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If you're not a huge fan of Salvador Dali, then I recommend that you DON'T read this book. Salvador Dali was one of the most arrogant artists of his time, and yet it is hard to deny that he was also one of the biggest geniuses. He knew his own greatness- hence the title of this book- and he did not fail to celebrate it during his lifetime. Any reader who is familiar with his work can easily forgive his eccentricities, but there is no escaping the madness of this text.
In Diary of a Genius we learn that Dali's enthusiasm for artwork borders on manic, and that Dali was obsessive in his mania. His grasp of words is as poignant as his grasp of the drawing pencil and the paintbrush: 'I don't do drugs. I am drugs', and I found it hilarious and inspiring throughout the book. That he has such audacity astounds me even now, and it has led me into greater appreciation of the artist than I already had before reading this book.
It's hard to read Diary of a Genius without feeling that Dali is putting on an extravagant and ridiculous show and persona to impress the reader. Dali himself wrote: 'It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself', yet varied accounts from Dali's friends and other 20th century artists regarding his manner affirm that he was indeed as wacky as the book reveals.
That Dali was intelligent and artistically gifted goes without saying. To really see how his mind worked and what inspired him, this book is a unique and fascinating insight. He drew inspiration, he tells us, from everything, including faeces, rotten fish, death, beauty and the grotesque. Indeed, nothing fails to inspire him- except perhaps the thought of doing a large batch of laundry!
Beneath all his musings and talk of ambition lies Dali's obsessive love of his wife Gala, which borders on deity-like worship at times, and which Dali is eager to tell us all about- however bizarre or intimate the details may be.
To read Diary of a Genius is to take a leap into something highly original, surreal, and exhilarating, much like Dali's artwork. As Dali himself writes in the book, 'What is important is to spread confusion, not eliminate it.'.. And I loved every word of it.