role is to be subservient. Still, I was somewhat impressed with two things. 1) Vatsyayana also wrote this with women in mind, and included discussions of how a woman can come to have power over her lover or husband. 2) Vatsyayana openly says that women can have strong sexual drives. This is something that is often denied still today.

On the other hand, some of the advice is spot on, and modern males could still learn from it. For example, Vatsyayana says that "One needs to study a woman's behaviour when making a pass at her." Very true. Women are generally going to give off some hints, some signals telling you whether or not they are interested. Being able to read these signals is an art. Of course, his next piece of advice, should she for some strange reason, not be interested is that in some cases "she is available, but by force when they are alone." Not so good. Oh, ancient value systems.

Despite having been written by a celibate focused on meditation, The Kama Sutra really strikes me as the guidebook of a 3rd century Barney Stinson. Seriously, think about it. Within there are precise descriptions on how to bed women of every variety, along with consideration of sexual positions and how to be attractive. "A paste of rosebay, ginger and dried plum leaves" was probably the old school Indian method of 'suiting up.' Or not. Haha. But seriously, it is so much more awesome to read while thinking about this. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
The Kama Sutra is one of the most popular and most controversial written works in history. Its exotic yet universal nature is appealing to a wide range of personalities, and its reputation as a visual how-to for sexual amusement is well-known.

There are hundreds of versions of the illustrated Kama Sutra, with various styles and for a plethora of target audiences. But despite its cliché, The Kama Sutra was originally considered the mark of a well-rounded education. And if you’re looking for the cliché, you won’t find it here.

The Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, newly translated by A. N. D. Haksar, and published this week, is a focus on the work’s original historical and social importance, rather than a collection of sexual positions. In fact, the closest you’ll get to any of that is on the cover, designed by Malika Favre. The interior is all a linguistic dance around the methods and means of seduction, marriage and passion. But for all that, for all that it could be, it’s rather dated and lackluster.

The sexist nature of the original work does not translate well for a twenty-first century audience. Sure, sex is sex and it hasn’t changed a whole lot in the last 50,000 years, but the idea that a man must bewitch a woman or that forcible marriage (by way of kidnapping, rape, and/or murder) is necessary, or that it’s okay to seduce the wife of another man if that man has treasure that belongs to you…these ideas are crude, dated, sexist and just plain uncomfortable. Even the more benign concepts of marriage, which establish women as the keepers of the home and maintainers of a sanctuary for their husbands, are now (though perhaps most recently of all the changes) outdated.

Add to that the descriptions in the chapter on “Esoteric matters” (wherein we learn that a certain powder “…when mixed with monkey shit and sprinkled over a virgin girl, ensures that she is not given to another man.”) and you’ve got a relatively unattractive volume of advice on sexual socialization that has little bearing on today’s world.

Lauren Cartelli
www.theliterarygothamite.com ( )
  laurscartelli | Feb 22, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (140 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vatsyayanaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arbuthnot, F. F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burton, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delfos, GillesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kliphuis, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamairesse, E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rau, Santha RamaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sade, D.A.F. deContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spellman, John W.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tieken, HermanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the beginning, the Lord of Beings created men and women, and in the form of commandments in one hundred thousand chapters laid down rules for regulating their existence with regard to Dharma, Artha, and Kama.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140622535, Paperback)

The 1964 publication of Sir Richard Burton's translation of the "Kama Sutra" was celebrated as a literary event of the highest importance. As vital to an understanding of ancient Indian civilisation as the works of Plato and Aristotle are to the West, the "Kama Sutra" has endured for 1,700 years as an indisputable classic of world literature. Written with frankness and unassuming candour, the "Kama Sutra" remains one of the most readable of all the classics of antiquity. A work of philosophy, psychology, sociology, Hindu dogma, scientific inquiry and sexology, it is an indispensable key to understanding Indian culture.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:40 -0400)

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Presented for a 21st-century; includes a selection of previously unpublished col. illus.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1405329890, 1846141095, 0140455582

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