It’s time to look again at these secrets of shyness.
Joe Moran, professor of English and cultural history at Liverpool University, is an accomplished writer who comes at shyness with personal experience, literary skill and a subtle mind. His portraits of the many shy characters in history – politicians, military officers, authors, artists, musicians, etc. – make this a book that deserves to be the bestseller it is.
For example, I was not aware that Charles DeGaulle, France’s World War II hero and famous political leader in the early days of the EU, was a shy man, but Moran reveals him to have been a perfect example of a shy confident man, a type that I’ve been writing about and encouraging my readers to emulate, especially in my own book The Shyness Guide.
The view of shyness in Moran’s book is different from what you meet in mine, but they are complementary, not confrontational.
For example, when Moran presents the view from Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca of shy people building up a “great distorted wall” to protect themselves from social life, he sympathizes with the wall builders and says that’s okay as long as they scale the wall occasionally to temporarily take part in that problematic social world. The possibility that I offer, of learning to turn that wall into a portable shield that you can carry around with you when outside your private fortress, a protective device that will allow you to battle confidently in the social arena, is different, but I think both ideas have the same origin.
Although his book could have been titled, ‘A History of Shyness’, Moran has original and important views of his own about the nature of shyness. In his last chapter, “The New Ice Age”, he presents them flawlessly, in fascinating image and metaphor.
For anyone shy, this book is a must read. Here it is on Amazon.com, where you can read much of his interesting introduction: