"Errant in time and space" : a reading of Leonora Carrington's major literary works
Part One deals with Carrington's association with the Surrealist movement and looks at her texts as dreams/nightmares. Born in 1917, Carrington arrived in Paris just before her twentieth birthday. The opening chapter deals chiefly with biographical material and creates a context for Carrington's writing within the Surrealist movement. Chapters Two and Three explore Carrington's main stories of this period, examining the stylistic devices that make them dream-texts. Part Two deals with the major crisis in Carrington's life and writing: her internment in a Spanish asylum. Chapter Four looks at the biographical events that led Carrington to be interned and suggests that her father and his associations with Imperial Chemical Industries had more to do with her internment than is commonly believed (Appendix I includes a transcript of my interview with her Spanish doctor and testifies to contacts with ICI). Chapter Five analyses the "mad" narrative "Down Below", where the repression of Carrington's "playing with language" is exposed through an impressive imagery of death. Chapter Six explores the stories written in New York immediately after release: "Cast Down By Sadness", "White Rabbits", "Waiting", "The Seventh Horse" and "As They Rode Along the Edge". The grotesque female bodies and the pervasiveness of the monstrous distinguish these stories as Carrington's chaotic, "creative" resurrection. Finally Part Three looks at Carrington's Mexican period, where her writing achieves a voice that, although resonant of previous moments, stops being tragic and becomes revolutionarily comic. Chapter Seven follows Carrington's life in Mexico, where she still lives, from 1942 to the present. Chapter Eight deals with four of her best Mexican writings: the novel The Stone Door, the play The Invention of the Mole, the short story "The Happy Corpse Story" and an unpublished letter to Remedios Varo (1958) included in Appendix II. Finally Chapter Nine deals at length with The Hearing Trumpet.