The Egg in Dali’s Work and in Literature.

The range of subjects touched by Dali is so vast that it is unavoidable to operate a selection. Hence, I decided to carry on with an aspect of his work I noticed first when I visited the museum: the monumental spherical and ovoid decorations on the walls of his house in Figueres.

Dali museum
Dali Theater-museum in Figueres

The egg is ubiquitous in Dalí: he draws and sculpts it in all the possible shapes and sizes, and I came spontaneously to wonder; why can the eggs be found everywhere in Dali’s works?
One possible explanation is that the egg is in fact also present in many classical paintings as a symbol of resurrection, as it is intrinsically linked to the birth of a new life. A second reason for the persistence of the egg in Dalí’s work is probably his “intrauterine egg theory”: he was convinced to remember perfectly of his life in the maternal uterus.

fried eggs by Salvador Dali
Fried eggs by Salvador Dali

In a more prosaic way we can also see in that ubiquity a manifestation of its Catalan spirit: in Barcelona and the surrounding area, in fact, the egg is eaten everywhere; as a snack in the pub up to the gastronomical restaurants. And then you have its intriguing topological aspects.

The factor that unites eggs of different sizes is that all of them are obtained by turning a flat curve around its axis. The complication is caused by the fact that the sections made with planes perpendicular to the axis are all circumferences of different sizes (which tells us that the egg it is a rotation surface), those obtained by cutting with planes containing the vertical axis are neither circumferences nor ellipses, but strange curves in which a half is more paunchy than the other. Hence come the ovals of Cassini, Descartes and Kepler, as well as the egg of Granville, that of Hügelschäffer and that of Moss, to end up with the double egg.

 

eggs math
Mathematical Eggs: Cassini, Granville, Kepler, Moss, Double Eggs.

For most among you, it will not come as a surprise when I assert that the previous paragraphs can be applied to the literary activity. Even science concurs with it since current cosmological models maintain that 13.8 billion years ago, the entire mass of the universe was compressed into a gravitational singularity, the so-called cosmic egg, from which it expanded to its current state.

shape of the universe
Shape of the Universe (Lambda CDM model)

Big parts of the literary imagination align with the egg’s topology, thus affirming the thesis that words and numbers are twin powers that create value in our world. The domains of mathematics and literature complement each other in a variety of ways, even as they attempt to subvert and invert one another.

story arc topology egg

By re-conceiving the literary work, not as a static, timeless, and ultimately isolated object, but instead as a socially embedded, circulatory process – as an event that can be mapped – topology can help us rethink the nature of the work and literary work itself, and by extension theories of authorship that underpin such work. The mysterious dimensional aspects of our existence are connected to our inhabiting a world that also inhabits us.

Big parts of my own writing are founded upon the idea how the cyclical nature of history reflects circulatory biological patterns. Even the intrauterine egg theory has its place in my writing, due to the fact that the destiny of the main protagonists was conceived while they were still embryos and developed into chimeras inside their mothers’ womb.

Connecting literature, philosophy, mathematics, and science, The Maharajagar is a transformative work, and a profound invitation to reflect,  with the convention of a historical fantasy foisted onto it.

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