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In this brilliantly original book, Camille Paglia identifies some of the major patterns that have endured in western culture from ancient Egypt and Greece to the present. According to Paglia, one source of continuity is paganism, which, undefeated by Judeo-Christianity, continues to flourish in art, eroticism, astrology, and pop culture. Others, she says, are androgyny, sadism, and the aggressive western eye, which has created our art and cinema.

Paglia follows these and other themes, from Nefertiti and the Venus of Willendorf to Apollo and Dionysus, from Botticelli and Michaelangelo to Shakespeare and Blake and finally to Emily Dickinson, who, along with other major 19th-century authors, becomes a remarkable example of Romanticism turned into Decadence.

©1990 Yale University (P)2017 Tantor

Critic reviews

"'Pagan' in its own pictorialism, sprawl, and unstopped prose, [Paglia's] unusual book creates its brilliant effect from an explosive fusing of scholarship and theater." ( Kirkus)

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Magnus
  • 22-01-18

Very interesting literary thematic criticism

A great amount of Paglia's personal and presumably internally consistent interpretations of the artists in historical poetry and literature. Especially as that art could be relayed as sexuality, or expressions of "Sexual personae".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful