Classical Sanskrit literature boasts an exquisite canon of poetry devoted to erotic love. In Erotic Poems from the Sanskrit, noted translator and scholar R. Parthasarathy curates a selection in a new verse translation that introduces readers to Sanskrit poetry in a modern English vernacular. The volume features works by seventy-two poets, including seven women poets and thirty-five anonymous poets, primarily composed between the fourth and seventeenth centuries. It includes a detailed introduction that guides readers through Sanskrit poetic forms and explains how to read and appreciate the poems in English. Erotic Poems from the Sanskrit seeks to represent the breadth of Sanskrit poetry through the ages and to present a cohesive, thematically unified selection when read as a whole. The works in this volume depict licit and illicit love, speaking to the joys and sorrows of consummation and separation and a broader cultural celebration of the pleasures of the flesh. Often sexually explicit, they are replete with recurrent scenarios and striking tactile, visual, and olfactory images, whose resonance and use as motifs across eras are expertly explained.
Parthasarathy shows that Sanskrit poets are our contemporaries despite the centuries that separate us, as they speak simply and passionately to a wide range of human experience. Erotic Poems from the Sanskrit offers English-speaking readers an enticing and tantalizing initiation into the riches and beauty of this venerable poetic tradition.
R. Parthasarathy is professor emeritus of English at Skidmore College. He is the editor and translator of The Tale of an Anklet: An Epic of South India (Columbia, 1993).
Acknowledgments Introduction Abhinanda That's How I Saw Her Amaru Who Needs the Gods? In a Hundred Places A Taste of Ambrosia Pincers The Bride Anon Lovers' Quarrel The Pledge A Lover's Welcome Regret Stonehearted Feigning Sleep Remorse Walking the Street by Her House The Sheets A Woman Wronged Aubade Like the Wheels of a Chariot The Word An Invitation The Traveler The Devoted Wife The Kingdom's Happiness Hair Wild Nights Thank Offering At the Cremation Ground On a Rainy Day When Winter Comes Jewels The Creaking Bed She Protests Too Much She Doesn't Let Go of Her Pride The Ways of Love A Lover's Word The Hawk A Needle Time Wasted The Scholar's Life Foolish Heart Supreme Bliss Bana In a Corner of the Village Shrine Bhartrhari Wise Men Poets' Excesses The Love Game Hips Fear of Death Desire Alone Adoration of Woman The Poet Speaks to the King Contentment Man's Life Old Age White Flag Bhaskara II Elementary Arithmetic Bhavabhuti The Critic Scorned Bhavakadevi Bitter Harvest Bhoja Scrambling Out of the Water Bilhana Bite Marks In Life After Life All for Love Devagupta Drumbeats Dharmakirti The Way Jagannatha Panditaraja Indra's Heaven Jaghanacapala Wife Kalidasa Flight of the Deer Such Innocent Moves Blessed Sleep Karnotpala The Lamp Kesata The Camel Ksemendra All Eyes on the Door Ksitisa The Red Seal Kumaradasa Alba Kutala Furtive Lovemaking Magha The Art of Poetry Scent Mahodadhi Stop Being Willful Morika Don't Go Murari Hidden Fingernail Marks An Actor in a Farce Rajaputra Parpati Blow Out the Lamp Rajasekhara Her Face Rudrata What the Young Wife Said to the Traveler Sarana Girl Drawing Water from a Well Siddhoka The Empty Road Silabhattarika Then and Now Sonnoka Driven by Passion Sriharsa The Smart Girl In Her Direction Vallana Sea of Shame On the Grass The Essence of Poetry Varaha Poring Over a Book Vidya Hollow Pleasures Complaint The Riverbank Vikatanitamba The Bed A Word of Advice Yogesvara Far from Home When the Rains Come Notes Sources of Poems Bibliography Credits Index of Titles and First Lines Index