The Hearing Trumpet: Leonora Carrington's Feminist Magical Realism
journal contributionposted on 22.05.2017 by Gabriel García Ochoa
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In the last two decades Leonora Carrington's novel The Hearing Trumpet (henceforth referred to as THT) has received more attention within academic circles than it ever did at the time of its publication in 1974. Natalya Lusty, Susan Suleiman, and Gloria Feman Orenstein have discussed in much detail the novel‟s strong feminist ethos, as well as its subversion of Surrealist tropes. There is a tendency within scholarship and criticism of THT toward classifying Carrington's text as “Surrealist”; in most cases it is referred to as a novel that is subversive of Surrealist tenets, but one that remains nonetheless an instance of Surrealist literature. The influence that the Surrealist movement had on Carrington's work is undeniable and, in the case of THT, a prominent, most interesting feature of the novel. But by classifying THT solely as a Surrealist work, it is easy to disregard a number of equally important metaphysical, psychoanalytical and philosophical influ-ences present in Carrington's novel. Therefore, here I would like to take a different approach and argue that THT can be considered an early example of feminist magical realism. By adopting this nomenclature, I intend to ac-knowledge the presence in Carrington's text of hitherto unexplored elements of what would contemporarily be referred to as magic realist literature, but without ignoring the strong influence of Surrealism in the novel.