The surrealist parallels of Leonora Carrington and Alejo Carpentier

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Alejo Carpentier’s writings have been the subject of much scholarly analysis, in particular in relation to his notion of the “marvelous real.” In the field of feminist scholarship Leonora Carrington’s prose, paintings, and her life story in general, have also received considerable academic attention. There are many parallels between Carrington’s and Carpentier’s trajectories that have not been analyzed before. Their association with, and separation from the Surrealist movement is especially interesting. This article seeks to open new perspectives to existing debates on the fragmentation of the Surrealist movement. Through a comparative analysis of Carpentier’s and Carrington’s lives and works, the article explores the role that narrative played in Carpentier’s and Carrington’s process of articulating an artistic identity that was independent from Surrealism, and how both authors used narrative to move from a position of objectification amongst the Surrealist cohort, to becoming subjects, agents of their own creative quests. For this purpose, the article focuses on the analysis of two salient texts: Carrington’s memoir, Down Below, and the Prologue to Carpentier’s novel, El reino de este mundo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-296
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Iberian and Latin American Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Alejo Carpentier
  • Identity
  • Leonora Carrington
  • Narrative
  • Surrealism

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