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Les Chants de Maldoror was a favorite among the Surrealists, many of whom found beauty in art and literature devoted to the pursuit of the irrational and the unorthodox. A poetic novel of sorts that unfolds in a non-linear fashion, Les Chants de Maldoror describes the violent and perverse character of a despicable protagonist who has renounced God, humanity, and conventional morality.
Dante’s Divine Comedy is considered to be on of the most important works in the history of Italian literature. Although it too is a poetic narrative, The Divine Comedy is told sequentially, taking its readers along with Dante on a journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory, and Paradise. Allegorically, it is often interpreted as representing the trajectory of the soul towards God.
When Dali illustrated Les Chants de Maldoror in the early 1930s, he identified as a Surrealist. By the time Dali’s illustrations for the Divine Comedy were published in 1960, Dali had renounced Surrealism and become a born-again Catholic.
This exhibition brought to you in part by:
Park West Museum, Oklahoma Arts Council, Allied Arts, Avedis Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Wissinger Memorial Trust