La Femme visible by Salvador Dalí at the Reading Club

For the session of the Reading Club of this month of April, we took a risk with a marvellous, but very demanding, book: La Femme visible, by Salvador Dalí, in the magnificent edition of Vicent Santamaria de Mingo. Demanding, because the texts in La Femme visible, that Dalí originally published in 1930, were his artistic statement as well as his letter of introduction in front of the surrealists of Paris.

La Femme visible

As Vicent explained to us in the session, Dalí’s book is a book written from surrealism for surrealists, which explains the extra effort required to aprehend the text, for which the help of the notes and articlesc that accompany Dalí’s volume is greatly appreciated.

The book itself is a little jewel, for various reasons: it is a privileged gateway to Dalí’s work and to the theoretical development of his ‘paranoiac-critical’ method. It represents a counter-figure to the personage of Dalí (above all, to the later one) to the extent that it allows us to discover him as a theoretical high-flyer, at the level of Breton or Éluard, capable of quoting with admirable competence the theory of relativity of Einstein, of Bergsonism (from whom he definitively departs in these texts) and Freudian psychoanalysis. It is, at the same time, a deliberate gesture and very interesting stance, as we have said, in front of the surrealists of Paris and one of the first acts of mature self-definition of Dalí. Finally it is an extremely interesting book-object, which plays with the various material elements of the original edition so as to display what he proposes theoretically and poetically. The fact that the edition has aimed to recuperate the main features of this design (the red cover, the game of reflections proposed with the photograph of Gala that opens the text, etc.) is another of the undoubted successes of the Catalan edition. The splendid translation done by Enric Cassasses is another.

The conversation with Vicent Santamaria helps us to go over the history of the publication of both editions and to outline a little bit more about a character who was extremely rich and multifaceted, capable of arousing intense anxieties and fascinations. It was said that the work of Dalí survives time, but we realize straight away that it is so, but here’s not enough. Re-editions of his texts need to be done: it’s necessary to have them known. They need to be placed in the hands of those who want to read and to think about them. Perhaps this is the ultimate success of this re-edition: that of the possibility.

For the next and final session of the season, that will take place on Thursday May 14, we will talk about Summer of love Toni Orensanz the author.

Borja Bagunyà

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