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Sex, Art, and American Culture: Essays (Anglais) Broché – 8 septembre 1992


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  • Broché: 352 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage; Édition : 1 (8 septembre 1992)
  • Collection : Vintage Original
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0679741011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679741015
  • Dimensions du produit: 13,2 x 1,8 x 20,3 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Gwen COMMENTATEUR N° 11ER COMMENTATEUR DU HALL D'HONNEUR le 23 novembre 2010
Format: Broché
Je ne sais pas si Camille Paglia est célèbre en France, mais dans le monde anglo-saxon, elle jouit d'une certaine notoriété, voire d'une notoriété certaine. Parfois provocatrice, souvent controversée, c'est une intellectuelle atypique qui n'hésite pas à penser à contre-courant et à puiser ses sujets de réflexion dans la culture la plus populaire.

Ce gros volume de 300 pages est un recueil de quelques uns de ses essais et articles parus au tournant des années 90 dans des publications aussi diverses que le "New York Times", le "Washington Post" ou... "Penthouse"! La variété des sujets qu'abordent tous ces textes est assez impressionnante. Cela va du rock'n'roll au post-structuralisme en passant par le cinéma, la publicité, le harcèlement sexuel ou le bodybuilding. Bref, c'est un peu ce qu'on pourrait appeler de la sociologie tout-terrain.

