Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson

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Vintage Books, 1991 - Literary Criticism - 718 pages
6 Reviews
Here is the fiery, provocative, and unparalleled work of feminist art criticism that launched Camille Paglia's exceptional career as one of our most important public intellectuals. Is Emily Dickinson "the female Sade"? Is Donatello's David a bit of pedophile pornography? What is the secret kinship between Byron and Elvis Presley, between Medusa and Madonna? How do liberals and feminists--as well as conservatives--fatally misread human nature? This audacious and omnivorously learned work of guerrilla scholarship offers nothing less than a unified-field theory of Western culture, high and low, since Egyptians invented beauty--making a persuasive case for all art as a pagan battleground between male and female, form and chaos, civilization and daemonic nature.

47 photographs.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JenneB - LibraryThing

Okay, I didn't read ALL of this book, but it made my brain hurt in a good way. I tried to get like, ANYONE I KNEW to read it so I could discuss it with somebody, but no joy. Still, after reading ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LisaMaria_C - LibraryThing

The subtitle? "Art and decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickenson." (The cover strikingly puts that across visually with a bust half-Nefertiti/half-Dickenson.) In the Preface Paglia says her book ... Read full review

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About the author (1991)

Camille Paglia is the University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. A regular contributor to, she is the author of Glittering Images; Break, Blow, Burn; Sexual Personae; Sex, Art, and American Culture; and Vamps & Tramps.

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