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Camille Paglia
CAMILLE PAGLIA
April 6, 2005
(Wednesday)
4:15 p.m. Informal Seminar
Campus Center 375
8:00 p.m. Reading
Recital Hall, PAC
UAlbany, Uptown Campus
Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems

Highly controversial and always bold in her writing, Camille Paglia's radical perspectives have helped fuel debate about some of the most taboo subjects in contemporary society. While most of Paglia's writing has focused on sexuality in Western culture, her position is always underlined by libertarian beliefs that emphasize "how life really is in the real world." She is known for her common sense approach that, according to Mark Edmundson, "has found a part of the story that no one is telling."

Paglia's forthcoming book, "Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems" investigates some of the world's most famous poetry from artists such as William Shakespeare, William Butler Yeats, and Emily Dickinson as well as work from lesser known artists such as Joni Mitchell and Chuck Wachtel.

Sexual Personae

Paglia's first book, "Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson" unveiled sexuality in Western Civilization by analyzing art and culture on a historical continuum. It was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 1991. Specifically highlighting some of the perverse trends that have traditionally been overlooked, Lillian Faderman of the "Washington Post Book World" commented, "Her fascination with 'perversity' in literature brings her to some startling interpretations… discussion of the sexual ambiguities and obsessions that critics have ignored or minimized in major American writers is especially compelling."

Sex, Art, and American Culture

Continuing with the theme of sexuality, "Sex, Art, and American Culture" (1992) represents writings, seminars, and interviews that critique femininity and sexuality in contemporary media. Madonna and Elizabeth Taylor are just two of the modern icons that Paglia discusses in this collection, which has a particular focus on academia and cultural theory produced in the Ivory Tower. A "Publishers Weekly" review insists that, while Paglia may be radical and unconventional she adds, "an ambitious range of art and ideas, her invocation of primal sexuality adding a missing element to critical debates."

Other books include "Vamps and Tramps: New Essays" (1994), which is predominantly an extension of "Sex, Art, and American Culture," and "The Birds" (1998), Paglia's analysis of the 1963 Hitchcock Film.

Currently Camille Paglia is one of "Interview" magazine's editors and is University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Paglia's lectures are guaranteed to stimulate and challenge her audience.

"…Paglia's first objective is provocation: She's out to seduce or inspire…At her epigrammatic best, [she] relays her pleasure in perception and discovery…" - "The Nation"

Writers Online Magazine Article