Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, May 7, 2017

"Uncle Sam Carrington" by Leonora Carrington (1939)

I tried to discover if Carrington had an Uncle Sam but I did not find any references to him in various brief online biographies.  I do know Carrington had serious "Daddy Issues" with her very wealthy father, a Northern England industrialist.   

Uncle Sam Carrington and his wife Aunt Edgeworth (is the name meant to echo Maria Edgeworth?, it brought her to mind for me) occupy the first floor of the family residence.  They laugh hysterically at the full moon and are a source of embarrassment to the narrator's mother.  The narrator, a young girl, sets out one night, carrying a loaf of bread and a jar of jam, to find a solution.  After passing some cabbages involved in a nasty fight, she encounters a good friend, one she tells us will play a big part in her future, a talking horse.  The horse tells her to seek the council of two sisters.  Of course the two sisters are very strange.  She asks them for their help, they ascent to her request but tell her they will ask a high fee.  In these words you can enjoy the flavor of the story.

"The book was titled: The Secrets of the Flowers of Distinction and the Coarseness of Food. When the two women had left, the horse asked: “Do you know how to walk without making a sound?” “Certainly,” I answered. “Then let’s see the señoritas devoted to their work,” he said. “But if your life matters to you, don’t make a sound.” The señoritas were in their orchard which extended behind the house, surrounded by a wide wall. I mounted the horse and a surprising scene offered itself to my eyes: the señoritas Cunningham-Jones, each armed with an immense whip, were striking the vegetables, and shouting: “It’s necessary to suffer in order to go to heaven. Those who do not wear corsets will never arrive.” The vegetables, on their part, fought among themselves, and the older ones threw the smaller ones at the señoritas with angry screams. “Each time it happens so,” murmured the horse. “They are the vegetables that suffer on behalf of humanity. Soon you will see how they pick one for you, one that will die for the cause.” The vegetables did not have an enthusiastic air over dying an honorable death. But the señoritas were stronger. Soon two carrots and a little cabbage fell between their hands."

You can see this as a surrealistic mockery of religious doctrines of numerous sorts.  Horse are important to Carrington.  

In an interview toward the end of her life Carrington said art critics tend to Way over intellectualize her work, looking for hidden meanings.  Carrington tells us just look at her paintings, don't over think them.  For now I am just trying to enjoy the stories of Carrington as I make my first ventures into her world via her short stories.

I am a totally new reader of Carrington, there may well be factual errors in my posts, please feel free to share your knowledge with us 

My prior posts contain links to very good video presentations on Carrington.  

Mel u

No comments: