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It's hard to think of a solo female recording artist who has been as revered or as reviled over the course of her career as Tori Amos. Amy Gentry argues that these violent aesthetic responses to Amos's performance, both positive and negative, are organized around disgust-the disgust that women are taught to feel, not only for their own bodies, but for their taste in music. Released in 1996, Amos's third album, Boys for Pele, represents the height of Amos's willingness to explore the ugly qualities that make all of her music, even her more conventionally beautiful albums, so uncomfortably, and so wonderfully, strange. Using a blend of memoir, criticism, and aesthetic theory, Gentry argues that the aesthetics of disgust are useful for thinking in a broader way about women's experience of all art forms.
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Amy Gentry is an Austin-based writer with a PhD in English. Her book reviews regularly appear in the Chicago Tribune; she has published freelance work in Salon, The Rumpus, The Hairpin, xoJane, LA Review of Books, Austin Chronicle, Texas Observer, Gastronomica, and Best Food Writing 2014, among others.
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