Ainsi, par exemple, dans le premier article, "Animality and artifice", puis de manière encore plus approfondie dans le deuxième, "Venus of the radio waves", Paglia étudie avec une évidente ferveur le phénomène Madonna, chanteuse dont elle avoue être une fan. Elle y analyse notamment de manière assez intéressante la riche symbolique sexuelle qui nourrit ses clips vidéo, de Like A Virgin à Justify My Love en passant par Open Your Heart.
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46 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Viper-jewel in Cleopatra's Crown 10 janvier 2002
Par C. Middleton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
~Sex, Art, and American Culture~ strikes down from the heavens lika a thunderbolt from Olympus, disturbing our received notions of popular culture, high and low art, and particularly tertiary education with such flair, that you will never view the world in the same way. Camille Paglia is a breath of fresh air; a provocative slayer of highbrow, smug, one-dimensional academics, who, over the last twenty five years, have been waving French Critical theory around like it was a major break through in western thought. She treats these 'gurus' of French academe, i.e., Derrida, Lacan, and Foucault like purveyors of a death fog, confusing all and sunder with their 'playful language', their philosophy of destruction or 'deconstruction', and reveals the end result of this post structuralist cancer: 'Academics with the souls of accountants...' an alarming ignorance of history and true scholarship, and a specialized factory line mentality in undergraduate studies.
All of the essays in this wonderful collection sparkle with erudition, honesty and guts. I was actually startled by Paglia's frankness, power and arresting prose style. A friend, who suggested I read this book, summed Paglia up quite nicely, "She has turned cultural studies into a contact sport." It's about time. Having been on the receiving end of the Derrida, Lacan, Foucault triad, as an idealistic, hungry for knowledge undergraduate, I too was swept-up in the French theory furore, anally strutting around campus like some initiated witch from a secret coven. History has shown that the attainment of alleged esoteric knowledge has always given us a false sense of power: a feeling that you are somehow a member of the elite, above the fray, someone special. After a few years, however, the illusion crumbled, and I realized that to view language as nothing more than 'meaningless play'; that, at bottom, all this so-called 'rebelliousness' was simply empty rhetoric and posing claptrap, and really has no use in the world of physical reality. I needed to do something, so switched the game plan, and began reading the canon. Suddenly, the penny dropped, and connections began to manifest. Homer's ~The Odyssey~ changed my life and true learning began in earnest.
Another area of criticism that rang true in this important book is the move towards specialization in the halls of humanities departments across the globe. Paglia explains this shift as a self-promoting defence mechanism for academics without courage. I don't know about the teacher side of the story, but from a student's perspective, specialization has been devastating in some instances. For example, a friend of mine has a degree in 'cultural studies' hanging proudly on his wall, and his knowledge of Elizabethan literature is profound. Ironically, however, his knowledge of popular culture is next to nil. How can anyone claim higher knowledge in cultural studies without an appreciation of ~The Simpsons~ or the political ramifications of Mickey Mouse. Because of specialization, Paglia believes universities have been churning out cultural morons with limited knowledge of the world. It is a dangerous situation. To fix the problem, Paglia suggests an interdisciplinary approach to education, which includes the sciences, art history, comparative religion and politics as well as literature. Generally, learning of our rich past is about making connections,encompassing all the disciplines from the beginning of western knowledge to present time.
Camille Paglia is an academic rabble-rouser; an astute observer of popular culture and a no holds barred bitch with a well-argued point of view. Her understanding of cinema and their gods, i.e., Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Alfred Hitchcock reveals deep insight into the American psyche: a pleasure to read.
The one criticism I have of this book is Paglia's feeble views on rape. Her argument that "if you look for trouble you'll get it'; a young girl wearing a thong and a see-through dress at an all male fraternity party is merely asking for it, is a narrow and superficial perspective. What about the eighty year old woman, living in the same street for years, walking to the baker and the butcher, known by everybody, to be found brutally raped and beaten for no apparent reason. Was she asking for it? Hardly. However contentious Paglia's arguments on this issue may seem, they smell of eastern wealth, a target market for her publisher to shake-up an intellectually frustarated clientele. The issue of rape goes far beyond the privleged schoolgirl scenario.
That said, ~Sex, Art, and American Culture is the viper-jewel in Cleopatra's crown, instructing the fat - comfort zone - Mark Anthony's of American academe to get a grip, pull their fingers out and follow their instincts.
This book is highly recommended.
38 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Mesmerizing, but... 1 mars 2003
Par "me-jane" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
There is something intoxicating about Camille Paglia. It's partly her prose, which manages to be both blunt and extravagant; she'd make a good political speech writer. She writes in slick, easily digested proclamations that both dramatize and grossly over-simplify the world - which is gratifying to read initially but not particuarly enlightening in the long run. She seduces partly because of her palpable love of art and her unquestionable erudition; certainly, as an English student, it's refreshing to read someone who approaches art with an unabashed sense of awe and pleasure, which IS often missing from present academe. Anf she also seduces because she often interprets culture at face-value, and it's always fun in some way to have every superficial prejudice indulged, and all human history reduced to a larger-than-life cartoon, all neat dichotomies between civilization and nature, brutish, brilliant men and enchanting, passive women, Apollo and Dionysius...
But, as you read on, you become aware you're in the presence of some exotic species of maniac. Her bullying style initially seduces and finally repulses. It's Camille, Camille, Camille - and as you read through these essays, you begin to mutter to yourself, "If she refers to "my Sixties generation", her Italian heritage or her own intellectual virtuosity one more time, I'm going to...."
Her obsessional loathing of the feminist establishment seems finally self-indulgent. She seems to believe that feminist ideology is this pernicious disease that is spreading out of control, polluting the minds of the young and vulnerable and poisoning human relationships, when in actuality, feminist thought is nowhere near the orthodoxy she makes it out to be. It is the status quo in the hallowed halls of universities, perhaps, but not in the real world. Her constant, immature caricaturing of "the feminists" actually prevents the very debate she says she wants to ignite, and finally just plays into the hands of the very people who were hostile to the idea of women's liberation to begin with.
She's at her best when she's elucidating the mysterious allure of a particular icon or piece of art. She's at her worst when she's making absurdly simplistic assertions about date rape. Still, she obviously gets off on playing the devil's advocate, and she can certainly make you laugh.
Read her to feel angry, and to revive your sense of pleasure and wonder in art and culture. Her football-stadium-size ego pervades everything she writes - it's almost like she wants to footnote each sentence with "You ARE aware I'm the authority on the entire human experience, aren't you? Good. GOOD. Just so we're clear." It's revolting and maddening and completely disarming, all at once.
Read it, though. You won't feel indifferent.
22 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An effective attack on PC 24 février 1999
Par Professor Joseph L. McCauley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Paglia writes from a standpoint of anti-PC/anti-postmodernist philosophy. The weakness of her book is that it is dedicated to what John Berger has called 'the instant culture', the culture where postmodernism has cut us off from the past while the media cuts us off daily from the future. For a study of the interaction of the media with the outcast elements of the instant culture from the standpoint of PC/postmodernism see Joshua Gamson's "Freaks Talk Back". Both Paglia and Gamson are TV addicts. Both praise the role of the media in the instant culture. One is Foucauldian, the other is not.
Paglia's intellectual contribution comes from her anti-postpodernism. PC is an instant-practice in postmodernist society that creates/spreads the pseudo-disease called victimization. America has, through PC, become a nation of victims. See also "Dumbing Down our Kids", by Charles J. Sykes, for the role played by schools in creating 'victims'. Paglia's anti-postmodernist essay 'Junk bonds and Corporate Raiders' is worth reading because it's a very effective attack on postmodernism/PC, and predates the Sokal hoax by about five years. Her MIT lecture is also worth reading. The rest of the book, in praise of the instant-culture created by modern capitalism, which has largely destroyed the chance of nontrivial culture within America, includes a lot of horn-tooting for Paglia by Paglia and does not shed light on anything worth knowing. Paglia likes to emphasize her Italian roots, but the stark contrast with John Berger's writing, where peasants do not behave as victims and capitalism is not praised for what it has done, is worth noting.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Paglia speaks 6 octobre 2011
Par David Walters - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Sex, Art, and American Culture is Camille Paglia's first essay collection. It offers her views of various sexual and cultural issues, her comments about a number of celebrities, and reviews of (in many cases, entirely forgettable) books. She devotes considerable space to the controversy over date right, rightly describing the hysteria surrounding this subject at Yale and other Ivy League universities as the result of "pathetic" thinking about sex that denies its inherent dangers. The most memorable and useful things here aside from Paglia's discussion of rape are the preface to Sexual Personae that was cut from the finished book, and her long and very critical review of two gay studies books, David M. Halperin's One Hundred Years of Homosexuality and John Winkler's The Constraints of Desire.

