Letters to Gala

Paul Eluard, Author, Jesse Browner, Translator Paragon House Publishers $24.95 (346p) ISBN 978-1-55778-119-2
Immortalized in Salvador Dali's paintings, the woman known as Gala (born Elena Dmitrievich Diakonova) was considered cold and grasping by many, yet she was the worshipped muse not only of Dali but also of French surrealist poet Paul Eluard and painter Max Ernst. What did this Russian emigre possess that made men rave, and that reduced Eluard to mushy histrionics years after they had separated and were both remarried? Although the one-way correspondence collected here does not yield an answer, there is not a dull page. As a poet, Eluard may seem mysterious and aloof, but as a correspondent (at least to Gala) he is all raw emotion. His letters combine vivid daily details, erotic outpourings and a privileged glimpse of the surrealist movement and its endless realignments as the Nazis' shadow fell on France. A sheaf of Eluard's love poems to Gala rounds out this impassioned volume. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
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