Essay on Salvador Dali and Alice In Wonderland

Essay on Salvador Dali and Alice In Wonderland

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In 1969, Salvador Dali, a surrealist painter and admirer of Sigmund Freud, appropriated John Tenniel’s illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Often expressing the capacity of dreams and imagination, Dali and Carroll become linked together as the center of surrealist concerns. Both men create a world where logic and reality get twisted creating an alternative universe. Dali’s expression of Alice, in a realm of unconscious, brings forward the idea of Freudian understanding. Dali’s strong use of color and symbolism in his works, while understanding Freudian Principles, represent Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland just as well as if not better than Tenniel’s illustrations.
Dali’s works bring forth the idea of automatism, which requires an artist to enter a dreamlike state that produces unconscious art. We are able to look at the subconscious thoughts of Carroll and Dali with four Freudian principles: Firstly, all humans possess an accessible unconscious. Secondly, the unconscious performs the act of repression; therefore being unaware they’re repressed memories. Thirdly, dreams provide insight into the unconscious. Lastly, the outer world of objects relate to the inner world of the unconscious, which can be expressed visually. Dali portrayed visual automatism in his works for Alice by using “formal visual analogies for the experience of dreams and hallucinations” (Ades). These visual analogies from the unconscious were termed by Dali as “paranoiac critical activity”, and the use of paranoiac critical activity was aimed to “Systemize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality” (Ades). When looking back at wonderland we can conclude that it is a discredited world just as Dali has produced in...


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Works Cited

Ades, Dawn. Dali. New York: Rizzoli P, 2004.
Beystehner, Kristen. Psychoanalysis: Freud’s Revolutionary Approach to Human Personality. Northwestern University. personalityresearch.org. Web. 24 March. 2011.
Brooken, Will. Alice’s Adventures: Lewis Carroll in popular culture. New York: Continuum International P, 2004. Print.
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. London: Macmillan P, 1865. Print.
Lusty, Natalya. Surrealism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. Burlington: Ashgate P, 2007. Print.
“Paranoia.” Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. Minddisorders.com. Web. 24 March. 2011.
Popola, Jaclyn. Reading Your Aura Color: Yellow. Weblog. Web. 26 March. 2011.
“Simulacrum.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Britannica.com. Web. 25. March. 2011.
Venefica, Avia. Dreaming of Butterflies and Symbolic Meaning of Butterfly. Weblog. Web. 3 Dec. 2007.

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