Chastity in Literature

(2404 words)
  • Corrinne Harol (Universidade Aberta)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.

While chastity’s meaning and relative importance have varied over time and place, it has always suggested the triumph of culture over nature, or mind over body. The logic for chastity is usually founded on the idea that attachment to sensual things makes one less committed to nonsenual values, whether religious, political, social, or philosophical. The term typically connotes both the difficulty in achieving such ideals and the sense that chastity is nonetheless an unconditional standard; hence one rarely encounters the comparative or superlative (chaster, chastest) variants of the term. The bodily function most associated with chastity is sexuality (virginity or celibacy), but it can encompass others as well: austerity in dress or …

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Harol, Corrinne . "Chastity in Literature". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 August 2010
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]