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A Return to Modesty


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Table of Contents




One The War on Embarrassment

Two Postmodern Sexual Etiquette, from Hook-up to Checkup

Three The Fallout

Four New Perversions


Five Forgiving Modesty

Six The Great Deception

Seven Can Modesty Be Natural?

Eight Male Character


Nine Against the Curing of Womanhood

Ten Modesty and the Erotic

Eleven Pining for Interference

Twelve Beyond Modernity

A Modest Conclusion: Innocence

Appendix: Some Modest Advice





About the Author

Wendy Shalit received her B.A. in philosophy from Williams College in 1997. A contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, she has written for The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and other publications. She lives in New York City.


George F. Will Newsweek [Shalit is] a prodigy at cracking the codes of culture....A Return to Modesty is a call for women to wield their potential power to transform society.
Florence King National Review A Return to Modesty uncompromising in voice and stance that one is tempted to think of its author as Simone de Shalit or Wendy Wollstonecraft, but make no mistake: she imitates nothing and no one...Every page of this book [is] wise, fresh, and funny, sparkling with her special brand of astringent charm.
Tamala M. Edwards Time Her book has touched a nerve in a society overdosed on sex...Shalit defends...compellingly, shame, privacy, gallantry, and sexual reticence.
Ruth R. Wisse The Wall Street Journal Ms. Shalit marshals impressive evidence from philosophers as well as the tabloids to make her case for a return to modesty -- as both a sexual ideal and a strategy for greater pleasure...[a] serious yet bouncy study.
Emily Eakin The New York Times Book Review A Return to Modesty provides one invaluable service. There is a growing body of scholarly research on young adulthood that may, in the aftermath of Shalit's booming polemic, be more difficult to ignore.
Shari Roan Los Angeles Times The book of the moment...makes a compelling case for the idea that the sexual revolution hasn't been entirely good for either women or men...Social workers, health professionals and others who bemoan the loss of "boundaries" in the lives of troubled girls will find a hopeful message in the book.
Norah Vincent Salon The first book of its blaze down the center of the postfeminist battleground between left and right.
Katie Roiphe Harper's Bazaar Intriguing...[Shalit] writes not going through with something can leave a deeper imprint on your imagination than going through with it, and how we have lost the playfulness and mystery of old-fashioned courtship.
Suzanne Fields The Washington Times [An] earnest and serious book....A fascinating subject [brought] to our attention in a fresh way.
Maggie Gallagher New York Post [An] important book that every thinking young woman (and her mother) should read.

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