Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Addition: The Tragic Myth of Millet's Angelus.

After seeing this book referenced over the years in so many publications by/about Dali, I finally got a chance to delve into it for myself.

Anxious for the revelation of its contents, I raced through an initial reading of the book at lightning speed.  When finished, I had no idea what I had just read!  Nothing made any sense at all.  I figured I owed it to myself to give it another read.

The second time around things were clearer, but only to a point.  I think the difficulty with understanding this book is that Dali tries to present for objective scrutiny something that is so very personal and specific to only him.

Sure, one can glean from this book a basic understanding of Dali's paranoia-critical method.  However, one may not be able to follow the logic with which Dali connects various memories, visions, and experiences to Millet's Angelus.

I was able to follow some of the connections, but others were so loosely connected that I just couldn't follow the association.

I must say that I did come away with an understanding behind the existence of the twilight atmosphere in many of Dali's works, and I think I know why Dali paints so many desolate landscapes largely devoid of foliage.  Other than that, most of Dali's symbolism is largely personal to himself, and this book doesn't really clear up that issue.

The main text is 176 pages.  This is followed by a 30-page chapter titled The Myth of William Tell, which is simply Dali's story of his expulsion from the surrealist group, dated 1952.  Finally, two articles by Dali printed in the Minotaur (from 1933 and 1934 respectively) are reproduced here.

The second article is particularly outlandish in which Dali seems to compare the extraction of blackheads from one's nose (issue ... of our ... thick and personal "Time-Space") to, well, I'm really not sure what!  It seems like he is saying that all objects are foreign bodies of space.

Truly mind-blowing reading for sure, which leads me to exclaim that the only difference between Dali and LSD is that Dali was not on LSD!  Or was he?

This book is limited to 500 copies and is therefore extremely difficult to attain.  You can expect to pay $90 and up for a copy of this book which had a sticker price of $15.95 when it was published.

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