Much of Paglia's review of Halperin and Winkler's books is given over to a virulent denunciation of Michel Foucault. It's an entertaining read, and one cannot but agree with most of its judgments. Yet Paglia does sometimes misstep, even seriously. She denounces Foucault as "the ideal thinker for the yuppie age", commenting that "There are no untidy ambiguities in his system. Everything is rigidly schematic, overdetermined, reducible to chart form." That is an unfortunate accusation to make against Foucault, since the last part of it is literally true of Oswald Spengler, someone she admires: take a look at those charts at the back of The Decline of the West that explain the entire course of human history. Let it be remembered that Spengler, like Foucault, was accused of distorting historical facts to fit his theories. One senses, if not an unexplained double standard, then unresolved issues of some kind or other behind Paglia's praise of Spengler and condemnation of Foucault.

The other regrettable thing here is Paglia's observation that Foucault desperately tried to conceal his enormous debts to Émile Durkheim, which leaves her open to the retort that she too has unacknowledged intellectual debts, in her case to sociobiology and the work of anthropologist Donald Symons. This debt is apparent throughout Paglia's first three books, which recycle many of Symons' ideas, typically in a simplified or more extreme form. One can understand why Paglia didn't acknowledge Symons in Sexual Personae, but she certainly ought to have done so here. The cancelled preface to Sexual Personae would have been the ideal place for this: but while a long series of influences is acknowledged (Frazer's the Golden Bough, Jane Harrison's Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, Spengler's Decline of the West, D. H. Lawrence's Women in Love, Sandor Ferenczi's Thalassa, Erich Neumann's The Great Mother and Origins and History of Consciousness, Kenneth Clark's The Nude, Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space, Norman O. Brown's Life Against Death and Love's Body, and Leslie Fiedler's Love and Death in the American Novel) The Evolution of Human Sexuality, a perfectly obvious influence on Paglia's thinking about sexuality, is nowhere mentioned.
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
In a Class by Herself 14 septembre 2009
Par Christopher Tricarick - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
To read this book is an intellectual adventure. Miss Paglia stands alone, apart from her time, as Pound or Carlyle or Johnson did. Whether one agrees with everything she says is beside the point. First, she is a model of an independent-thinker who refuses to utter a cliche or pander to popular prejudice. Second, she stirs the reader to think for himself and to think clearly. Socrates says of himself that he is like a sort of gadfly which the gods sent to arouse a magnificent but lazy horse--the horse being Athens. Paglia is playing that role today and we must be grateful to her for it.

