7 - 8 April 2004
[BURTON, Richard Francis]. The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. Part I. With a Preface and Introduction. [- VII, And Concluding Remarks]. London [Pt. I] and Benares [Pt. II-VII]: Printed for the Hindoo Kama Shastra Society. For Private Circulation Only, 1883.
7 original parts, 8° (245 x 154mm - 250 x 157mm). Original printed wrappers, Part I pale green, Part II-VII fawn or light tan, continuous pagination, additional general title-page in red and black bound-in at end, in a maroon moiré cloth box with gilt calf cover label, (3 parts a little chipped at spine).
FIRST EDITION, EXCEPTIONALLY RARE FIRST ISSUE OF THE FIRST KAMA SHASTRA SOCIETY PUBLICATION in fine, original condition. The Kama Shastra Society had a membership of two: Burton and 'Bunny' Arbuthnot, a close friend since their days in India in the 1850s and a fellow student of Hindu erotic literature. The Obscene Publications Act of 1857 applied only to publicly circulated material; the 'Society' circumvented its strictures and its publications were anonymous. But it was short-lived, commencing with this work and ending with Burton's death in 1890. The Benares (and later Cosmopoli) imprints were merely a ruse to conceal the true place of publication. Only 250 sets were published of the Kama Sutra and in 1923 Penzer noted that 'the edition in parts was soon exhausted, and is now practically unobtainable.' The general title-page bound in Part VII was printed for a second, Benares edition later the same year. Penzer p. 163-171. Casada 83. Spink 83. (7)
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