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The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) Paperback – March 3, 1993


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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: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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Customer Reviews

I recommend the book to people interested in the man.
The-Joker-82
You might spend more time getting through the vocabulary, phasing and references, given the book was written in the 40's and translated, but worth every minute.
S. Smith
This is Dali's way of winking at the reader--and yet it's an ambiguous wink at best.
Mark Nadja

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 41 people found the following review helpful 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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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nadja on April 30, 2008
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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32 of 41 people found the following review helpful By D.C.Meyer on December 6, 1999
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. head on July 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
the book had a little of everything. Salvador Dali can be an interesting writer, and some sections of the book demonstrate this. The early chapters of the book covering his childhood are difficult to trudge through between irrational events and memories and ones that seem plausible. It is not a very good autobiography for recording ones milestones, but I suppose it recorded things that appealed and became ingrained in Dali to become motifs in his art, such as crutches for instance. As the book progressed Dali's philosophy became a little more clear and the book a little more interesting, especially as he and his wife Gala visited America and the world was prepping for World War II. All in all, I would rather have read a straight forward Dali biography than his convoluted auto-biography. You have to be a very tolerant reader to put up episodes that are difficult to visualizse or understand and to keep asking yourself, "Is this true or is Dali dreaming it up?"
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1997
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful 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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18 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Salvador Dali is a genius, and even though I really do think that it is redundant to say genius and Salvador Dali in the same sentence, it serves it's purpose. This book, so intimitely perverse yet, cunningly understandable sets an example for man kind at it's best. Who has ever dreamed of conducting their own experiments based off of their wildest dreams? Or plunged off of a stair case to give the example of anti-limitation? How about searching their entire life for their one true love, ignoring all possibilities of just a fling or a relationship without meaning. Everything has meaning to Dali, and he brings that meaning to real life. I know that I have always wanted to explore my wildest dreams in actuality, and this book gives me the power to overcome what other people think. Salvador realises that what others think is important, but he knows that their thoughts and actions, when based upon his own unpredictablity makes a hell of a show for the audience within. Through this book you will learn to think outside the box and everything for one instant will make sense in your mind. Or you could read it without knowing what you are getting into exactly and become the most disgusted person on Earth. That doesn't matter though... all that you have to do is comprehend, and he will help you with that.
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