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Third Natures

Christopher Minkowski: The Kāmasūtra, 21 June 2018

Redeeming the ‘Kamasutra’ 
by Wendy Doniger.
Oxford, 181 pp., £14.99, March 2016, 978 0 19 049928 0
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... history is also noticeably weak: there have been no attempts at a ‘scientific’ edition. Wendy Doniger is just the person to tackle this text. Just as Karņa, the undervalued hero in the Mahābhārata, was born with armour embedded in his skin, making him all but impervious to spears and arrows, so ...


Gillian Bennett: Self-impersonation, 3 November 2005

The Woman who Pretended to Be who She Was: Myths of Self-Impersonation 
by Wendy Doniger.
Oxford, 272 pp., £17.99, January 2005, 0 19 516016 9
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... potential and let her true self emerge from the shadows. This is one of the masking patterns which Wendy Doniger discusses in her fascinating book, a sequel to The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade (2000). From an impressively wide range of sources, from Hollywood movies to Indian myths, she selects stories of women (and occasionally men) who use ...

My Stars

Graham Hough, 21 March 1985

The Magical Arts 
by Richard Cavendish.
Arkana, 375 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 1 85063 004 6
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Astrology and the Third Reich: A Historical Study of Astrological Beliefs in Western Europe since 1700 and in Hitler’s Germany 1933-45 
by Ellic Howe.
Aquarian, 253 pp., £5.95, October 1984, 0 85030 397 4
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The Astrology of Fate 
by Liz Greene.
Allen and Unwin, 370 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 04 133012 9
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Dreams, Illusion and Other Realities 
by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty.
Chicago, 361 pp., £21.25, June 1984, 0 226 61854 4
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Fruits of the Moon Tree: The Medicine Wheel and Transpersonal Psychology 
by Alan Bleakley.
Gateway Books, 311 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 946551 08 1
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... worth having from these forays have always had something to guide them other than myth itself. Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty is prepared to face these dangers, and for part of her way she has a sturdy guide. Dreams, Illusion and Other Realities is a difficult book to describe. It is in part a work of learning – very rich and generous learning at ...


Zoë Heller, 7 March 1996

Off with Her Head! The Denial of Women’s Identity in Myth, Religion and Culture 
edited by Wendy Doniger and Howard Eilberg-Schwartz.
California, 236 pp., £32, October 1995, 0 520 08839 5
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Hair Style 
by Amy Fine Collins.
Prion, 160 pp., £40, November 1995, 1 85375 200 2
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... If anyone knows about the allure of hair it’s little girls. Between the ages of seven and twelve, girls groom their Barbies and each other with an intensity bordering on the freakish. At least they did in my day. Among the females in my class at primary school, hair-styling, or, more accurately, hair-fondling, was far and away the playground pursuit of choice ...

Pick the small ones

Marina Warner: Girls Are Rubbish, 17 February 2005

Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet: Women in Proverbs from around the World 
by Mineke Schipper.
Yale, 422 pp., £35, April 2004, 0 300 10249 6
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... insider knowledge.* Proverbial wisdom cuts both ways. Consider the gender of the gnome that Wendy Doniger puzzles over throughout her book The Bedtrick: ‘In the dark all cats are grey.’ In a sense Schipper’s rubric actually serves to reduce the attention she pays to the vicious inequalities listed in these proverbs – wife-beating, despair ...

A Frog’s Life

James Wood: Coetzee’s Confessions, 23 October 2003

Elizabeth Costello: Eight Lessons 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 233 pp., £14.99, September 2003, 0 436 20616 1
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... scholars were invited to reply to Coetzee – Marjorie Garber, Peter Singer, Barbara Smuts and Wendy Doniger – and all of them struggled in different ways to read his meanings. Singer seemed to suggest that Coetzee’s device was fundamentally evasive. ‘It’s a marvellous device, really. Costello can blithely criticise the use of reason, or the ...


Richard Stern, 15 August 1991

... manner were graceful; his disciples seldom had even the ponderous grace of Disney’s elephants. Wendy Doniger told me later that she’d danced with Derrida and that he was ‘a fantastic dancer’.Sunday, I went to a buffet supper where Derrida, in striped shirt and tie, looked even more elegant, and once again exhibited his warmth, openness and ...

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