The main criticisms of this book stem from the essays on rape. Let's be honest, shall we? Paglia says "if a real rape happens I'll join the lynch mob myself--I'll organise the lynch mob!" To call her an apologist for rape is ridiculous. But to anyone who cares about the dignity of the human person, man or woman, the role into which Woman was implicitly forced by the sort of rhetoric which Paglia discusses here--that of a whining victim complaining tearily to authority figures whom she depends upon to redress her wrongs--was pathetic, and Paglia is right to protest against it. Secondly, there was a totally dishonest (or else stupidly unrealistic) view of human sexuality, and in particular of male sexuality, behind that rhetoric, and Paglia is right to point that out.

You don't have to agree with everything Paglia says here. I don't. In fact sometimes I think she contradicts herself and sometimes she is unconvincing--the fatal flaw of the self-conscious provocateur (provocateuse in this case?) is to be deliberately outrageous for the sake of getting attention, and Paglia is by no means free of it. But this is a work of opinion, not fact. To condemn the book because you don't agree with Paglia's opinions is to suggest that she doesn't have the right to express her opinions. If you find her views harmful, write your own book refuting her. The point is that she makes people think--simply to read her essays is to be forced to think independently. "Clear your mind of cant!" was Johnson's injunction. Cant--the gauzy, insipid, unthinking rhetoric that prevents us from seeing reality--is a danger in all times, and a very fatal danger in ours, and Paglia's prose is the best fog-clearing devise I've ever come across.

But the rape essays are not the most important thing here. That would have to be the tour-de-force at this book's centre--the long indictment of contemporary academia, glowing with white-hot rage, called "Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders: Academia in the Hour of the Wolf." Wow. Speechless. I felt my mind had been electrified for days after I'd read it. Again, in her rage she sometimes seems to try to pile on every possible attack on her subjects, and some of her attacks are petty and one or two are even unfair. But here she is fighting for nothing less than civilisation itself. She is generous to the people whom she attacks in giving a full and accurate picture of what they are saying, and then she demonstrates, with precision and passion (a rare and beautiful combination!) all the evil and horror of her target. This should be required reading for anyone even thinking of higher education. And the call to arms at the end is inspiring and almost reduced this reader to tears:

"I now address the graduate students...there is an ossified political establishment of invested self-interest. Conformity and empty pieties dominat academe. Rebel....Charge yourself with the high ideal of scholarship, connecting you to Alexandria and to the devoted, distinguished scholars who came before you. When you build on learning, you build on rock. You become greater by humility towards great things....

"The palace has been taken over by shallow upstarts, raiding and wasting the treasury laid up by so many noble generations. It's time to clean house."

These could have been mere cliches if they had not been supported by the closely-argued, fact-filled pages which come before them.

The M.I.T. lecture is largely a less-powerful re-treading of the same material we had elsewhere, but if you love the Paglia style you'll enjoy it.

A word about "East meets West"--it's a synopsis of a cross-cultural class which Paglia taught together with Lily Yeh. Since most of the class seems to have consisted of the two teachers showing their students slides of statues and other art works, and then commenting on them, reading it without seeing the works sometimes seems less than rewarding. Also, the comments range from insightful and inspiring to obvious and, I'm sorry to say, cliched. But the point, I think, is to illustrate what Paglia thinks a lecture course should be. The real work is done by the student in the library. The lecture is simply a series of hints, suggestions, meant to provoke further and deeper study. It sure sounds like a class one would have enjoyed sitting in on!
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