The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington by Leonora Carrington

The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington

Surrealist writer and painter Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) was a master of the macabre, of gorgeous tableaux, biting satire, roguish comedy, and brilliant, effortless flights of the imagination. Nowhere are these qualities more ingeniously brought together than in the works of short fiction she wrote throughout her life.Published to coincide with the centennial of her bi...

Title:The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0997366648
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:232 pages

The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington Reviews

  • Nathan

    Friend Jonathan brought this Forthcoming to my attention. Forthcoming (April '17) from Dorothy, A Publishing Project::

    “This definitive collection of Carrington’s short fiction is a treasure and a gift to the world. A stunning achievement.” --Jeff Vandermeer

    As always in cases like these, do not miss Nate D's reviews of Carrington ::

    Friend Jonathan brought this Forthcoming to my attention. Forthcoming (April '17) from Dorothy, A Publishing Project::

    “This definitive collection of Carrington’s short fiction is a treasure and a gift to the world. A stunning achievement.” --Jeff Vandermeer

    As always in cases like these, do not miss Nate D's reviews of Carrington ::

  • Marie-Therese

    4.5 stars.

    Absolutely delightful collection of outrageously strange, colourful, mordant, and sly stories.

    No matter what the setting (a proper English garden, a Celtic fairyland, a European metropolis, or a Mexican jungle), Carrington brings it to vivid artist's life and peoples it with the oddest characters imaginable. Kudos to Dorothy for bringing these stories together in a single collection and to the excellent translators for bringing out an essential Carrington voice even when working from

    4.5 stars.

    Absolutely delightful collection of outrageously strange, colourful, mordant, and sly stories.

    No matter what the setting (a proper English garden, a Celtic fairyland, a European metropolis, or a Mexican jungle), Carrington brings it to vivid artist's life and peoples it with the oddest characters imaginable. Kudos to Dorothy for bringing these stories together in a single collection and to the excellent translators for bringing out an essential Carrington voice even when working from another language. This is an essential collection for anyone interested in Surrealism, Carrington, or 20th century fantasy.

  • Sean

    Despite having previously read all but the last three of these stories, I still enjoyed them just as much during this second read. And because they are so brilliantly original and off-the-wall absurd, I had forgotten many of them, so it sometimes felt like I was reading them for the first time. What sets these stories apart from other surrealist/absurdist tales for me is the strength of Carrington's first-person narrators, who navigate through sometimes frightening and often hallucinatory landsc

    Despite having previously read all but the last three of these stories, I still enjoyed them just as much during this second read. And because they are so brilliantly original and off-the-wall absurd, I had forgotten many of them, so it sometimes felt like I was reading them for the first time. What sets these stories apart from other surrealist/absurdist tales for me is the strength of Carrington's first-person narrators, who navigate through sometimes frightening and often hallucinatory landscapes with offhanded aplomb. Consequently, I find her third-person POV stories to be slightly less endearing, though still reflective of a singular imagination of epic proportions. If you have never dipped into Carrington's short fiction, there is no longer any excuse, for newly published collections have recently appeared in U.S. and U.K. editions. Prepare yourself for a panoply of talking animals, walking trees, violent vegetables, impossible to predict plot twists, and generous amounts of twisted humor.

  • Nate D

    I can't remember at this point how I determined that Surrealism was somehow essential to my artistic (sub)consciousness. It feels like it was always there. I do know that this had really nothing to do with the most iconic (stereotyped) gestures from Dali or Breton, who I somewhat instinctively steered around, and more to with haunting Ernst landscapes and peculiar furred tableware lurking in the collections of the Met and MoMA, as well as oneiric guideposts glowing within filmed and written work

    I can't remember at this point how I determined that Surrealism was somehow essential to my artistic (sub)consciousness. It feels like it was always there. I do know that this had really nothing to do with the most iconic (stereotyped) gestures from Dali or Breton, who I somewhat instinctively steered around, and more to with haunting Ernst landscapes and peculiar furred tableware lurking in the collections of the Met and MoMA, as well as oneiric guideposts glowing within filmed and written works by technical non-surrealists who were nonetheless inspired fellow travelers. Despite the melting clocks at the forefront of the popular (boring) imagination, though, Surrealism itself began as a predominantly written phenomenon, and I've long been scouring the book shop shelves for any traces of it. What I found was always of interest, but amid various exercises in theorizing and automatic writing, no single writer's vision seemed able to fulfill what exactly I was looking for, what I understood to be the hidden perfect potential in all of this.

    Until I came to Leonora Carrington.

    Here, at last: effortless yet perfectly-formed fables displaying an uneasy alliance of fairy tale, horror, dream, moral ambivalence, and pure rebellion. Carrington, who eloped and launched herself, already full-formed, into her literary and artistic career at age 19, has an effortless narrative style matched only by her uncanny/familiar feel for occult details and a disregard for societal strictures somewhere poised between dada and punk, even in the 1930s. She's easily my favorite surrealist. She's one of my favorite writers anywhere.

    Carrington's work has long been pretty difficult to find, and seekers of her shorter works have mostly had to rely on two collections from the 1988,

    and

    . Though leaving out a number of mid-length works from those two volumes (fortunately

    has just been reissued by the NYRB, but her wonderful surrealized recollection of time spent with Max Ernst in France, Little Francis, remains sadly buried) -- though leaving out the mid-length works, this collection brings together all of her stories for the first time, from her earliest (The Oval Lady and House of Fear) to anomalies written in Spanish in Mexico much later.

