Page:The Perfumed Garden - Burton - 1886.djvu/14

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xii
Notes of the Translator

quered. I am glad to render them here my thanks.

Amongst the authors who have treated of similar subjects, there is not one that can be entirely compared with the Cheikh; for his book reminds you, at the same time, of Aretin, of the book "Conjugal Love," and of Rabelais; the resemblance to this last is sometimes so striking that I could not resist the temptation to quote, in several places, analogous passages.

But what makes this treatise unique as a book of its kind, is the seriousness with which the most lascivious and obscene matters are presented. It is evident that the author is convinced of the importance of his subject, and that the desire to be of use to his fellow-men is the sole motive of his efforts.

With the view to give more weight to his recommendations, he does not hesitate to multiply his religious citations and in many cases invokes even the authority of the Koran, the most sacred book of the Mussulmans.

It may be assumed that this book, without being exactly a compilation, is not entirely due to the genius of the Cheikh Nefzaoui, and that several parts may have been borrowed from Arabian and Indian writers. For instance, all the record of Mocailama 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 of "Birds and Flowers," by Azeddine el Mocadecci, seems to have been consulted with respect to the interpretation of dreams. But an author certainly is to be commended for having surrounded himself with the lights of former savants, and it would be ingratitude not to acknowledge