Journal of Romance Studies

‘Are we to be contented with dreams?’

Getting older in the work of Leonora Carrington

Journal of Romance Studies (2017), 17, (3), 293–309.

Abstract

In The Hearing Trumpet (1976) by Leonora Carrington (1917–2011), a British-born surrealist writer and artist who fled to Mexico during the Second World War, an elderly grandmother is dispatched to an institute for senile old women, where she embarks on a fantastical journey with the other residents. Rather than the last stop before the final place of rest, the residential home, and by extension the narrative, become the site of adventure and opportunity where the limitations of old age are cast off. In her writing and artwork, especially work completed in her later years, Carrington pursues her interest in ageing through the figure of the old woman. In this article I examine why Carrington found the ageing process to offer creative possibilities. I consider how ageing is also implicated in feminist rereadings of her novel and art, and why the old woman might make a new, singular contribution to surrealist avant-garde expression.

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Poniatowska, Elena (2011) Leonora (Mexico: Seix Barral). Leonora Google Scholar

Smith, Ali (2005) ‘Introduction’, in The Hearing Trumpet, Leonora Carrington (London: Penguin), v–xvi. Introduction The Hearing Trumpet v xvi Google Scholar

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Suleiman, Susan Rubin (1992) ‘Feminist intertextuality and the laugh of the mother: Leonora Carrington’s Hearing Trumpet’, in Neverending Stories: Toward a Critical Narratology, ed. Ann Fehn, Ingeborg Hoesterey, and Maria Tatar (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 179–194. Feminist intertextuality and the laugh of the mother: Leonora Carrington’s Hearing Trumpet Neverending Stories: Toward a Critical Narratology 179 194 Google Scholar

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Watz, Anna (2017) ‘“A language buried at the back of time”: The Stone Door and poststructuralist feminism’, in Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-garde, ed. Jonathan P. Eburne and Catriona McAra (Manchester: Manchester University Press), 90–104. “A language buried at the back of time”: The Stone Door and poststructuralist feminism Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-garde 90 104 Google Scholar

Williams, Claire (2007) ‘Mind the generation gap! Portuguese women’s narratives in the second half of the twentieth century’, in Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy, ed. Adalgisa Giorgio and Julia Waters (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 294–309. Mind the generation gap! Portuguese women’s narratives in the second half of the twentieth century Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy 294 309 Google Scholar

Aberth, Susan L. (2004) Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art (Aldershot: Lund Humphries). Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art Google Scholar

Alderman, Naomi (2017) ‘Dystopian dreams: How feminist science fiction predicted the future’, Guardian, 25 March 2017. Dystopian dreams: How feminist science fiction predicted the future Guardian Google Scholar

Anderson, Jean (2007) ‘Revisiting Simone de Beauvoir’s monstrum: Old women protagonists in short stories by contemporary French women writers (1990–2005)’, in Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy, ed. Adalgisa Giorgio and Julia Waters (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 347–361. Revisiting Simone de Beauvoir’s monstrum: Old women protagonists in short stories by contemporary French women writers (1990–2005) Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy 347 361 Google Scholar

Bazin, Victoria, and Rosie White (2006) ‘Introduction’, Studies in the Literary Imagination 39, special number ‘Generations: Women, Age, and Difference’: i–xi. Introduction Studies in the Literary Imagination i xi Google Scholar

Blunt, Anthony (1937) ‘Art: Early Cubism and Superrealism’, The Spectator, 25 June 1937, 1188. Art: Early Cubism and Superrealism The Spectator Google Scholar

Buñuel, Luis (1982) Mi último suspiro (Barcelona: Plaza y Janés). Mi último suspiro Google Scholar

Buñuel, Luis (2003) My Last Sigh, trans. Abigail Israel (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). My Last Sigh Google Scholar

Capancioni, Claudia (2007) ‘Transmitting difference: An Anglo-Italian female tradition in Joyce Salvadori Lussu’s literary investigation’, in Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy, ed. Adalgisa Giorgio and Julia Waters (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 279–293. Transmitting difference: An Anglo-Italian female tradition in Joyce Salvadori Lussu’s literary investigation Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy 279 293 Google Scholar

Carrington, Leonora ([1977] 2005) The Hearing Trumpet (London: Penguin). The Hearing Trumpet Google Scholar

Carrington, Leonora (2011) ‘Obituary’, Telegraph, 26 May 2011. Obituary Telegraph Google Scholar

Carrington, Leonora ([1987] 2017a) Down Below (New York: The New York Review of Books). Down Below Google Scholar

Carrington, Leonora (2017b) The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington (St. Louis, MO: Dorothy, A Publishing Project). The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington Google Scholar

Eburne, Jonathan P. (2017) ‘Poetic wisdom: Leonora Carrington and the esoteric avant-garde’, in Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-garde, ed. Jonathan P. Eburne and Catriona McAra (Manchester: Manchester University Press), 141–162. Poetic wisdom: Leonora Carrington and the esoteric avant-garde Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-garde 141 162 Google Scholar

