Quotes from ‘Hidden Faces’ by Salvador Dali

‎”A chambermaid leaning on a balcony is killed by a stray bullet, and an ample amaranth-coloured dressing-gown that she was holding in her hand drops into the street.”

– from HIDDEN FACES (1944) by Salvador Dali.

More quotes in comments below.


20 responses to “Quotes from ‘Hidden Faces’ by Salvador Dali

  1. ‎”‘Hitler wants war,’ he said, ‘not in order to win, as most people think, but to lose. He is romantic and an integral masochist, and exactly as in Wagner’s operas it has to end for him, the hero, as tragically as possible. In the depth of his subconscious, the end to which Hitler at heart aspires is to feel his enemy’s boot crushing his face,…'”

  2. “‘contemporary history is so dense and dramatic that each of us in his own sphere, even the most aloof, even without knowing it, is involved in what is happening, each of us already has a decisive card to play.'”

  3. “A warm drop of perspiration formed in each of her armpits and slowly flowed down the whole length of her bare sides, and these two drops were black because each of them reflected the black velvet arms of the chair she was sitting in. But she was so supernaturally beautiful that one might rather have thought that the wings of melancholy hovering near were now folding over her, darkening and transmuting this magnetizing and desirable physical secretion of her anguished flesh into two black pearls of precious grief.”

  4. “…he tried to tear loose a big section of moss that had grown in a joint between the stones on the balustrade of the balcony. Finally the moss yielded, pulling with it a piece of the cement that filled the fissure in the stone. Seizing it in his hand Grandsailles hurled it forcefully in the direction of the wood.”

  5. “Presently out of the darkness of her mind, she saw a little hat emerge, a hat of such a violent metallic blue that it appeared red: as a matter of fact, it appeared red only because it *was* red, and it was not blue because the sole thing that was blue about this hat was the blue veil that covered it. This hat flashed in her brain for an instant, like an electric spark which changes from blue to red with such rapidity that once it is gone one can no longer tell which of these colours was perceived first.”

  6. “As she spoke, Cecile Goudreau stretched herself out and drew up the lacquered table with the smoking accessories set out on a level with her chest. Betka came and lay down beside her, pressing her own body lightly against hers. Then Cecile, with a quick and casual movement, passed her arm around her neck, thus holding Betka’s face glued to hers. Intently their two pairs of eyes watched the preliminary rituals of Cecile’s two hands busily preparing the first pipe. At the tip of her needle, with the consummate skill of an old mandarin, she rolled a tiny pellet of opium, heated it, brought it close to the flame, till it crackled, but just at the moment when it was about to catch fire she withdrew it in order to mould, press, play with it voluptuously, as though this were a matter as precious to her as that which great narcissists pull out of and put back into their noses and ears with such great delight. Cecile Goudreau must have been thinking the same thing, for she said laughingly to Betka: ‘Anyway, it’s less dirty than picking your nose, eh?'”

  7. ‎”There is no audacity in heroism. Never do you think you’re going to die. When you hold a machine gun tight it’s as if its jolts made the fleas of your fear jump off…”

  8. Today’s quoted passage from my on-going reading of HIDDEN FACES (1944), the only novel by Salvador Dali, as translated by Haakon Chevalier:

    “Then an unheard-of being, unheard-of beings, will be seen to rise, their brains compressed by sonorous helmets, their temples pierced by the whistling of air waves, their bodies naked, turned yellow by fever, pocked by deep vegetal stigmata swarming with insects and filled to the brim with the slimy juices of venom, overflowing and running down a skin tiger-striped and leopard-spotted by the gangrene of wounds and the leprosy of camouflage, their swollen bellies plugged to death by electric umbilical chords [sic] tangling with the ignominiousness of torn intestines and bits of flesh, roasting in the burning steel carapaces of the punitive tortures of gutted tanks.
    That is man!
    Backs of lead, sexual organs of fire, fears of mica, chemical hearts of the televisions of blood, hidden faces and wings — always wings, the north and south of our being!”

  9. “I want to build a passion like a true architecture in which the hardness of each rib shall sing with the precision of the stone-angles in each of the mouldings of the sonnets of the Paladian windows — a passion with stairs of pain leading to landings of the expectation of uncertainty, with benches on which to sit and wait at the threshold of the gate to desire, columns of anguish, capitals of jealousy carved with acanthus leaves, reticences in the form of broken pediments, round, calm smiles like balustrades, vaults and cupolas of enchanted ecstasy…”

  10. “As he made all these reflections, the Count’s eyes lingered in the contemplation of a great lead-coloured cloud whose contours resembled the outline of an ancient sarcophagus. Then Grandsailles indulged in the fancy of imagining, engraved in roman letters in the centre of this cloud, so appropriate as an epitaph of his liaison with Lady Chidester-Ames, the famous Latin inscription:
    which means

  11. Pingback: Dali and the Nemonymous | DF LEWIS:

  12. Dali and the Nemonymous


    “Solange de Cléda’s face seemed to have become serene, but if at this moment someone had had the curiosity to draw near and look between her half-shut eyelids he would probably have been terrified to observe that they were without sight and that in the slits between her lashes, instead of fixed pupils, only the whites were visible. And it is in the whites of these eyes, smooth as those of blind statues, that Salvador Dali’s imagination wishes to engrave, and thereby immortalize them at the end of this chapter, the Latin word, ‘NIHIL’, which means ‘NOTHING’.”

