Though she defends her academic reputation fiercely, Paglia has revelled in the media notoriety 1990s Sexual Personae brought her and which her subsequent publications Sex, Art and American Culture and Vamps and Tramps compounded. It doesn't take a scholar to sniff an overriding theme here, but for every ploddingly tendentious metaphor - "When men urinate they have this arc... adulthood is learning... to make an arc of transcendence" - Paglia still manages to illuminate gender issues from Nefertiti onwards with flashes of intelligence.
Whether or not you agreed with her celebration of Madonna in 1990 (as seen in The Independent's Sunday sister) or her perception of Princess Diana in 1992 as the androgynous classical Greek boy archetype, the provocative insights Paglia believes are a by-product of her bisexuality are difficult to ignore.
The Italian-American has few allies to share her strident conviction that the feminist movement has not only betrayed women but has also been of enormous disservice to men. No doubt Paglia will say as much tonight. Her contribution to the joint lecture with Beatrix Campbell on the history of feminism will probably go short on intentional humour but, if you can roll with the rhetorical punches, there ought to be plenty more where this came from: "My motto for men is going to be this. Get it up! And now my motto for women. Deal with it!"
Tonight, 7.30pm pounds 7 (concs pounds 4) QEH, South Bank Centre, London SE1 0171- 960 4242Reuse content