Eburne, Jonathan P., and Catriona McAra (eds) (2017) Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-garde (Manchester: Manchester University Press). Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-garde Google Scholar

Foster, Hal (2015) Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency (London and New York: Verso). Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency Google Scholar

Giorgio, Adalgisa, and Julia Waters (2007) ‘Introduction’, in Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy, ed. Adalgisa Giorgio and Julia Waters (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 1–19. Introduction Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy 1 19 Google Scholar

Kent, Alicia (2017) ‘In two places at the same time: Archiving the domestic in the work of Leonora Carrington and Sally Mann’, in Domestic Imaginaries: Navigating the Home in Global Literary and Visual Cultures, ed. Bex Harper and Hollie Price (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). In two places at the same time: Archiving the domestic in the work of Leonora Carrington and Sally Mann Domestic Imaginaries: Navigating the Home in Global Literary and Visual Cultures Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia ([1979] 1986) ‘Women’s time’, trans. Alice Jardine and Harry Blake, in The Kristeva Reader, ed. Toril Moi (Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell), 187–213. Women’s time The Kristeva Reader 187 213 Google Scholar

Kristeva, Julia (1991) ‘Julia Kristeva interviewed by Vassiliki Kolocotroni’, Textual Practice 5: 157–170. Julia Kristeva interviewed by Vassiliki Kolocotroni Textual Practice 5 157 170 Google Scholar

Lusty, Natalya (2007) Surrealism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate). Surrealism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis Google Scholar

McAra, Catriona (2017) ‘A nonagenarian virago: Quoting “Carrington” in contemporary practice’, in Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-garde, ed. Jonathan P. Eburne and Catriona McAra (Manchester: Manchester University Press), 177–197. A nonagenarian virago: Quoting “Carrington” in contemporary practice Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-garde 177 197 Google Scholar

Miller, Nancy K. (2007) ‘Out of the family: Generations of women in feminism. The case of Marjane’s Satrapi’s Persepolis’, in Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy ed. Adalgisa Giorgio and Julia Waters (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 22–37. Out of the family: Generations of women in feminism. The case of Marjane’s Satrapi’s Persepolis Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy 22 37 Google Scholar

MOMA (2017) ‘The palace of curtains, III, (1929)’. MOMA Learning. https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/rene-magritte-the-palace-of-curtains-iii (accessed 1 September 2017). Google Scholar

Moorhead, Joanna (2017) The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington (London: Virago). The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington Google Scholar

Orenstein, Gloria Feman (1990) The Reflowering of the Goddess (New York: Pergamon Press). The Reflowering of the Goddess Google Scholar

Poniatowska, Elena (2011) Leonora (Mexico: Seix Barral). Leonora Google Scholar

Smith, Ali (2005) ‘Introduction’, in The Hearing Trumpet, Leonora Carrington (London: Penguin), v–xvi. Introduction The Hearing Trumpet v xvi Google Scholar

Suleiman, Susan Rubin (1990) Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics, and the Avant-Garde (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press). Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics, and the Avant-Garde Google Scholar

Suleiman, Susan Rubin (1992) ‘Feminist intertextuality and the laugh of the mother: Leonora Carrington’s Hearing Trumpet’, in Neverending Stories: Toward a Critical Narratology, ed. Ann Fehn, Ingeborg Hoesterey, and Maria Tatar (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 179–194. Feminist intertextuality and the laugh of the mother: Leonora Carrington’s Hearing Trumpet Neverending Stories: Toward a Critical Narratology 179 194 Google Scholar

Wallraven, Miriam (2015) Women Writers and the Occult in Literature and Culture: Female Lucifers, Priestesses, and Witches (New York and London: Routledge). Women Writers and the Occult in Literature and Culture: Female Lucifers, Priestesses, and Witches Google Scholar

Warner, Marina (1991) ‘Leonora Carrington’s spirit bestiary; or the art of playing make-belief’, in Leonora Carrington: Paintings, Drawings and Sculptures 1940–1990, ed. Andrea Schlieker (London: Serpentine Gallery), 10–23. Leonora Carrington’s spirit bestiary; or the art of playing make-belief Leonora Carrington: Paintings, Drawings and Sculptures 1940–1990 10 23 Google Scholar

Watz, Anna (2017) ‘“A language buried at the back of time”: The Stone Door and poststructuralist feminism’, in Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-garde, ed. Jonathan P. Eburne and Catriona McAra (Manchester: Manchester University Press), 90–104. “A language buried at the back of time”: The Stone Door and poststructuralist feminism Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-garde 90 104 Google Scholar

Williams, Claire (2007) ‘Mind the generation gap! Portuguese women’s narratives in the second half of the twentieth century’, in Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy, ed. Adalgisa Giorgio and Julia Waters (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 294–309. Mind the generation gap! Portuguese women’s narratives in the second half of the twentieth century Women’s Writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy 294 309 Google Scholar

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