For nearly three decades, Camille Paglia, Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, has been one of America’s most controversial and consistent public intellectuals. Her writings have covered topics ranging from Aeschylus to Madonna; from Baroque art to liberal Presbyterian attitudes to human sexuality. A truly independent thinker, she is an avowed atheist who still has a deep appreciation for religion; a committed feminist who is yet hated by the feminist establishment. Her work on both the problems of post-structuralism and on the role of aesthetics in ethical thinking has had a profound influence on my own understanding of those disciplines. In a world of cheap wannabes, she is the real thing: a truly learned cultural commentator and critic whose unpredictably provocative opinions are always worth pondering.
Her latest book, Provocations, consists of her collected essays and media interviews from the last twenty-five years of her career. Wide-ranging in scope, they represent her polymathic brilliance at its best—she is as comfortable commenting on Homer and Aeschylus as she is on David Bowie and The Yardbirds. It was therefore a great pleasure to have the opportunity to interview her about this new volume and (hopefully) to introduce her work to a new audience.
Read Carl Trueman’s complete interview with Camille Paglia