The Lives of the Surrealists

Laura Freeman at Literary Review:

When Salvador Dalí came to lecture at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936, he arrived with two Russian wolfhounds on leads. He wore a deep-sea diver’s suit and carried a billiard cue. A jewelled dagger hung from his belt. The subject of his lecture was ‘Paranoia, The Pre-Raphaelites, Harpo Marx and Phantoms’. The audience couldn’t hear him through the diving helmet, so it was not immediately obvious that Dalí was suffocating. When friends did eventually sound the alarm, they found the bolts on Dalí’s helmet stuck fast. Send for a spanner! By the time they’d taken the helmet off, Dalí was close to death.

All in the name of surreal art. Nothing was too silly, too sensational, too childishly scatological for Dalí, André Breton, Marcel Duchamp and the squabbling Surrealist gang.

more here.