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Sex, Art, and American Culture: Essays

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  890 ratings  ·  64 reviews
A collection of twenty of Paglia's out-spoken essays on contemporary issues in America's ongoing cultural debate such as Anita Hill, Robert Mapplethorpe, the beauty myth, and the decline of education in America.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 8th 1992 by Vintage (first published August 22nd 1992)
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Community Reviews

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Hava
I got up to 100 pages in this, and I couldn't go any further. Camilla Pagila claims to be a feminist, but she's an MRA in women's drag. She writes scornfully of feminism as a movement, at the same time she claims herself as one. I cannot take seriously the view of a woman who victim blames women for being raped, who says that if a woman dresses provocatively or is on a date with a man, she should "take the risk of being raped" and even more gross, excuses men for their "deepest urges" and says t ...more
Brooke
I don't always agree with her and I sometimes I have no idea what she is talking about, but hey, I could say that about my mother and she is my favorite woman on earth. Every once in a while she says something that is so profound, to me anyway, you start fumbling for a highlighter like you are going to be tested on it later. But really, you just want to remember it.

I love the whole idea of the anti-feminist feminist--she's outrageously liberal, but there is nothing bleeding heart about her. Cam
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Ian
this book would probably offend a lot of people, but she makes solid arguments for all of her un-PC views. at the very least it demands that people look at the basis of their view of the world and question whether it is based on fact and reason or a sugar-coated, spotty overview of history and touchy-feelyness.
Aneece
A contrarian's contrarian. Yes, that bad.
Ashley
I Hate Camille Paglia.

I just wanted to get that out there before I said anything else. Because, given how much I hate Camille Paglia and pretty much everything she says on pretty much everything (in a somewhat similar vein as the way I feel about Ann Coulter, for example) of course I would give any of her work one star. That said, I think this is one of those infuriating books one ought to read, if only to get all fired up once again in your own views, particularly about women and feminism and
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Liam
"Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders" is a very passionate and erudite summation of the decline of scholarly standards and the rise of faddish "theorizing" in the humanities and social sciences. Much unpopular for her arrogance and insulting style (see below), she is, embarrassingly for her critics, someone whose snobbery lies upon an astounding foundation of factual knowledge, especially the knowledge of intellectual histories which her opponents supposedly belong to.

Some odd moments, like her se
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Ethel Margaret
The first few essays were off-putting, but her discussion of rape drew me in more. I don't think Paglia's magazine articles showcase her at her best. I look forward to reading Sexual Personae which, from the portions I've read, I think exhibits Paglia's talent as a wordsmith with an impressive command of language.
Plamen Miltenoff
Dec 14, 2014 Plamen Miltenoff marked it as to-read
Weiss B. THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW with Camille Paglia. ASCA Newsletter [serial online]. January 2014;(1):24-26. Available from: SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed December 14, 2014.
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Passamani, E. (2013). Look and Learn; Camille Paglia on the best of the West. The Weekly Standard, (20).
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Mark Desrosiers
If Gore Vidal were a chick...
Patrick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark
Since Camille Paglia has so clearly taken delight in her status as a cultural lightning rod, I started out feeling none-too-interested in reading one of her books. There was some reason for me to feel that way: a tone of snarky self-congratulation in many of the pieces making up this collection, concerning how many attacks she has attracted, and how handily and wittily she has been able to dispatch her many opponents.

Still, I often found myself nodding my head as she skewered what have long see
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Edward Podritske
In her lecture at M.I.T. in 1991, Camille Paglia remarked at the outset that she faced a dilemma on the occasion of that appearance.

She was unsure about whether she should conduct herself as a lady or just be herself, since she undoubtedly had both friends and enemies in the audience.

She reckoned that nobody came to see her perform as a lady so she would just be herself, as she put it, "...which is, you know, abrasive, strident, and obnoxious. So then you all can go outside and say, 'What a bi
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Ollie
Dec 17, 2007 Ollie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love trouble-makers
I have very conflicting feelings and views on Camille Paglia. On the one hand, it's blatantly clear that she's an attention-seeking loose cannon who can fit a thousand feet in her mouth; she spends an awful lot of time slagging off people without providing backing evidence; and she places way too much importance on the 60s counter-culture as well as on her own somewhat inflexible views. This compilation of essays and magazine articles would have never seen the light of day if she hadn't become a ...more
Tom
Remember those old Sesame Street episodes that were sponsored by a number, or a letter of the alphabet? This book - indeed, Paglia's whole career - was apparently sponsored by the phrase "my Sixties generation."

Okay, so I only read about 95 percent of the book. I couldn't get through the notes on the multicultural class that she co-taught. Sorry, but how arrogant do you have to be to think anyone wants to read your verbatim in-class notes? Clean it up and write a damned essay, lady.

