other than just twisting my head inside out w/ the plot, language & the sheer, but maybe also impenetrable--i want to use a word here i will not sother than just twisting my head inside out w/ the plot, language & the sheer, but maybe also impenetrable--i want to use a word here i will not so maybe someone who stumbles upon this will not be immediately turned off by my personal lack of class--horror, but--jesus ... sorry--the horror, the only disappointing occurrence in the act of my reading dorothea tanning's one novel is knowing that it is her one & only novel. but then again, the calm schizoid nature throughout the very brief but very busy book may've only been achievable by the accident of circumstances: an artist, who is as an accomplished writer/poet/translator--smart, in another word--decides to write her first novel in her later years & nails it in a way only they could. or, it was achievable only by dorothea tanning. maybe not the first that comes to mind when women surrealists are mentioned, or american women surrealists for that matter, but probably close or maybe so.
i know her best for her paintings, which i lazily group among other "women surrealist painters" like leonora carrington, remedios varo, leonor fini &, yes, frida kahlo, in addition to pretty much anything i come across while perusing the aforementioned. many of the women making art & running around w/ the bad boys of surrealism in their day, like tanning, were jacks-of-any-trade-they-tried, writing, of course, being one of those not completely foreign to painting, photography, &tc., the more expressive forms of trade. leonora carrington's art, then writing, is what led me to dorothea tanning & many others. & while i like a little more than some of some of the male exponents of surrealism, i've found, personally, both the visual art & the written stuff--particularly the written--of the women surrealists much more appealing for whatever reason. i feel slightly qualified to say this as i spent a lost, ill-advised & very much soused year of college trying to render meaning from meaningless poetry. there has always been a suspicious, gimmicky angle to surrealism for me, which i also get is part of the whole movement to begin w/; &, while i admit i'm less acquainted w/ it than the more famous work of the more famous men, i have yet to come across anything, painting or writing at least, that feels like a trick--good or bad. i know this sounds straight-up sexist & maybe it is, but it's like my inability to understand what the hell it means doesn't mean it's meaningless ... except for the dudes' stuff. i'm a dude. it i don't get the meaning then it's meaningless
also: she was married to max ernst (from 1946 until his death in 1976) & served as translator when he wrote. the two of them actually lived in sedona, arizona.* they also lived in new york, paris, provence & other cool places cool people like themselves could afford to live. somewhere, this review obviously lost its meaning, so i will bid you adieu, except for a short list of writers this very short book reminded me off, y'know, kind of what you hate a book review to include only slightly more than you hate one for not including:
leonora carrington roberto bolaño jorge luis borges giorgio de chimico john collier & sort of edgar allan poe
obviously this list really only points out that i have so many more women to read.
also: here's a pretty cool painting by dorothea tanning:
*i think (young, good) steve martin namedrops sedona as the place king tut eventually settles on his his seven-inch novelty hit, king tut, but then again, it may just be arizona in general & the whole rhyme thing got me....more