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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) Paperback – March 3, 1993

4.4 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

From the Back Cover

Painter, designer, and filmmaker Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) was one of the most colorful and controversial figures in twentieth-century art. A pioneer of Surrealism, he was both praised and reviled for the subconscious imagery he projected into his paintings, which he sometimes referred to as "hand-painted dream photographs."
This early autobiography, which takes him through his late thirties, is as startling and unpredictable as his art. It is superbly illustrated with over 80 photographs of Dalí and his works, and scores of Dalí drawings and sketches. On its first publication, the reviewer of Books observed: "It is impossible not to admire this painter as writer. As a whole, he . . . communicates the snobbishness, self-adoration, comedy, seriousness, fanaticism, in short the concept of life and the total picture of himself he sets out to portray."
Dalí's flamboyant self-portrait begins with his earliest recollections and ends at the pinnacle of his earliest successes. His tantalizing chapter titles and headnotes—among them "Intra-Uterine Memories," "Apprenticeship to Glory," "Permanent Expulsion from the School of Fine Arts," "Dandyism and Prison," "I am Disowned by my Family," "My Participation and my Position in the Surrealist Revolution," and "Discovery of the Apparatus for Photographing Thought"—only hint at the compelling revelations to come.
Here are fascinating glimpses of the brilliant, ambitious, and relentlessly self-promoting artist who designed theater sets, shop interiors, and jewelry as readily as he made surrealistic paintings and films. Here is the mind that could envision and create with great technical virtuosity images of serene Raphaelesque beauty one moment and nightmarish landscapes of soft watches, burning giraffes, and fly-covered carcasses the next. For anyone interested in twentieth-century art and one of its most gifted and charismatic figures, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí is essential reading.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Fine Art, History of Art
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (March 3, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486274543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486274546
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Genius isn't pretty, if we are to deduce that this revelation of the secret life of Salvador Dali is representative of the inner reality of genius in general. For certain, genuine creation isn't pretty, as anyone who's ever witnessed childbirth might attest: it's accomplished by blood, obscenity, mucous, hysterics, farts, and pain. Out of such undifferentiated chaos does one mold the miracle of his creation. So in *The Secret Life of Salvador Dali* we get the "confession" of a man whose life from earliest childhood is replete with incidents, fantasies, attitudes, and behaviors that can only be considered pathological.

But then how much of this memoir is "real" and how much artistic hyperbole is a question open to debate. For Dali consciously mythologizes his life and makes no secret of the fact that much of his "secret life" may not have actually taken place except in his imagination. "The difference," he writes, "between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant." And shortly afterwards he writes of his life that the "all-powerful sway of reverie and myth began to mingle in such a continuous and imperious way with the life of every moment that later it has often become impossible for me to know where reality begins and the imaginary ends." This is Dali's way of winking at the reader--and yet it's an ambiguous wink at best.

For what must always be remembered is that for Dali, the imagination is every bit as "real" in its impact, just as material and plastic, as any historical or anecdotal fact of existence--if anything, the hyper-intensity of Dali's imagination gives his reveries even greater reality.
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1 Comment 29 of 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on October 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
Those fascinated by Dali's artwork will want to read this autobiography. Dali provides 400 pages of commentary describing/explaining the symbols of his artwork.. Mostly psychoanalytic approaches. There are a number of descriptions of events that shaped his thoughts from childhood. A great read for anyone seeking companionship in a world that resists weirdness.
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Format: Paperback
This book reveals that in addition to being one of the century's greatest visual artists, he was also a tallented and entertaining writer. Dali's personality is all here-- the brilliance, the cruelty, the humor, and the megalomania.
If you compare this with other sources you'll find that the chronology for his youth is off, and (not surprisingly) some incidents are creatively embellished. Still, anyone interested in the artist should read this book first-- it's a great self portrait by a brilliant eccentric artist.
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Format: Paperback
This book is the ultimate in thought and surrealism. Salvador Dali covers everything from polymorphism to why he doesn't eat spinach, and he does it with a bang! Excellent
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Format: Paperback
First of all, let me state that I still really admire Dali's undeniably talented and very imaginative work as an artist. At the time of writing this review, I can still honestly say that Salvador Dali is my favorite visual artist qua artist. However, I never realized how truly horrible of a person he is until I have read this book. In this book, you will find Dali gleefully describing, without any hint of remorse, how he would kick his baby sister in the head amongst other passages where Dali is obviously trying to make the reader uncomfortable, such as his extensive description of getting a piece of dried mucus lodged under his fingernail.

Reading this book really has solidified my perception of Salvador Dali as the kind of individual who takes great pleasure in deliberately confusing, fooling or repulsing an audience. Reading this book will not provide you with insight on the motivation behind Dali's works nor will it offer an honest portrayal of his life. Instead, it will just be an extensive lesson in how Dali would entertain an audience through narration. Sometimes his anecdotes can be quite amusing, which suggests that this book is appropriate for truly devoted fans of the great surrealist. However, I personally found it to be too unpleasant to recommend.
3 Comments 17 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
considering my obsession with dali, you readers may find that my comment will be somewhat biased...yes, this book is quite strange and exaggerated, but how and what would you expect dali ,this eccentric artist to write? when you read this book, you get the feel of dali...whether his narcissim or egotism, you do not have to take him too seriously...he loved to shock and contradict in his life time , and naturally that was his goal with this book...its quite amusing really! a book that in my opinion must be read by dali lovers or haters.
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By J. A. Buhrer on December 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I don't write many 5 star reviews, but I really really liked this book. It is truly a peek into a brilliant mind. As an artist, it is impossible for me to read this book and not be inspired. As usual, Dali has his fun with the audience, but that only adds to the greatness of this work.
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By A Customer on October 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
Those fascinated by Dali's artwork will want to read this autobiography. Dali provides 400 pages of commentary describing/explaining the symbols of his artwork.. Mostly psychoanalytic approaches. There are a number of descriptions of events that shaped his thoughts from childhood. A great read for anyone seeking companionship in a world that resists weirdness.
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