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This paper explores the way in which first English translation of "The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana" (1883) was strategically grafted into English culture, in particular into the library and into the bedroom, as the authority on the (Indian) art of love. I argue that the text emerges at the intersection of discourses on the Orient and on sexuality, and that consequently it both provides a powerful position from which to challenge English sexual morality, and draws upon and contributes to the depiction of India as an essentially different culture. The "Kama Sutra" is both appropriated and at the same time left in place. It is my contention that this dual location of the text constructs 'repressed English sexuality as something which can only be found elsewhere, on the other side of a border.
Third World Quarterly © 2005 Third World Quarterly