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The Apocryphal Subject

Masochism, Identification and Paranoia in Salvador Dalí's Autobiographical Writings


David Vilaseca

A self-appointed «genius,» Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) represents one of the most original, controversial and profoundly subversive phenomena in contemporary Western culture. This study focuses on the artist's autobiographical writings - particularly on The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (1942) - proposing that without a notion of fantasy and identification, we are unable either to understand Dalí's own subjective movements in the memoirs or what he has come to represent for us. The Apocryphal Subject is the first book to adopt a poststructuralist perspective for the study of Dalí's writings, offering new insights on, for example, the artist's attachments to Federico G. Lorca and his wife Gala. The book draws extensively upon current debates in deconstructive and psychoanalytic criticism (particularly on the themes of homosexuality, masochism, abjection and paranoia), showing how no writer demonstrates more forcefully than Dalí the irreducible contradictions and plurality of desires which constitute our contemporary postmodern identities.