chapter  5
25 Pages

Ecstasy, coldness, and the sadness which is freedom

Weare inclined to think of modesty in primarily sexual or moral terms. But there is a tradition of common sense that associates it particularly with a retreat into 'private' or 'emotional' life. Modesty is the 'veil' with which one protects a dream of erotic felicity whose excesses would prove too shameful were they to be experienced publicly - excesses of joy and pain, the deathly chill of separation, ecstatic reunions in which two people seem to fuse into one.