"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 [...]