Not that Pagl
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David
I was blissfully unaware of the controversy that Camile Paglia stirred up in the early 90's. She came to my attention last year with her analysis and defense of Sarah Palin, and I think she's got an interesting and refreshing perspective. So I finally picked up one of her books, Sex, Art, and American Culture. I finished it this morning, and it was a revelation. Several of the essays are negative reviews of academic works, and the erudition she uses in skewering the unfounded pretensions found t ...more
Renee
I have a love/hate relationship with Miss Paglia. She claims to be a lesbian feminist, but some of her statements....artifice over art. That being said, I enjoyed this book immensely almost 20 years ago, fresh out of college and looking for a fresh perspective on art and culture. Enjoyed it again, after taking it down from my bookshelf recently. Recommend, but with caveat. Take it with a grain of salt. Miss Paglia has been a guest on many cable news shows, when the media tries to get input about ...more
Kaethe
Camille Paglia, much like Bill Maher, seems to have based her career on being the One Person In the World Brave Enough to Call "Bullshit" On Everyone Else. Thank goodness there's one woman in America brave enough to tell all the rest of us that we're wrong.
Geralyn
Women who drink at parties and walk home in the dark do not deserve to be raped. That's not what they have coming to them, and that's not what they are asking for. She disagrees. It's like reading theonion.com.
Michel Van Goethem
Sex, Art, and American Culture by Camille Paglia Sex, Art, and American Culture: Essays
by Camille Paglia
Casey Moore
Camille Paglia is reactionary. She has made a living spouting what could easily be called apologetic misogyny. That being said, her relentless oversimplification of rape and feminism does occasionally (accidentally?) lend a bit of insight where white liberal boys fear to tread. I guess on that ground she has merit.

That being said, her writing is incredibly accessible and this collection of essays on pop culture and sexuality fly by; which is a relief, even if its substance tickles my gag reflex.
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Ej
OMG, I am in dear love with this intelligent, rage filled, enticing person.
Ed La Salle
Paglia (pal-ya) pulls no punches in this collection of essays. She even attacks her own (academic faculty) when she calls for a total elimination of conferences and all the financial waste and boola-boola that goes along with them. While most of the essays have been published elsewhere, (Spin, New York Times,etc) it is nice to have the collection in one easy to carry around volume. Everytime I read her I find myself shaking my head in agreement. I respect her because she continues to publish and ...more
Tatiana Jimenez
I read this because a.) the title caught my eye at the used bookstore, and b.) I've always wanted to read Camille Paglia's work. Some of her opinions are really out there, but others are very relevant, and have really shown the world how diverse feminists can be. I loved her pieces about Madonna as a feminist icon in modern culture. I didn't love her pieces about rape and the reasons she thought rape happened. I respect her for being brave enough of to think outside of the box, and her evidence ...more
RK Byers
I love this bitch!
Joshua Cordasco
intellectual on a soapbox. kinda dated. lots of zingers--highly quotable
Jihae
Jun 26, 2008 Jihae rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Great Cthulhu
This is the only book that I can recall laughing out loud to on the train and having a stranger ask me what I was reading. I love Camille! I am not a cultural critic and I don't know enough to judge if she is right or wrong about anything she is talking about but she is hilarious! Man, this is the most fun I had reading in a long long time. If you are an ardent fan of Foucault, Derrida & Company or are a Naomi Wolf feminist, you probably will hate this book.
Nora toomey
I love how she constantly compares herself to Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, and Sandra Bernhard, just because she's Italian. I picked this up and could not put it down. Who is this lady?!? Why hadn't I heard of her before?!? She's funny! Her essays on pop icons are entertaining and smart. Her essays about sex and american culture are provocative and an important addition to the way we dialogue, think about, and write about sex and culture.
matt
everything I wrote for Vamps & Tramps, applies here actually. Sorry. Got them a little bit confused. It matters little, though. What one says about a bit of Paglia applies equally to all (or, to be charitable, most) of her ouerve. It'd be great if she was either more prevalent in the culture rather than lingering in a monthly column on a less-trafficted reader's website or if she had something more unmistakable to say. Le sigh.
Dan Kugler
My personae are not strategies of irony or social adaptation but cinematic visualizations, products of an archaic process of picture-thought. The brain of a neurological repository of the human past, and personae are the hidden masks of our ancestors and heirs[...] Mental illness is no myth, as some have claimed. It is a disturbance in our sense of possession of a stable inner self that survives its personae.
sologdin
Apparently it is the rape victim's fault after all.

contains the obnoxious essay that challenges barthes & foucault implicitly on the notion of authorial intentions. paglia's rhetoric in these sections is a screed not dissimilar from the worst of ann coulter. at its most manifestly worthless in this moment, the argument is retrograde of literary theory in the US of the 1950s. that's fugly.
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Camille Anna Paglia is an American social critic, author and teacher. Her book, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, published in 1990, became a bestseller. She is a professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She has been variously called the "feminist that other feminists love to hate," a "post-feminist fe
...more
More about Camille Paglia...
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“Enough already of Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault poured like ketchup over everything. Lacan: the French fog machine; a grey-flannel worry-bone for toothless academic pups; a twerpy, cape-twirling Dracula dragging his flocking stooges to the crypt. Lacan is a Freud T-shirt shrunk down to the teeny-weeny Saussure torso. The entire school of Saussure, inluding Levi-Strauss, write their muffled prose of people with cotton wool wrapped around their heads; they're like walking Q-tips. Derrida: a Gloomy Gus one-trick pony, stuck on a rhetorical trope already available in the varied armory of New Criticism. Derrida's method: masturbating without pleasure. It's a birdbrain game for birdseed stakes. Neo-Foucaldian New Historicism: a high-wax bowling alley where you score points just by knockng down the pins.” 2 likes
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