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Foucault and the KamasutraThe Courtesan, the Dandy, and the Birth of Ars Erotica as Theater in India$
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Sanjay K. Gautam

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226348308

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226348582.001.0001

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The Dandy-Guru and the Birth of the Discourses of Erotics and Theater

The Dandy-Guru and the Birth of the Discourses of Erotics and Theater

(p.153) 5 The Dandy-Guru and the Birth of the Discourses of Erotics and Theater
Foucault and the Kamasutra

Sanjay K. Gautam

University of Chicago Press

Chapter Five focuses on the figure of the dandy guru (viṭa) who straddles the domains of erotics and theater: he is the teacher-advisor to the courtesan and a person with all the necessary skills to be a theater director. It is shown that it was the dandy consort (vaiśika) that evolved in his old age into dandy guru as the teacher, advisor, and planner of the courtesan’s erotic affairs. It was in the figure of the dandy-guru that the existence of courtesan and the nature of her sexual-erotic relations with her patron-consort (vaiśika) became a subject of intellectual reflection, and culminated in the birth of the Bhāṇas, one-act plays in which the dandy-guru appeared as the sole character on stage narrating his experiences in the courtesans’ quarters. It was in the Bhāṇas, grounded in the figure of the dandy guru, that the two discourses of ars erotica and ars theatrica came to be constructed. What may appear like instances of theoretical exposition erotic and aesthetic pleasure by great authors in the Kāmasūtra and the Nātyaśāstra are evident in their discursive form in the Bhāṇas, still attached to the figures and scenes of their historical origin.

Keywords:   Bhāṇas, courtesan, dandy guru, Kāmasūtra, Nātyaśāstra, theater director, vaiśika, Viṭa

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