In 1961 Robert van Gulik published his pioneering overview of
Sexual Life in Ancient China. This edition of the work is preceded by an elaborate
introduction by Paul Rakita Goldin assessing the value of Van Gulik’s volume, the subject itself, and its author.
The introduction is followed by an extensive and up-to-date
bibliography on the subject, which guides the modern reader in the
literature on the field which appeared after the publication of Van Gulik's volume.
One of the criticisms in 1961 regarded the Latin translations of passages deemed too explicit by Van Gulik.
In this 2002 edition all Latin has for the first time been translated into unambiguous English, thus making the full text widely available to an academic audience.
R.H. van Gulik, (1910-1967) studied Law and Oriental Languages at the Universities of Leiden and Utrecht, and in 1935 took his doctor's degree with honours on a thesis dealing with the horse cult in India, Tibet, and the Far East. Having entered the Netherlands Foreign Service in that same year, he held posts in Tokyo, Chunking (Nanking), Washington, New Delhi, Beirut, and Kuala Lumpur. His last posting was as Netherlands ambassador in Japan. Dr. van Gulik, who, after his thesis, continued to make valuable contributions to Sanskrit and Far Eastern studies, is also well-known as the author of the series of detective stories about Judge Dee.
Paul R. Goldin is Associate Professor of Chinese Thought at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of
Rituals of the Way: The Philosophy of Xunzi (Open Court, 1999), and
The Culture of Sex in Ancient China (University of Hawai’i Press, 2002). He is also a co-editor of the
Reader of Traditional Chinese Culture (University of Hawai'i Press).
"...brilliant and unexpectedly enlightening…" – Donald Holzman, in:
T'oung Pao "...brings many precious and thorough statements on social, cultural and sexual habits of Ancient China…" – T. Pokora and J. Mellan, in: