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About the Author

Camille Paglia is University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Image credit: Misa Martin

Obras por Camille Paglia

Associated Works

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass (1865) — Introdução, algumas edições25,446 exemplares
David Bowie Is (2013) — Contribuidor — 238 exemplares
Tom of Finland XXL (2009) — Editor — 92 exemplares
Imagine There's No Heaven: Voices of Secular Humanism (1997) — Contribuidor — 90 exemplares
The Erotic Impulse: Honoring the Sensual Self (1992) — Contribuidor — 53 exemplares
Critical Essays on Oscar Wilde (1991) — Contribuidor — 2 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Nome canónico
Paglia, Camille
Nome legal
Paglia, Camille Anna
Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
Endicott, New York, USA
Locais de residência
Endicott, New York, USA (birth)
Oxford, New York, USA
Syracuse, New York, USA
State University of New York, Binghamton (Harpur College) (BA|1968)
Yale University (MPhil|1971, PhD|1974)
social critic
cultural critic
Professor of Humanities and Media Studies
Bennington College
University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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American author, teacher and social critic. Her book, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, published in 1990, became a bestseller. Since 1984 Paglia has been a Professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



I recently reread this book, and found it even more enjoyable than I had remembered. Obviously Paglia's project--a unifiied theory of Western culture--is bound to fall short, but it's impossible for me not to admire her ambition. She writes with an energetic style; at times she might be guilty of piling on too many metaphors and similes, but it's almost as though, in her exuberance, she can't help herself. In many respects she must certainly be regarded as well ahead of her time (the dissertation on which this book is based was submitted in 1974): she predicted, through the study of what she calls the "androgyne" in culture, many subsequent developments in gender and women's studies, ironic as I believe her to be almost universally reviled in those circles.

At over 600 pages, hammering away at the same theme, it might be a bit long, and the last chapters on American literature are perhaps among the least engaging, though it may be that I just became ground down after several hundred pages, or that her subjects chosen from American literature are simply the least suited to her thesis (a possibility she herself acknowledges in comparing American culture to European). When, therefore, she finally arrives at Emily Dickinson, the subject which the title suggests will be the culmination, if not the actual climax, of the entire book, it's almost impossible not to be disappointed because you want so much for it to be more than it is.

All that said, the book is surely a classic, and an engrossing read whether you agree or disagree with her argument.
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gtross | 16 outras críticas | Mar 28, 2024 |
It's been at least fifteen years since I read one of Camille Paglia's books, although I've kept up with her articles on Salon and wherever else they appear in print media. Certain chapters of "Free Men, Free Women: Sex, Gender, Feminism" I readily identified with; some I felt too ill-informed about to know where I stood regarding the subject; others I just couldn't relate to. The chapter titles alone are provocative: "Are Men Obsolete?" (Chapter 26); "Rape and Modern Sex War" (Chapter 5); "The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil (Chapter 31). She plausibly identifies homosexuality, as well as transgender identification, as tending to occur in "late-phase civilization". For Camille, everything comes back to biology, which supports her argument that actual, physically-manifested sex change is medically impossible ..... On the one hand, I admire the way Paglia keeps the presentation of the various topics down to earth and accessible. On the other hand, when she discusses her loathing of French post-structuralism (a key talking point throughout her career) I'm intrigued by her ongoing commitment to this theme, but I have virtually no comprehension of the subject, since I still haven't read Michel Foucault and as far as I can recall, I've only read one "post-structuralist" book, by Jacques Derrida, of which I remember nothing ..... Looking back on the chapters of FMFW, the first one that comes to mind is "Southern Women: Old Myths and New Frontiers" (Chapter 30); an absorbing analysis not only of women / stereotypes of the South, but also of the way in which Southern themes are explored via Hollywood films and actresses i.e. native Southerners such Ava Gardener and Tallulah Bankhead. Camille professes to a love of camp as well, as expressed in her ebullient praise of Andy Cohen and "The Real Housewives" (Chapter 32). Paglia seems to be naturally bipartisan (although I'll never forgive her for voting for Jill Stein in the 2016 U.S. presidential election) and never shies away from recognizing the relevance of all things "lowbrow", since in her universe, highbrow / lowbrow is equivalent to yin yang. I loved re-reading the first 3 chapters of "Sexual Personae" (reprinted in FMFW) again, especially Chapter 1 of SP, which I'll always find fascinating; SP remains my favorite book of hers. In the way that Paglia defines sexuality, in which, as she puts it "aggression and eroticism are deeply intertwined" -- Certain sections of FMFW remind me of "Death, Erotism and Sensuality" (1957) by George Bataille.
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stephencbird | 2 outras críticas | Sep 19, 2023 |
I was happy to see Paglia return to the style she used to such great effect in 'Sexual Personae", that being full-on academic mode -- In her analysis of the art (and artists) featured in "Glittering Images". I was already familiar with many of the artists discussed by Paglia in this book, but was not necessarily a fan of those included herein. However, even if I didn't, like, understand, or agree with whatever Paglia elucidated about each of her subjects -- I appreciated the depth of detail that she made use of, in her examination of her selected highlights from the history of Western art. In general, I'm interested in most of the subjects about which she writes, if for no other reason -- Than the way in which she approaches those subjects ..... In my last apartment, I had a poster of "Queen Nefertari and the Goddess" on my kitchen wall, having just a vague notion of the historical / cultural context of this image. Thanks to Paglia, I was able to expand my perception of this iconic work (among others that appear in "Glittering Images") by means of the precise analysis she provided.

