Thursday, March 15, 2018

'The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí' (1942): Early In Spain

The Secret Life of Salvador Dalítranslated into English by Haakon Chevalier. New York: Dial Press, 1942. Since reprinted by various publishers. 

Dalí's (1904-1989) innately bizarre way of seeing things is all here, but to my surprise, so is a consistent sort of Catholicism. There's a lot of depth in this book. Dalí was a strange person, and an interesting one.

Childhood and young adulthood are conjured in a way that feels accurate -- we tend to forget how precocious and weird children can be on the inside. Dalí remembers, maybe even with more than a touch of obsessive compulsion.

Dalí as a kid, not quite an adolescent:

 . . . I determined the methodical distribution of the events of my future days, for with my avidity for all things, resulting from my new and bubbling vitality, I felt that I needed a minimum of order so as not to destroy my enthusiasm in contradictory and simultaneous desires. For I now wanted to take frenzied advantage of everything all at once, to be everywhere at the same moment. I understood very quickly that with the disorder in which I went about wanting to enjoy and bite and touch everything I would in the end not be able to taste or savor anything at all and that the more I clutched at pleasure, attempting to profit by the gluttonous economy of a single gesture, the more this pleasure would slip and escape from my too avid hands.

And so he chose to adopt "a jesuitical and meticulous program . . . strictly and severely exacting." (Chapter Five: "True Childhood Memories.")  

And on he will go, to Madrid, and Paris and New York City, and eventually back to Spain, and even recently in the news. 

It'll take a few posts to complete the job.

Today's Rune: Flow. 

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