Monday, January 28, 2008

Sex with squeaky clean hair

There’s a book (not new translation) on the KamaSutra by James McConnachie called The Book of Love: In Search of the Kamasutra. I currently own five copies of the KamaSutra, my first being the Richard Burton translation. Actually, that was a bad beginning since Burton confused rather than edified me. And it wasn’t the Victorian English--it was because all the sage advice regarding seduction, usually began with “shampooing” various body parts. All the impromptu (and extensive) shampooing fairly boggled my mind until I got my first year of college Sanskrit and realized that “shampoo” was probably “champu” i.e. massage. So much for my impression that those lusty ancient Indians had squeaky clean hair.

According to The Guardian review, McConnachie’s book depicts the KamaSutra as an anti-feminist male fantasy--I wonder if he’s seen the Wendy Doniger translation, which attempts a decidedly feminist take on sexual pleasure in the KamaSutra.

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