Salvador Dalí’s Literary Self-portrait: Approaches to a Surrealist Autobiography


This book remedies decades of critical neglect that has deprived the fields of art and literary criticism of one of the most important autobiographical and surrealist works of the twentieth century. It reveals the origins of the text, its relation to and role within Dalí's corpus, as well as its reception, provocative power, and lasting popular success. The study examines the literary contexts and sources of the text as well as its structural and narrative devices, and reveals its complex parodic mechanics that caricaturize the Freudian self. In addition, the book illuminates the pictorial elements of Dalí's narrative and the major components of his fictional self-portrait. Finally, an interpretation within the Freudian and Surrealist contexts of the fascinating and intricate drawings and photo montages of The Secret Life illustrates the uniqueness of an autobiography designed to be read as much as to be contemplated.


Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Publication Date



Bucknell University Press

Document Type



Nominated for the 2010 MLA James Russell Lowell Prize by Bucknell University Press.