Camille Paglia

Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson

22:08 min
Philosophy, History, Art
736 pages, 1990

In her unequaled work, Camille Paglia traces the deep impact of Apollonian and Dionysian forces on Western culture. From ancient Egypt to the Romantics, Paglia illuminates how the tension between reason and chaos has shaped art, literature, and society. Through evocative analysis, the short challenges conventional notions of gender, sexuality, and identity, revealing the complex dynamic of these forces in shaping human experience. Paglia's incisive exploration of decadence, androgyny, and the struggle against nature offers a unique perspective on the Western canon. Readers will gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and psychological frameworks that have molded our world, as well as a renewed appreciation for the enduring power of art to reflect and transform the human condition.

Camille Paglia

Camille Paglia is a renowned American intellectual, cultural critic, and professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her singular work, "Sexual Personae," catapulted her to prominence and established her as a bold and erudite scholar. The book's provocative exploration of gender, power, and aesthetics in Western culture set the stage for Paglia's influential career, during which she has tackled the conjunction of art, literature, politics, and sexuality. Paglia has made significant contributions to the fields of feminism, art history, and cultural studies, challenging conventional notions and sparking vital conversations about the enduring influence of the past on our present understanding of identity and society.


Western culture is shaped by the tension between Apollonian order and Dionysian chaos, a duality manifested in the evolution of art, politics, and society from pagan earth-cults to sky-cult ideals.
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Cover of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson