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Customer Review

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant mix of belles-lettres and philosophy, July 29, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (Paperback)
Paglia has gotten so much press in recent years, due to her self-transformation from obscure academic into media pundit, that it's easy to sniff at the awe-inspiring strengths of her first and greatest book. There is something in "Sexual Personae" to annoy and upset everyone - but Paglia irritates because her brilliant mind neatly and decisively rips apart received ideas. By asserting the truth of certain basic oppositions - Apollo/Dionysos, Christian/Pagan, male/female - Paglia creates a thinking-space where we can see how art and literature have flourished in the tense zone between these poles. You cannot help but admire the range and depth of her erudition and interests, particularly in an age where American intellectuals say more and more about less and less. Paglia's prose is clear, dramatic, and of an adamantine brilliance that, in its better passages (the introduction, "Renaissance Art," and "Pagan Beauty," come to mind) stuns yo! u with its insights. I applaud her defense of the male imagination's sexual peculiarities, always kept on a short leash in Puritan America, and greatly look forward to the second volume. This book should be required reading in freshman composition courses. Reading this book changed my view of reality permanently. Paglia says many thing which I had always sensed, but could never put into words. The firestorm of opposition which her ideas have generated merely indicates her strength as a thinker. You owe it to yourself to read this book!
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 30, 2009 7:49:28 AM PDT
hazel says:
...screeching more and more about less and less.
What a great line, I love it.

And I loved this book and venerate Paglia for being the woman she is - steel-trap mind, hysterical sense of humor, perspective, sense of proportion, and beautiful in every way that counts. Who wouldn't love her, except a bunch of woman-haters...many of whom also are women...we are told...but have we ever checked?!

Thanks for an excellent review. Is there a second volume?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2009 7:18:14 AM PST
WB, Zeno says:
"hazeleyes":
The saying "generalists know nothing about everything, the specialists everything about nothing" is not as old as our modern times, but nearly so.

Posted on Sep 19, 2010 1:24:40 PM PDT
dia tsung says:
brilliant summing up of paglia and her work.

Posted on Dec 6, 2012 1:00:37 PM PST
To say the least, an erudite review.

Posted on Feb 27, 2014 12:18:10 PM PST
Mac Tipton says:
Puritan America? You've got to be kidding me.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2014 12:19:15 PM PST
Mac Tipton says:
There's no second volume. Too much work, and all she has to do is make provocative (sometimes ridiculous) statements.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2014 12:26:39 PM PST
Mac Tipton says:
Some might argue that CP herself is a woman hater. Check out her calling the Spur Posse California high school date-rape gang "beautiful."

Posted on Sep 25, 2014 8:27:49 PM PDT
Robert Wilks says:
I couldn't have said it better, and I agree that this is "her first and greatest book". In fact, nothing else she has ever written interests me, and her columns in Salon have actually turned my stomach. One in particular, a defense of Sarah Palin, was the straw that broke the camel's back and turned me from an admirer to an ignorer. EXCEPT for this magnificent book: a comprehensive, probing, provocative analysis of myth throughout human history. And if you can't read the whole thing, the introduction summarizes her ideas nicely.

Posted on Jul 13, 2015 6:55:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 13, 2015 6:58:06 PM PDT
Mind boggling Paradigm shift.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2016 9:28:37 PM PST
I'm seeking the original source of this information. So far I've only been able to find a 1997 article by Katha Pollitt, but she cites no sources:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/11/feminisms-unfinished-business/377007/
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