“Were this world an endless plain…” (Moby-Dick)

Were this world an endless plain, and by sailing eastward we could for ever reach new distances, and discover sights more sweet and strange than any Cyclades or Islands of King Solomon, then there were promise in the voyage. But in pursuit of those far mysteries we dream of, or in tormented chase of that demon phantom that, some time or other, swims before all human hearts; while chasing such over this round globe, they either lead us on in barren mazes or midway leave us whelmed.

From “The Albatross,” Chapter 52 of Melville’s Moby-Dick.



Camille Paglia’s Glittering Images (Book Acquired, 10.02.2012)


Camille Paglia’s latest is a gorgeous, glossy, oversized collection of essays on imagery and art. I haven’t read it in full yet, but Paglia considers an image or series of images (reproduced in full, of course), and then considers the image in a loose, riffing essay of a few short pages. She does this for almost thirty images, but I was immediately drawn to her final essay, a glowing adoration of George Lucas’s Revenge of the Sith. She had me at that moment—I’m a passionate defender of Sith, a film that navigates the tension between democracy and egotism. 

Anyway, full review to come. Here’s a lousy pic of the interior (glossy pages = glare).


Publisher Pantheon’s blurb:

From the best-selling author of Sexual Personae and Break, Blow, Burn and one of our most acclaimed cultural critics, here is an enthralling journey through Western art’s defining moments, from the ancient Egyptian tomb of Queen Nefertari to George Lucas’s volcano planet duel in Revenge of the Sith.

America’s premier intellectual provocateur returns to the subject that brought her fame, the great themes of Western art. Passionately argued, brilliantly written, and filled with Paglia’s trademark audacity, Glittering Images takes us on a tour through more than two dozen seminal images, some famous and some obscure or unknown—paintings, sculptures, architectural styles, performance pieces, and digital art that have defined and transformed our visual world. She combines close analysis with background information that situates each artist and image within its historical context—from the stone idols of the Cyclades to an elegant French rococo interior to Jackson Pollock’s abstract Green Silver to Renée Cox’s daring performance piece Chillin’ with Liberty. And in a stunning conclusion, she declares that the avant-garde tradition is dead and that digital pioneer George Lucas is the world’s greatest living artist. Written with energy, erudition, and wit, Glittering Images is destined to change the way we think about our high-tech visual environment.