    The collection also claims three previously unpublished stories. This overlooks The Sand Camel's appearance in the essential

    anthology, but the final entry, "Jemima and the Wolf", makes up for this by being the longest of her stories, a 20-page myth of rejection of civilization that rivals "As We Rode along the Edge" and its protagonist Virginia Fur, even while moving past it into a spectral menace all its own. How did this stay out of print until now? It's clearly from her prime early period, and as good as any of the others. Are other gems like this still waiting buried in her manuscripts for such resurrection?

    I'm also seizing this chance to revisit all of the classic, familiar Carrington stories as well, so perhaps I'll continue to add my notes here. Returning to "The Debutante" after probably five or six years, for instance, is such a joy. Everyone else is already quoting its most fantastic moment of elemental teen rebellion, but I will too:

  • Juliana

    "My head is a bier for my thoughts, my body a coffin."

  • Jeremy

    (3.5) It's extraordinary that Carrington crafted stories that could match the power of her uncanny artwork. I can think of no other artist that could also wield the pen to such a degree. Many of these nightmare fairy tales and absurd fables fall short by being either brief sketches (which do have their uses for illuminating the process of the artist) or a rapid series of random and bizarre developments/images with no concern for plot or theme. Yet when we get the fully-fleshed Carrington stories

    (3.5) It's extraordinary that Carrington crafted stories that could match the power of her uncanny artwork. I can think of no other artist that could also wield the pen to such a degree. Many of these nightmare fairy tales and absurd fables fall short by being either brief sketches (which do have their uses for illuminating the process of the artist) or a rapid series of random and bizarre developments/images with no concern for plot or theme. Yet when we get the fully-fleshed Carrington stories that are more than mere visions and create sublime juxtapositions with striking images and affecting resolutions, stories like "The Debutante", "A Man in Love", "Pigeon, Fly!", "The Sisters", or "My Mother is a Cow", the latter a mystical maturing of her style, then we are getting a one-of-a-kind treat--not unlike the work of David Lynch.

  • Marko

    Leonora Carrington was an English-Mexican surrealist painter and a mighty talented one, if you ask me. During her life, she wrote a novel, a short memoir and many stories (in English, French and Spanish), all collected in a single book for the first time ever.

    She writes as a painter; sentences are short and simple, but the choice of words is haunting, as are the stories/images, for her stories seem like sketches for surrealist paintings, filled with emotions, mythology, fantasy, carefully constr

    Leonora Carrington was an English-Mexican surrealist painter and a mighty talented one, if you ask me. During her life, she wrote a novel, a short memoir and many stories (in English, French and Spanish), all collected in a single book for the first time ever.

    She writes as a painter; sentences are short and simple, but the choice of words is haunting, as are the stories/images, for her stories seem like sketches for surrealist paintings, filled with emotions, mythology, fantasy, carefully constructed with many symbols and original, idiosyncratic thoughts.

  • Guttersnipe Das

    I remember reading the Mary Ann Caws anthology, Surrealist Painters and Poets, and loving the selection of Leonora Carrington’s stories more than anything else in that treasure-house of a book. The more I reread Carrington’s stories, the more ferocious they appeared. They seemed to be written as if the fast-forward button had been pushed at least 3 times, as if Kafka had teamed up with Jane Bowles in a manic, drunken, hilarious rage.

    As best I could, I hunted more Carrington stories. I read them

    I remember reading the Mary Ann Caws anthology, Surrealist Painters and Poets, and loving the selection of Leonora Carrington’s stories more than anything else in that treasure-house of a book. The more I reread Carrington’s stories, the more ferocious they appeared. They seemed to be written as if the fast-forward button had been pushed at least 3 times, as if Kafka had teamed up with Jane Bowles in a manic, drunken, hilarious rage.

    As best I could, I hunted more Carrington stories. I read them standing up in libraries. The volumes that contained them were out of print and costly. The Dorothy Project has already published a remarkable series of books, but this book is their most gorgeous contribution yet. These stories are indelible, unforgettable. They’re nasty in the very best way.

    As an aspirant in the field of stories, I wanted to imitate these stories as soon as I read them, but I also felt discouraged -- because Leonora Carrington is one of those people -- like Jane Bowles, like Clarice Lispector -- who started right off as a genius. There is a unity between the stories written in the Thirties and those written in the Seventies. Although I love the latter ones, it seems the ones from the Thirties and Forties are the best.The later stories seem composed; you can pick out themes and metaphors. The early stories have a supranormal authority, bloody and beyond the human, like scripture.

    My favorite story, “The Seventh Horse”, might also serve as commentary on Carrington’s career: 2 truly dreadful society ladies discover in the garden: “a strange-looking creature was hopping about in the midst of a bramble bush. She was caught by her long hair, which was so closely entwined in the brambles that she could move neither backwards nor forwards. She was cursing and hopping till the blood flowed down her body”. One rich lady says, “I do not like the look of it”; the other says “I strongly object to trespassers.”

    To which the enraged and entangled creature shrieks, “I’ve been here for years! But you are too stupid to have seen me.”

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