23 January 2018

Dali Vs. George Orwell

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Salvador Dali with Fleur in 1959

In 1944 George Orwell wrote an essay called “Benefit of Clergy,” in which he calls Salvador Dali a “disgusting human being.”

The judgment may seem overly harsh except that any honest person would say the same given the episodes Dali describes in his autobiography, which Orwell finds utterly revolting. "If it were possible for a book to give a physical stink off its pages," he writes, "this one would.” The episodes he refers to include, at six years old, Dali kicking his three-year-old sister in the head, “as though it had been a ball,” the artist writes, then running away “with a ‘delirious joy’ induced by this savage act.” They include throwing a boy from a suspension bridge, and, at 29 years old, trampling a young girl “until they had to tear her, bleeding, out of my reach.” And many more such violent and disturbing descriptions.