Camille (Anna) Paglia (born April 2, 1947 in Endicott, New York) is a social critic, author and feminist.

Paglia is an intellectual of many apparent contradictions: a classicist who champions art both high and low, with a Hobbesian view that human nature is inherently dangerous, and yet who also celebrates dionysian revelry in the wilder, darker sides of human sexuality.

Paglia reached the height of her fame in 1992 with the publication of Sex, Art and American Culture. Much read on college campuses, she became a minor media icon and published short pieces in a number of mainstream magazines. Her next book, Vamps and Tramps (late 1994), was a collection of those short pieces along with other ephemera. Much of this material was dated by the time it appeared in book form, and thus the book represented something of a falling-off. Strangely, Paglia has not produced another book in the decade since, apart from a short volume in the BFI Film Classics series.

Her significance in the 1990s intellectual world was two-fold:

  1. The seventies had seen the rise of a particularly rigid, doctrinaire "feminism" that many were finding stifling but only a few were challenging (e.g., the "sex positive" S&M lesbians, perhaps typified by Susie Bright).
  2. The left was pushing for a change in the traditional focus of western universities on western culture (sometimes derided as the study of "dead white males"). For example, Stanford University was dropping its well-regarded undergraduate requirement of a year-long course in "Western Culture" in favor of a more broadly-focused study of "Cultures Ideas and Values" or CIV.

Against this backdrop, Camille Paglia appeared on the scene as a female intellectual who enjoyed challenging the left-wing position in these areas, but far from being the usual stodgy conservative, she did so by arguing from an unusual, flashy position that also embraced homosexuality, fetish, and prostitution. Her later writings in her column in Salon often use the word "libertarian," as she speaks out in favor of individual freedom, which may help explain the apparent contradiction, and the consternation she causes in crossing back and forth between the dominant political camps.

Table of contents
1 Books
2 Education
3 Career
4 Awards
5 External Links



SUNY Binghamton, BA, 1964-1968 Yale University, MPhil, 1971 Yale University, PhD (English), 1974. Dissertation supervised by Harold Bloom.


Bennington, VT, fac. Lit and Lang. 72-80 Wesleyan, Middletown, CT. vis. lec. Eng, 80 Yale, fellow of Ezra Stiles College, 81 Yale, vis. lec. Comparative Lit., 81, 84 Yale, vis. lec. English, 1981-83 Yale, fellow of Silliman College, 1984 University of the Arts, PA., asst. prof. 84-86 University of the Arts, PA., associate prof. 87-91 University of the Arts, PA., professor of Humanities, 1991--


National Book Critics Circle Award nom. 91

External Links