I am dirty. Lice are eating me away. When they see me, swines puke.
LES CHANTS DE MALDOROR
In 1934, on Picasso's recommendation, the Swiss publisher Albert Skira commissioned Dali to illustrate the "Maldoror Songs", the famous text by Lautréamont (the pseudonym of Isidore Lucien Ducasse). This poetic novel (or prose poem) was written between 1868 and 1869. Many of the surrealists (Salvador Dalí, André Breton, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Max Ernst, etc.) during the early 1900s cited the novel as a major inspiration to their own works and 'Les Chants de Maldoror', and its protagonist Maldoror, have continued to fascinate people since its publication. Dalì engraved 42 coppers in the spirit of all the surrealist themes of his major paintings during this period. The edition size was initially planned to reach 200 but because of Skira's financial difficulties, only about 60 books were printed. The copper plates were confiscated and kept in private hands. In 1970, a three-party contract was signed between Dalì, Skira and Argillet for the final publication of this major graphic series. For this, Dalì engraved 8 new coppers and signed all of the 50 etchings that now compose "The definitive edition of the Maldoror Songs". This Edition was printed in two forms: 100 books containing the text and the 50 subjects (signed and numbered), and 100 series of the etchings alone. Music by K. Stockhausen, 'Kreuzspiel'.