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The Perfumed Garden – Sheikh Nefzawi (1888) (1st ed)

S$236.00

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The Perfumed Garden – Sheikh Nefzawi (1888) (1st ed)

S$236.00

Title: The Perfumed Garden

Author: Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Nafzawi, Sir Richard F Burton (trans)

Publisher: Isidore Liseux, Paris, 1888. This is the first trade edition available to the public, after the first private printing by Burton himself in 1886. Scare in all early editions.

Condition: Hardcover, full leather. Recently professionally bound in leather from the original paper boards (hence this is the first actual binding). With leather title labels, sewn end-bands, marbled endpapers. In excellent condition.

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About the book:

The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight (Arabic: الروض العاطر في نزهة الخاطر‎‎ Al-rawḍ al-ʿāṭir fī nuzhaẗ al-ḫāṭir) by Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Nafzawi is a fifteenth-century Arabic sex manual and work of erotic literature.

The book presents opinions on what qualities men and women should have to be attractive, gives advice on sexual technique, warnings about sexual health, and recipes to remedy sexual maladies. It gives lists of names for the penis and vagina, has a section on the interpretation of dreams, and briefly describes sex among animals. Interspersed with these there are a number of stories which are intended to give context and amusement.

According to the introduction of Colville’s English translation, Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Nafzawi probably wrote The Perfumed Garden sometime during the twelfth century. Sheikh Nefzawi, full name Abu Abdullah Muhammad ben Umar Nafzawi, was born among the Berber Nefzawa tribe in the south of present-day Tunisia. He compiled at the request of the Hafsid ruler of Tunis, Abū Fāris ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Mutawakkil, the present work. The reputation acquired by this work in the Arab world was similar to that of the Arabian Nights.

About this translation:

The Perfumed Garden first became widely known in the English speaking world through a translation from the French in 1886 by Sir Richard Francis Burton. Burton mentions that he considers that the work can be compared to those of Aretin and Rabelais, and the French book Conjugal Love by Nicolas Venette. But what he believes makes The Perfumed Garden unique in the genre is “the seriousness with which the most lascivious and obscene matters are presented.” Burton points out that not all of the ideas in The Perfumed Garden are original: “For instance, all the record of Moçama and of Chedja is taken from the work of Mohammed ben Djerir el Taberi; the description of the different positions for coition, as well as the movements applicable to them, are borrowed from Indian works; finally, the book Birds and Flowers by Azeddine el Mocadecci (Izz al-Din al-Mosadeqi) seems to have been consulted with respect to the interpretation of dreams.”

The French manuscript that Burton translated from was one printed by Isidore Liseux in 1886. This manuscript’s last chapter — Chapter 21 — was incomplete, apparently because it contained material on homosexuality and pederasty which had been removed. When Burton died in late 1890, he was working on a new translation of the original manuscript, including this missing chapter. The revised translation, due to be retitled The Scented Garden, was never published as Burton’s wife Isabel burned the manuscript soon after his death.

– from wikipedia