Sexual Personae

Art & Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson

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Paperback
$23.00 US
5.14"W x 7.97"H x 1.47"D  
On sale Aug 20, 1991 | 736 Pages | 978-0-679-73579-3
| Grades AP/IB
Paglia seeks to demonstrate the unity and continuity of western culture. Accepting the canonical western tradition and rejecting the modernist idea that culture has collapsed into meaningless fragments, she argues that Judeo-Christianity did not defeat paganism, which, along with androgyny, sadism, and the aggressive western eye, continues to flourish in art, eroticism, astrology, and pop culture. Paglia follows these and other themes from Nefertiti and the Venus of Willendorf to Apollo and Dionysus, from Botticelli and Michelangelo to Shakespeare and Blake and finally to Emily Dickinson, who, along with other major nineteenth-century authors, becomes a remarkable example of Romanticism turned into Decadence.
© Michael Lionstar
Camille Paglia is the University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is the author of Free Women, Free Men; Glittering Images; Break, Blow, Burn; The Birds; Vamps & Tramps; Sex, Art, and American Culture; and Sexual Personae. View titles by Camille Paglia
List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments

Chapter 1 Sex and Violence, or Nature and Art
Chapter 2 The Birth of the Western Eye
Chapter 3 Apollo and Dionysus
Chapter 4 Pagan Beauty
Chapter 5 Renaissance Form: Italian Art
Chapter 6 Spenser and Apollo: The Faerie Queene
Chapter 7 Shakespeare and Dionysus: As You Like It and Antony and Cleopatra
Chapter 8 Return of the Great Mother: Rousseau vs. Sade
Chapter 9 Amazons, Mothers, Ghosts: Goethe to Gothic
Chapter 10 Sex Bound and Unbound: Blake
Chapter 11 Marriage to Mother Nature: Wordsworth
Chapter 12 The Daemon as Lesbian Vampire: Coleridge
Chapter 13 Speed and Space: Byron
Chapter 14 Light and Heat: Shelley and Keats
Chapter 15 Cults of Sex and Beauty: Balzac
Chapter 16 Cults of Sex and Beauty: Gautier, Baudelaire, and Huysmans
Chapter 17 Romantic Shadows: Emily Bronte
Chapter 18 Romantic Shadows: Swinburne and Pater
Chapter 19 Apollo Daemonized: Decadent Art
Chapter 20 The Beautiful Boy as Destroyer: Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray
Chapter 21 The English Epicene: Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest
Chapter 22 American Decadents: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville
Chapter 23 American Decadents: Emerson, Whitman, James
Chapter 24 Amherst's Madame de Sade: Emily Dickinson

Notes

Index
"A remarkable book, at once outrageous and compelling, fanatical and brilliant.... One must be awed by [Paglia's] vast energy, erudition and wit." —The Washington Post

Sexual Personae [is] an enormous sensation of a book, in all the better senses of ‘sensation.’ There is no book comparable in scope, stance, design or insight.” —Harold Bloom

“The ability to infuriate both antagonists in an ideological struggle is often a sign of a first-rate book.... [Paglia] is a conspicuously gifted writer ... and an admirably close reader with a hard core of common sense.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Paglia marshals a vast array of ... cultural materials with an authorial voice derived from sixties acid-rock lead guitar.... Close to poetry.” —Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces

“This book is a red comet in a smog-filled sky.... Brilliant.” —The Nation

About

Paglia seeks to demonstrate the unity and continuity of western culture. Accepting the canonical western tradition and rejecting the modernist idea that culture has collapsed into meaningless fragments, she argues that Judeo-Christianity did not defeat paganism, which, along with androgyny, sadism, and the aggressive western eye, continues to flourish in art, eroticism, astrology, and pop culture. Paglia follows these and other themes from Nefertiti and the Venus of Willendorf to Apollo and Dionysus, from Botticelli and Michelangelo to Shakespeare and Blake and finally to Emily Dickinson, who, along with other major nineteenth-century authors, becomes a remarkable example of Romanticism turned into Decadence.

Author

© Michael Lionstar
Camille Paglia is the University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is the author of Free Women, Free Men; Glittering Images; Break, Blow, Burn; The Birds; Vamps & Tramps; Sex, Art, and American Culture; and Sexual Personae. View titles by Camille Paglia

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments

Chapter 1 Sex and Violence, or Nature and Art
Chapter 2 The Birth of the Western Eye
Chapter 3 Apollo and Dionysus
Chapter 4 Pagan Beauty
Chapter 5 Renaissance Form: Italian Art
Chapter 6 Spenser and Apollo: The Faerie Queene
Chapter 7 Shakespeare and Dionysus: As You Like It and Antony and Cleopatra
Chapter 8 Return of the Great Mother: Rousseau vs. Sade
Chapter 9 Amazons, Mothers, Ghosts: Goethe to Gothic
Chapter 10 Sex Bound and Unbound: Blake
Chapter 11 Marriage to Mother Nature: Wordsworth
Chapter 12 The Daemon as Lesbian Vampire: Coleridge
Chapter 13 Speed and Space: Byron
Chapter 14 Light and Heat: Shelley and Keats
Chapter 15 Cults of Sex and Beauty: Balzac
Chapter 16 Cults of Sex and Beauty: Gautier, Baudelaire, and Huysmans
Chapter 17 Romantic Shadows: Emily Bronte
Chapter 18 Romantic Shadows: Swinburne and Pater
Chapter 19 Apollo Daemonized: Decadent Art
Chapter 20 The Beautiful Boy as Destroyer: Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray
Chapter 21 The English Epicene: Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest
Chapter 22 American Decadents: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville
Chapter 23 American Decadents: Emerson, Whitman, James
Chapter 24 Amherst's Madame de Sade: Emily Dickinson

Notes

Index

Praise

"A remarkable book, at once outrageous and compelling, fanatical and brilliant.... One must be awed by [Paglia's] vast energy, erudition and wit." —The Washington Post

Sexual Personae [is] an enormous sensation of a book, in all the better senses of ‘sensation.’ There is no book comparable in scope, stance, design or insight.” —Harold Bloom

“The ability to infuriate both antagonists in an ideological struggle is often a sign of a first-rate book.... [Paglia] is a conspicuously gifted writer ... and an admirably close reader with a hard core of common sense.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Paglia marshals a vast array of ... cultural materials with an authorial voice derived from sixties acid-rock lead guitar.... Close to poetry.” —Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces

“This book is a red comet in a smog-filled sky.... Brilliant.” —The Nation

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