Cover image for Diary of a genius
Title:
Diary of a genius
Author:
Dalí, Salvador, 1904-1989.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Journal d'un génie. English
Publication Information:
London, England : Creation Books, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
186 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781871592764
Format :
Book

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ND813.D3 A353 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

One of the seminal texts of Surrealism, revealing the most astonishing and intimate workings of the mind of Salvador Dali, the eccentric polymath genius who became the living embodiment of the 20th century's most intensely subversive, disturbing and influential art movement.


Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Secrest, Meryle. Salvador Dal's greatest creation may be his public self. Consistently flamboyant, obfuscating, and bizarrely theatrical for more than 40 years, Dal continued to make headlines as a showman long after the completion of his best work. Meryle Secrest's lucid account of the artist's neurotic and chaotic life is both riveting and depressing. Dal seems to have been mad from birth and was a tremendously moody, phobic, and willful child. Secrest does a thorough, jargon-free job of identifying his fears and obsessions as expressed in his paintings and of chronicling his involvement and break with the surrealists. Her treatment of Dal's astounding commercial success and complex relationship with his enigmatic wife, Gala, gets behind the myths that the artist so studiously perpetuated. Notes; bibliography; to be indexed. Dal's own Diary of a Genius, which covers the years 1952 to 1963, is in perfect counterpoint to the biography. Here is full-fledged Dalism, embracing descriptions of technical difficulties in works in progress, eloquent and inventively symbolic anecdotes, dreams, and extolments to his goddess, Gala. Dal's dazzling imagination and extraordinary energy will continue to intrigue and delight, but what ultimately emerges from both books is his profound isolation and sorrow. DK.


Excerpts

Excerpts

...Having finally absorbed everything the Surrealists had published, and imbued with Lautreamont and the Marquis de Sade, I entered the group, armed with a Jesuitical good faith, but determined to become its leader as soon as possible. Why should I burden myself with Christian scruples concerning my new father, Andre Breton, when I had none for the one who had brought me into the world? So I took surrealism literally, neglecting neither the blood nor excrements on which its advocates fed their diatribes. In the same way that I had applied myself to becoming a perfect atheist by reading my father's books, I was such a conscientious student of surrealism that I rapidly became the only 'integral Surrealist'. To such a degree that I was finally expelled from the group because I was too Surrealist. The alleged reasons for this I considered to be of the same nature as those which had prompted my expulsion from my family, Gala-Gradiva, 'she who advances', 'the Immaculate intuition', had been right once again. Today I can say that of all my certainties, there are only two that cannot be explained by my will to power: one is my faith, which I rediscovered in 1949, and the other is that Gala will always be right about my future. When Breton discovered my painting, he was shocked by the scatological elements that stained it. This surprised me. I started from shit, which from the psychoanalytical point of view could be interpreted as the happy omen of the gold that - fortunately! - threatened to pour down on me. Subtly, I tried to make the Surrealists believe that these scatological elements could only bring luck to the movement. Invoke though I might the digestive iconography of all ages and all civilisations - the hen that laid the golden eggs, the intestinal delirium of Danae, the ass whose dung was gold - they refused to trust me. I made up my mind at once. Since they would have nothing to do with the shit I offered them so generously, I would keep these treasures and this gold for myself. The famous anagram laboriously composed twenty years later by Breton, 'Avida Dollars', might have been proclaimed even at that time. A mere week spent with the Surrealists was enough to show me that Gala was right. They tolerated to a certain extent my scatological elements. On the other hand a number of other things were declared 'taboo'. Here I recognised the same prohibitions I had encountered in my family circle. Blood they allowed me. I could add a bit of shit... Excerpted from Diary of a Genius by Salvador Dalí All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.