Foucault And The Kamasutra: The Courtesan, The Dandy, And The Birth Of Ars Erotica As Theater In…

Paperback | June 22, 2016

bySanjay K. Gautam

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The Kamasutra is best known in the West for its scandalous celebration of unbridled sensuality. Yet, there is much, much more to it; embedded in the text is a vision of the city founded on art and aesthetic pleasure. In Foucault and the "Kamasutra", Sanjay K. Gautam lays out the nature and origin of this iconic Indian text and engages in the first serious reading of its relationship with Foucault.

Gautam shows how closely intertwined the history of erotics in Indian culture is with the history of theater-aesthetics grounded in the discourse of love, and Foucault provides the framework for opening up an intellectual horizon of Indian thought. To do this, Gautam looks to the history of three inglorious characters in classical India: the courtesan and her two closest male companions—her patron, the dandy consort; and her teacher and advisor, the dandy guru. Foucault’s distinction between erotic arts and the science of sexuality drives Gautam’s exploration of the courtesan as a symbol of both sexual-erotic and aesthetic pleasure. In the end, by entwining together Foucault’s works on the history of sexuality in the West and the classical Indian texts on eros, Gautam transforms our understanding of both, even as he opens up new ways of investigating erotics, aesthetics, gender relations, and subjectivity.

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The Kamasutra is best known in the West for its scandalous celebration of unbridled sensuality. Yet, there is much, much more to it; embedded in the text is a vision of the city founded on art and aesthetic pleasure. In Foucault and the "Kamasutra", Sanjay K. Gautam lays out the nature and origin of this iconic Indian text and engages ...

Sanjay K. Gautam is associate professor of history at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:June 22, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022634844X

ISBN - 13:9780226348445

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction

1 Foucault and the Notion of Ars Erotica: Pleasure as Desubjectivation
2 Pleasure and Patriarchy: The Discourse of Dharma and the Figure of the Wife
3 The Courtesan and the Birth of Ars Erotica asTheater
4 The Courtesan and the Origins of the Na?yasastra: From Ars Erotica to Ars Theatrica
5 The Dandy-Guru and the Birth of the Discourses of Erotics and Theater
6 The City Dandy and the Vision of the City Based on Art
7 Foucault and the Kamasutra: Parting Ways

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“This is a valuable contribution to Foucault studies. Taking seriously and positively Foucault’s heuristic opposition between an ars erotica and a scientia sexualis, Gautam grounds his reading in an expert account of one of the non-Western traditions of ars erotica to which Foucault refers. It is good to have a careful and non-reductive account of Foucault’s relation to Orientalism.”