Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Carrington's Sidhe

  
Compilation by DistantMirrors, youtube 2012

I've been reading Susan Aberth's Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy, and Art in my little bits of stray time and may have something to say about it later... I started with the alchemy chapter because my The Book of the Red King in part rises out of alchemical lore, and so I was eager to read that portion.

But now I am back to the start and reading about her childhood. Here's a quote from the fascinating, rebellious Carrington that I find interesting. It's a slightly different depiction of the Irish faery race, the Sidhe, than what I am accustomed to from Yeats and other reading.
My love for the soil, nature, the gods was given to me by my mother's mother who was Irish from Westmeath, where there is a myth about men who lived underground inside the mountains, called the 'little people' who belong to the race of the 'Sidhe.' My grandmother used to tell me we were descendants of that ancient race that magically started to live underground when their land was taken by invaders with different political and religious ideas. They preferred to retire underground where they are dedicated to magic and alchemy, knowing how to change gold. The stories my grandmother told me were fixed in my mind and they gave me mental pictures that I would later sketch on paper (p. 12.)

8 comments:

  1. I worry less about the little people beneath the surface of the earth than the little people and their voices inside my head. Is my concern well-placed?

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    1. That's a curious question! I expect it has something to do with what those little people desire. My little people desire to come out and be in stories and poems. What do yours desire to do?

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    2. My little people voices are a bit like the good angel and bad angel in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus. "Do this." "Don't do this." Those voices have been persistent for as long as I can remember (which lately is not so much). The "problem" does not rise to the Lithium Rx level. Of course, I could be wrong. Not I'm not. Yes, I am.

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    3. You seem perfectly bright, and what's a little short term memory loss? Just means you can eat second breakfast like a hobbit.

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  2. "Perfectly" is not a word that has ever been positively used about me. Yikes!

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  3. It seems my comment went astray... so here goes once more...

    The name Leonora Carrington sounded familiat so I looked it up. Sure enough, I remember seeing some of her paintings in a couple of group exhibitions here. I didn't know whe was a writer as well. Thanks for this, Marly, now I will investigate her further. I remember she passed away a few years ago, just after I'd first ssen her work. She was also noted for her famous lover, Max Ernst.

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    1. She seems to have been her own vigorous person even as a very small child. And fell into love with Ernst's paintings while a very young woman, and then with him. She had kicked her way out of convent schools, and Ernst's unfortunate second wife seems to have responded to his shift in love interest by being drawn toward the convent. Wild times. Then the two were separated by history... Whew.

      She had a long, wonderful friendship with Remedios Varo after they both fled to Mexico. I think that link must have been her most important friendship in the arts. But I haven't gotten to that part of her life yet in the book.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.