Posts Tagged: Everyone Should Read Leonora Carrington

How To Be Old: Two Women, Their Husbands, Their Cats, Their Alchemy

"Beauty is a responsibility like anything else, beautiful women have special lives like prime ministers but I don't want that."

The writer and painter Leonora Carrington was 33 and a very beautiful woman when she wrote that line in The Hearing Trumpet, a book that is, among many other topics—alchemy, the Holy Grail, the perversities of nuns, the difficulties of getting goats and wolves to live together—also about being very, very old. This was in 1950; her best friend was a Spanish painter named Remedios Varo.

In the book, Carrington appears under the alias Marian Leatherby, who is 92 and has a beard. She has no [...]


The Autobiography Of Luis Buñuel

How to sum up a Surrealist's autobiography? I haven’t the slightest idea. Luis Buñuel's just-republished My Last Sigh contains, as you might expect, few concrete explanations of anything, but countless provisional manifestoes, an index of cinematic inspirations of bewildering range, more anecdotes than any human has a right to own (he narrowly missed that orgy organized by Charlie Chaplin, but did dismantle a Christmas tree at another party attended by Chaplin—other guests were not amused), and a surprisingly elegiac tone of melancholy. This provides a partial overview, but what else? There’s the family’s pet, an "enormous rat" that accompanied them on trips in a birdcage. This was presumably toted [...]


The Only Way Left To Be Radical In America

I like to plan ahead, so by the time I turned 30 earlier this year, I was already preparing for old age. I have a problem with rounding up, is the thing. When I was 27, I’d read about a 39 year old who went bankrupt, or a 45 year old who had a hard time conceiving, and think, Well, I’m practically 45, so I should probably start inuring myself to the hard truths life has in store for me.

I understand that this is ridiculous. I’m not old; I’m older. And of course “old” doesn’t necessarily mean what it used to. My parents are getting oldish (sorry, Mom)—enough [...]