Sex, Art, and American Culture  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Sex, Art and American Culture: Essays (1992) is a collection of short pieces by Camille Paglia, many published previously as editorials or reviews, and some transcripts of interviews. The essays cover such subjects as Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, black music, rock music, Robert Mapplethorpe, Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination, rape, Marlon Brando, drag, Milton Kessler, and academia. It made the New York Times bestseller list for paperbacks.

Whereas the 24 chapters of Sexual Personae looked at the study of decadence in art and culture from Egyptian history to the late 19th century, Sex, Art, and American Culture (1992), exposed readers to Paglia's views on contemporary figures such as Madonna ("the future of feminism"), Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Mapplethorpe and Anita Hill.

Two chapters of the book were devoted to date rape, which the author said contemporary feminists had been incapable of preventing. "Rape is an outrage that cannot be tolerated in civilized society", she wrote, "yet feminism, which has waged a crusade for rape to be taken more seriously, has put young women in danger by hiding the truth about sex from them."

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