Sex, Art, and American Culture: Essays

Camille Paglia, Author Vintage Books USA $14.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-679-74101-5
Provocative cultural critic Paglia (Sexual Personas) here offers 21 previously published essays and interviews that celebrate pop culture while trashing feminism and academic theory. Her paeans to Madonna, tributes to Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, and discussions of rock music and bodybuilding include attacks on the prudery of old guard establishment feminists, while her reviews of scholarly works on cross-dressing and gay history trumpet Paglia's contention that today's intellectuals refuse to acknowledge the dark, immutable powers of sexual drive. Reverence for these powers led Paglia to take her controversial stand, fully documented here, against sympathy for victims of date rape. Paglia lacks the subtlety and decorum of the very scholars--from Freud and Jung to Leslie Fiedier--whom she claims as her forerunners; she instead resembles the rock stars whom she so venerates, stripped of their capacity for self-mockery. Yet for all their faults, her essays engage with an ambitious range of art and ideas, her invocation of primal sexuality adding a missing element to critical debates. While she should be taken with a truckful of road salt, Paglia should not be ignored. Author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/07/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 221 pages - 978-0-307-76555-0
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