Despite being impressed with a couple of works, in the first third of the book (i.e. "Saint John Chrysostom and "The Book of Kells") "Glittering Images" began to command more of my attention, starting with the chapter covering "Sea of Ice" (Caspar David Friedrich). In her examination of "Sea of Ice", Paglia foresees the future development of abstract art. That chapter, along with the four chapters following "Sea of Ice", ending with Georg Grosz -- Constitute the highlight of the book for me. I was already an admirer of George Grosz' paintings, and their satirical content, before reading this book -- But had been unfamiliar with his drawings and the technique he used to create them ..... Additionally, I found the chapter on Jackson Pollock to be compelling; regarding Abstract Expressionism, Paglia states the following: "Abstract Expressionism was the last authentically avant-garde style in painting" (p. 147). The chapter on Pop Art / Andy Warhol caught my attention as well; as I was born in 1960, the blatant influence of Pop Art on American culture, during my first decade was inescapable. Although I've never been especially enamored of Warhol -- Paglia's analysis of "Marilyn Diptych" helped to gain a renewed appreciation for that work, in which beauty (as well as "glitter") decays into nothingness.

Years ago, when I read one of the early reviews of "Glittering Images" -- I was surprised to find out that Paglia considered George Lucas to be a master artist. I didn't see Lucas' trilogy ("Phantom Menace", "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith") until after "Revenge of the Sith" was released in cinemas; I initially had no interest in viewing those films. It was only after a friend pointed out the underlying political / geopolitical metaphors within "Revenge of the Sith", that I finally went to see it; I ended up enjoying the entire trilogy. In this way, I came to understand why Paglia holds "Revenge of the Sith" in such high regard. On p. 188 of the book's final chapter, Paglia offers the following description: "..... three hundred special effects, combining cutting-edge, high-definition digital cameras, lenses, and editing techniques with old-fashioned artisanal model making ....." went into the making of the "Red River" sequence of "Revenge of the Sith". And as a result of that process, the "Red River" sequence on its own -- Stands as a towering achievement.
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stephencbird | 4 outras críticas | Sep 19, 2023 |
This book is one of my all-time favorites and my favorite of Paglia's. I prefer Paglia the "academic" as opposed to the "media whore" (i.e. as she has expressed herself in her column for Salon.com) as I am at least 50% in disagreement with her political / geopolitical and often right-leaning Libertarian point of view. In "Sexual Personae" she presents herself in full-on scholarly mode, in a way that she has not, unfortunately, repeated since this work was published. I have read this book at least twice; it is rare for me as a reader to return to any text I've read previously. The essence of the work can be summarized via the blurb that appears on the back cover of the paperback edition of "Sexual Personae": "..... [makes] a persuasive case for all art as a pagan battleground between male and female, form and chaos, civilization and daemonic nature" ("daemonic" being a term that appears frequently in this book). Also memorable are Paglia's theory of the artist's metaphysical "sex change" via his / her work of art (a là Coleridge's lesbian vampire / daemon) and the chapter covering Edmund Spenser's "The Fairie Queene", a product of the English Renaissance that I had been unaware of until my discovery of "Sexual Personae" and which I have still not read. "Sexual Personae" also aided me in refining my understanding of the terms "Apollonian" and "Dionysian", in a way that no other writer has besides Nietzsche.

Most importantly, it's Paglia's actual writing that draws me in. Whether or not what she is writing can be substantiated academically, that does not concern me. I inherently believe that Paglia knows what she's talking about. Thus I will close with this quote from page 55 of Chapter 2 ("The Birth of the Western Eye") concerning the statuette "Venus of Willendorf" [circa 30,000 B.C.]:

"Venus of Willendorf carries her cave with her. She is blind, masked. Her ropes of corn-row hair look forward to the invention of agriculture. She has a furrowed brow. Her facelessness is the impersonality of primitive sex and religion. There is no psychology or identity yet, because there is no society, no cohesion. Men cower and scatter at the blast of the elements. Venus of Willendorf is eyeless because nature can be seen but not known. She is remote even as she kills and creates. The statuette, so overflowing and protuberant, is ritually invisible. She stifles the eye. She is the cloud of archaic night."
… (mais)
stephencbird | 16 outras críticas | Sep 19, 2023 |



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