Sexual Personae

Sexual Personae

Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson

Book - 1990
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Traces patterns of cultural thought that have appeared in art, literature, psychology, and religion throughout the ages.
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, c1990
ISBN: 9780300043969
0300043961
Branch Call Number: 809.03/PAG
Characteristics: 718 p. : ill

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lukasevansherman
Jul 30, 2016

This book made a splash when it come out in the early 90s, but, with hindsight, it feels less impressive than idiosyncratic and shallow, despite Paglia's intelligence and erudition. She embraces a contrarian and contentious philosophy of aesthetics and literature and, like many critics, she bends everything to fit her vision and ideas. Coming in near 700 pages (with illustrations), it's a book that doesn't so much win you over with the strength of its arguments and logic as exhaust you with its length and densely packed pages. Her flaw as a thinker is that she quickly dismisses other lines of thought or authors she doesn't like in favor of her own, as well as her anti-feminist (something she shares with mentor Harold Bloom) stance. And what to make of a sentence like "Capitalism is an art work." It's not a political work, but there are some disturbingly reactionary elements. On the plus side, you'll learn what "chthonic" means.

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