*Glittering Images*, the new Camille Paglia book

The subtitle is A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars and according to Paglia “The format of the book is based on Catholic breviaries of devotional images, like Mass cards of the saints.”

It presents powerful works of art and tells the reader to submit to them; for that alone it is better than most other books.  The influence of Harold Bloom, Paglia’s earlier teacher, is strong throughout.  The interpretations seem unsure as to whether they are summaries or revelations, bold challenges to orthodoxy or obvious truths.  I am glad I bought the book but still my itch for the Paglia of Sexual Personae — say the Edmund Spenser chapter (the book’s highlight in my view) — remains unscratched.

Here is Paglia on George Lucas, an excerpt from the latter part of the book.  I do not feel the need to criticize her main claim (Lucas is the greatest artist of our time), still her obsession with mythology and cinematographic technique to me misses the import of Lucas’s saga of glorious collapse, discussed only briefly, though I do like this bit: “Lucas crosscuts to the delirious destruction on Coruscant of the Great Rotunda of the Galactic Senate, with its thousand round balconies in cool tonalities of gray and black. This twinned ruination of industrial and political architecture is an epic Romantic spectacle…”

Recommended, but we are still waiting for the last three installments of Camille’s ouevre.


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