VIRGINS: Reluctant, Dubious and Avowed by Muriel Segal

VIRGINS: Reluctant, Dubious and Avowed

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The author's light-hearted tribute to famous artists' models, Painted Ladies (1972), was far more successful than this file-dumping operation in which myth, folk history, anecdotes from the great, scraps of poetry, saints tales, and odd news items are rattled off to fit into arbitrary categories reflecting mankind's fascination with female virginity. (There are also a few tidbits about male virgins and eunuchs.) In spite of Segal's airy approach, the accounts of such matters as female circumcision, repressive segregation, childhood prostitution, and white slavery simply underline the contention of Elizabeth Gould Davis (quoted promisingly at the beginning): ""A great overvaluation of virginity is found only in communities that treat their women as chattels."" With little illumination of the virgin's place in present-day Western society, a slight book altogether.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1977
Publisher: Macmillan