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The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali

Gibson, Ian

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ISBN 10: 0571167519 / ISBN 13: 9780571167517
Published by Faber & Faber, 1997
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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first edition. dust jacket in brodart wraps. edge and corner wear, a couple of tears to dust jacket. bottom corners of boards bumped. text is clean. binding tight. Bookseller Inventory # 024826

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Good

Edition: First Edition

About this title


This biography argues that Salvador Dali lived a "shameful" life in every way: that underlying his exhibitionism was an intense feeling of shame, the individual hanging his head being one of the recurrent themes of his painting. Based on extensive original research and recently discovered sources, as well as an interview with Dali himself, the book presents a portrait of a disjointed character. Ian Gibson emphasizes the literary side of Dali's career and re-examines the two principal relationships of his life - with Federico Garcia Lorca, and with the libidinous Gala.


"The world will admire me. Perhaps I'll be despised and misunderstood, but I'll be a great genius, I'm certain of it."

At 16, Salvador Dali had already developed the remarkable ego and uncanny perception that would distinguish him as one of the most notorious artists of the 20th century. A self-proclaimed surrealist, an avant-garde exhibitionist, and a criticized commercialist with questionable political affiliations, Dali was anything but benign. Biographer Ian Gibson (Federico Garcia Lorca) argues that the modern master was motivated primarily by the very last thing anyone would suspect him of: a very deep sense of shame. Via the artist's correspondence, diary, and autobiography (The Secret Life of Salvador Dali), Gibson meticulously stitches together the wild characters and deep-dish details of Dali's life: a guilt-ridden childhood, feelings of sexual inadequacy ("...I discovered that my penis was small, pitiful and soft"), his love affairs with Lorca and sex-pot Gala and the real passion of his life, surrealism. Critical, fair, and lively, The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali digs beyond the escapades and outlandish façade to expose the very personal and vulnerable side of one of the world's most eccentric performers.

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