Salvador Dalí

Memories of Surrealism – Text 2

lithograph on paper
Inventory number 494d

English translation from French


Let this be quite clear today: I am not only a first-class plagiarist, but also one of the first thieves, just like the God Mercury who was chief of the thieves. Lest anyone say that I am dishonest to the people I rob, let it be known by all, according to the tradition of the legitimate kings, that I hereby declare that all I am doing is a repetition of the appropriation process, which is not achieved by Marcel Duchamp in his ready-made, but that of Louis XIV, when at the most glorious time of his reign, he said: “L’État c’est Moi”. (Some information on Louis XIV, the Great: called Dieudonné—Heaven-sent—for his birth had been awaited 23 years, son of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, he was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1638, was king of France from 1643 to 1715 and died in Versailles. He was not yet five when he succeeded his father under the regency of this mother and the ministry of Mazarin. In 1661, after Mazarin’s death, Louis XIV announced to the Council of Ministers that he intended to rule by himself from then on: “L’État c’est Moi”.)


The picture which is the origin of this sort of glorious and delirious collage is exactly called “Assumpta corpuscularia lapis lazulina”, and yesterday morning at 11p.m.—you will notice that I always say yesterday morning at 11 p.m. so that nobody should think my watches work like any other watches—I had the genial intuition which is going to enlighten you about nuclear physics. The true anti-protonic forces can only be seen through the action of neutrinos. Everybody knows, and has learned in school, since this is elementary nuclear physics, that neutrinos have no atomic weight, nor any substance of any kind. The only thing they have, and they are the only ones to have it, is this marvelous thing called “spin”, a rotary energy force, and this is why, instead of making everything revolve, I give it anti-protonic verticality.


Minerva is the opposite of a grass-hopper, and my enemy, my phobia is the hopper. For hoppers, “cavalettti”, are like the “cavali”, the wild boars that are hunted, and in respect of which Nietsche recommended that they be killed so that Dionysios can be changed into Apollo: thus by killing the grass-hopper or the boar you can reach the Goddess of intelligence. The Emperor Trajan was a great hunter of wild boars; he killed them with a lance as you can see on the medals in Rome, and so did Philip IV of Spain. The same sort of hunting was practiced in the time of Velasquez, as he proved when he painted “Tela Real”, the Royal Canvass which is in the National Gallery in London (and on which one can write several immortal pages of surrealistic literature).


If you wish to attract bombyx moths, all you have to do is to hang into your bedroom, your dining room or anywhere else, the tail of a cod. Fifteen minutes later there come the moths which are those the divine Dali brought to the ball given by the Baron de Rédé. The moths were still in their little silk cocoons and had been supplied by Mao Tse Tung’s embassy in Paris; they were supposed to hatch at exactly the time the Baron would have opened the ball. This unfortunately did not happen due to a mistake on the part of the specialist who had calculated the time at which the cocoons would open. If the hatching had taken place at the right time, the Baron’s palace would have been completely full of bombyx moths; this would have been the greatest surrealistic happening of the century. I immediately informed Mr. Rosenberg in New York, by telephone; from the other side of the Atlantic he sent me a cable saying: ‘Bombyx, bombyx, bravo, bravo, bravo!’.