    The above is today’s quoted passage from ‘Hidden Faces’ (1944) a novel by Salvador Dali, as translated, in the same year and reportedly in the author’s presence, by Haakon Chevalier.


  13. ‎”‘….you make a breach in the balcony of a failing bank, a rear balcony that nobody used.’
    ‘Sometime one does more than that,’ said Baba, ‘a few hundreds of thousands of balconies blown to bits!’
    ‘Well, yes, chéri, but there are so many, many balconies, too many in the cities, that no one ever thinks of using.’ Cécile exclaimed wearily, as if feeling suddenly oppressed by the weight of all the superfluous and useless balconies in the world.”
    — today’s quoted passage from HIDDEN FACES (1944) a novel by Salvador Dali.

  14. “The boat glided off and lay steeped in a kind of supernatural peace . . . a milky silence. . . . One heard a faint lapping of water against the keel, like a sound of lunar saliva. The moon-drenched kite lying against a bulwark looked like a stellar ray that had just dropped there like a sign of the Zodiac.”

  15. “…this autumnal being with her November irises could arouse desire.”

  16. “Veronica would ride her chestnut horse, her rounded forehead bowed like a menacing volute of obstinacy, the mother-of-pearl pincers of her thighs pressing the animal’s flanks and blending with it in a pearly communion of centaur sweat. She lived thus, riding her chimera and preserving an absolute faithfulness to the image of the ‘man with the hidden face’,…”

  17. “…Solange’s body became ankylosed like that of a lugubrious manikin. Her head flopped into the branches of the tree… […] The hooks that fastened her skirt had been torn off in the course of their wild ride. D’Angerville reached through the slit and felt Solange’s bare thigh burning his hand, while at the same time her breast was icy. One hand in heaven and one hand in hell.”

  18. “The sun, the accomplice of all dramas, painted the six legs of each ant with the iridescent reflections of the landscape…
    It was told later in Libreux that someone, in sign of vengeance, traced a swastika on a smooth riverstone with his finger dipped in Girardin’s cold blood and that the ants held a Bacchic ritual and wound the rosary of their voracity around it.”

  19. “It must have been at about half-past eleven in the evening that the Count of Grandsailles and Veronica, sitting before the extinguished fire in the fireplace, were finishing a game of chess. Veronica had just picked up a black knight with the pink, blue-tinged pincers of her long fingers, and at the moment when she was lifting it slowly from the chessboard in deep thought she suddenly became motionless. She turned her head toward the door leading to the patio, which had unexpectedly opened. In the doorway stood an old cowboy dressed like a beggar, his grey moustache drooping over his lips, his eyes smoke-coloured, his skin very wrinkled like an Indian’s, his hat respectfully held in front of his chest while with his other hand he held a gnarled stick. At the end of this stick dangled a little bundle wrapped in a very clean white handkerchief.
    Grandsailles and Veronica looked at him questioningly and the man finally said in a far-away voice, full of tenderness, ‘I am the smoke-man! I have come a long way, and I always travel on foot.’
    ‘You’re what man?” asked Grandsailles, not quite sure he had heard right.
    ‘The smoke-man,’ he repeated.
    ‘The smoke-man,’ Veronica repeated in turn as if it were more natural to her.
    Grandsailles got up and had him sit down, shutting the door that the smoke-man had blithely left open.
    ‘I passed through this way because the servants would not have let me come in. I heard in the village that your fireplace doesn’t work.’ He cast a glance full of malice at the extinguished fire, and it seemed as if in the depth of the misty smoke of his eyes sparks of fire were kindled in the exact centre of each of his pupils. ‘I am the smoke-man — I get rid of the smoke in fireplaces when no one else can. I know the winds of this region…'”


    The final quoted passages from HIDDEN FACES (1944), the novel by Salvador Dali, as translated into English by Haakon Chevalier who was supposedly in the author’s presence in 1944:

    “Before sitting down again Adolph Hitler stopped in front of the large Vermeer abducted from Count Chernin’s collection (the most beautiful painting in the world, according to Salvador Dali)…[…]
    And what is peace if not the rediscovery of the dignity of the human face? […]
    In the place which the strip of cork had left bare in the middle of the tree-trunk now appeared a kind of delicate skin — silky, tender, sensitive and almost human, not only because of its colour which was exactly that of fresh blood but because these trees stripped of their costume of cork strikingly suggest the bodies of naked women with their arms raised to the sky in the noblest of attitudes, and by their bold lines and the smoothness of the rounded reliefs of their trunks they imitate the most divinely and ideally flayed anatomies in the world of sense perception, while yet they have their deep roots in the earth. The mere presence of a naked cork-oak in a landscape suffices to fill the evening with grace. […]
    He went up into his room and headed straight for the balcony door which he opened, stepped outside and sat down on a little stone bench adorned with chimeras. His heart contracted at the sight of the deep black forest of young cork-oaks that had grown during his absence, and he could not avert his eyes from the realization of this old dream.”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s