Dark Powers: Camille Paglia
Cultural historian Camille Paglia explores some of Shakespeare's hard-to-like women characters, from King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. A grand tour through ideas about art, education and myth -- and how art teaches us how to live.
**This episode originally aired February 3, 2015
"For women, it is not risible, as Gloria Steinem tried to make it, that Freud asked 'what does a woman want?', because I think that many women do not know what they want, and react with life in a kind-of improvisatory fashion.
- Camille Paglia
It's been said that anyone who's been following the body count in the culture wars knows who Camille Paglia is. But if you haven't been following, or if you just need reminding, she's a feminist who drives feminists crazy, an academic who doesn't fit in academia, a Democrat who thinks her own party isn't Republican enough, and a social critic who's for abortion, sodomy, pornography, drugs, prostitution and suicide. All in all, she's a hellraiser guaranteed to cheese off just about everyone.
But Camille Paglia is also guaranteed to make you think. Which makes her a great teacher, and someone we absolutely need. This past summer, she was invited to the Stratford Festival to talk about the dark women of Shakespeare, a topic she cheerfully ignored, but what she did talk about was art, how it informs our lives, how everything we need to know can be found there, and how some of the more difficult women in Shakespeare's plays illuminate the complexities of our own time.
Reading List - Books by Camille Paglia
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990)
The book that made her famous - a magnum opus on men, women, sex, culture and civilisation.
Sex, Art and American Culture: Essays (1992)
Essays about everything from Madonna to the Supreme Court
Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars (2012)
A collection of essays about how to read great works of art, from ancient to modern times.