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, June 25, 2017

"The Royal Summons" - A Short Story by Leonora Carrington (1937)

"As the representative of the queen, I sat in the seat at the end. The Prime Minister rose and struck the table with a gavel. The table broke in two. Some servants came in with another table. The Prime Minister swapped the first gavel for another, made of rubber. He struck the table again and began to speak. "Madame Deputy of the Queen, ministers, friends. Our dearly beloved sovereign went mad yesterday, and so we need another. But first we must assassinate the old queen."  - from "The Royal Summons" by Leonora Carrington 

"The Royal Summons" is another Surrealistic gem by Leonora Carrington.  Told in the first person, our narrator has just received a royal summons to visit the monarchs of her country at their palace.  She summons her chauffeur who informs her that he has just buried her car, in order to grow mushrooms.  Of course she calls him an idiot and she orders a carriage.  Upon arrival at the palace a servant terlls her the queen went mad yesterday.  If she wishes she may visit the queen in her bath.  She finds the queen bathing in goat's milk, with live sponges swimming in the milk, real sponges anchor themselves.

The queen asks her attend a meeting of the government ministers in her place.  They announce the queen must be killed.  A table tennis tournament will be conducted with the winner to take the queen to the zoo and push her in a cage with unfed recently lions.

This is a quite short work, reading time under five minutes so I will leave the end unspoiled.

In most of Carrington's stories someone seems to be killed.  

From the Dorothy, a Publishing Project website: "Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) was a writer, painter, and a key figure in the Surrealist movement. She was born to a wealthy English family in 1917, expelled from two convents as a girl, and presented to the king's court in 1933. Four years later, she ran off with Max Ernst and became a darling of the art world in Paris: serving guests hair omelets at one party, arriving naked to another. After Ernst was taken from their home to a Nazi internment camp in 1940, Carrington fled France. Nearly mad with grief and terror, she was thrown into a lunatic asylum in Spain, and, after escaping, married a Mexican diplomat, fleeing Europe for New York City then Mexico City, where she lived for the rest of her life." 

About ten of her stories can be found online along with several good general articles.

I will from time to time read more of her work, I hope.

Mel u

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