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The Hearing Trumpet
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Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
This thread is to discuss The Hearing Trumpet The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington by Leonora Carrington Leonora Carrington


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments Awesome! I'll start in September to our whenever you're ready, Jalilah


Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "Awesome! I'll start in September to our whenever you're ready, Jalilah"

Please Margaret and Zanna, by all means ahead and read start discussing it! As I said earlier, I read it years ago. I might still join in before I get a chance to re-read.


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
I'll finish it this week, but I won't give any spoilers. There are lots of funny lines! If I owned it instead of borrowing it from the library, I would be underlining lots of lines.


message 5: by Katy (last edited Aug 16, 2015 09:52AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 829 comments You are all tempting me with this one. But I've got some other buddy reads up -- and I've got to finish Don Quixote .


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Kathy wrote: "You are all tempting me with this one. But I've got some other buddy reads up -- and I've got to finish Don Quixote ."

You can always join later:)


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments I'm glad it's a good laugh - I'm definitely in the mood for a funny book


Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
For those of you who use Facebook, Leonora Carrington has a page
https://www.facebook.com/leonoracarri...
I " liked" it.


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Liked it!

I only have a little bit left, and will finish it tonight. I love the protagonist.

There's a more difficult section to get through, at least for me, in the middle. The protagonist reads a biography by a priest about the exploits of a nun. I'm going to be interested in hearing thoughts about this section! I may reread it when I finish, since I don't think I grasped everything that was going on.

To give a preview of one of the funny bits at the beginning, the protagonist Marian has a dear friend, Carmella (love her!), who creates personas and writes strangers letters (she finds their names and addresses in the Paris directory) under that persona. Here's a section describing one of here letters:

"She [Carmella] was pretending to be a famous Peruvian alpinist who had lost an arm trying to save the life of a grisly bear cub trapped on the edge of a precipice. The mother bear had unkindly bitten off her arm. She went on to give all sorts of information about high altitude fungus and offered to send samples."

Haha. I think I would enjoy doing this. But then, I write fiction so I guess I already do this!

The novel has some interesting ideas about perception--how one person can perceive one truth while others perceive something radically different--which I imagine is a theme that interests Carrington as a surrealist artist. It also satirizes how society treats the elderly, particularly, I think, elderly women.


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments Awesome Margaret! Thanks for sharing! I may read this next.

(When I was 13 and got my first email account, I would type in a random email address and just write a friendly hello. I thought this was a totally normal way to use email and make friends!)


message 11: by Jalilah (last edited Aug 19, 2015 07:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "Liked it!
I only have a little bit left, and will finish it tonight. I love the protagonist.

There's a more difficult section to get through, at least for me, in the middle. The protagonist read..."

You know Margaret, even though it's been decades since I read it, now that you mention them I remember the parts about Carmelita's letters. I can't remember the part of the priest and the nun however. You're making me really want to read it again. It was a stretch, but I hoped I might still have the book but I don't. My library doesn't have it either so I am either going to buy it or get an inter-library loan.
I agree that the book addresses the serious issue of older people's, in particular older women's rights in a fun and interesting way.
Here is another film where you can see more of her art work!
https://www.facebook.com/leonoracarri...


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "Margaret wrote: "Liked it!
I only have a little bit left, and will finish it tonight. I love the protagonist.

There's a more difficult section to get through, at least for me, in the middle. The ..."


I read it through interlibrary loan as well. It's one I would like to purchase. I could see me re-reading it down the road.

Zanna wrote: (When I was 13 and got my first email account, I would type in a random email address and just write a friendly hello. I thought this was a totally normal way to use email and make friends!) ..."

That's funny!



I started reading From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers last night, and was struck by this line in the introduction, which made me think of THT: "Prejudices against women, especially old women and their chatter, belong in the history of fairy tale's changing status, for the pejorative image of the gossip was sweetened by influences from the tradition of the Sibyls and the cult of Saint Anne, until the archetypal crone by the hearth could emerge as a mouthpiece of homespun wisdom." (I think you've mentioned this quote before, Zanna.)

Feminist religious cults play a large part in THT, and there's lots of play with archetypes, though I don't have enough background knowledge on feminist cults and archetypes to pick up on a lot of the subtext in the novel.


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments I really like Warner's critique of the archetypal approach to fairytale interpretation in that book... Feminist cults! I'm totally ignorant. I've started reading I Do Not Come to You by Chance with Great African Reads group but I'll come to THC next!


message 14: by Jalilah (last edited Aug 29, 2015 06:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "Awesome Margaret! Thanks for sharing! I may read this next.


Kathy wrote: "You are all tempting me with this one. But I've got some other buddy reads up -- and I've got to finish Don Quixote ."


I finally have my copy! Kathy and Zanna are you ready to start?


message 15: by Katy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 829 comments I should have my copy by Wednesday next week. Just in time to take it with me on vacation!


message 16: by Katy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 829 comments Kathy wrote: "You are all tempting me with this one. But I've got some other buddy reads up -- and I've got to finish Don Quixote ."

I think I may have to give up on Don Quixote -- just not holding my attention.


Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Kathy wrote: "I should have my copy by Wednesday next week. Just in time to take it with me on vacation!"
Kathy wrote: "I think I may have to give up on Don Quixote -- ..."

Great! I start as soon as I finish my current book!
You know I joined the classics group with the best intentions but haven't read any of the books except The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo. I read a number of them years ago, but not Don Quixote.


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments I've read the Hearing Trumpet! Finished yesterday. It was pretty awesome... Ready to discuss. My computer died and having huge issues getting new one working so apologies for dropping the ball


message 19: by Jalilah (last edited Aug 30, 2015 11:23AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "I've read the Hearing Trumpet! Finished yesterday. It was pretty awesome... Ready to discuss. My computer died and having huge issues getting new one working so apologies for dropping the ball"

Now I am tempted to ditch the book I started last night and read HT instead! As I mentioned earlier on, for me it will be a re- read, so please feel free to go ahead and discuss!
There would be no spoilers for me. I remember the ending, a lot about her life in the home, her beard, it's many of the details in between that I've forgotten.


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments My edition has an introduction by Ali Smith which highlights the contemporary relevance (nuclear winter swappable for climate change) and deep feminism of HT.


message 21: by Jalilah (last edited Sep 08, 2015 04:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "My edition has an introduction by Ali Smith which highlights the contemporary relevance (nuclear winter swappable for climate change) and deep feminism of HT."

My copy has an introduction by Helen Byatt. I am fairly sure the copy I read many years ago did not have an introduction, so although I enjoyed it back then, a lot of the symbolism went over my head.

For example at the time I found it a bit odd that the leading character Marian Leatherby's son was named Galahad, but did not think much more about it. According to Byatt: "The medieval Christians plundered the Grail Myth from the Celts. The male characters tend to be caught up in the Christian versions of the story, while the females belong to an earlier matriarchal version associated with fertility rites. Marian Leatherby's ineffectual son is called Galahad; Galahad was also the virgin Christian knight who claimed the Grail. As a character, he is dismissed early on in the narrative, and the story he pertains to is also written out"


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "The medieval Christians plundered the Grail Myth from the Celts. The male characters tend to be caught up in the Christian versions of the story, while the females belong to an earlier matriarchal version associated with fertility rites. ."

Interesting! My edition had no introduction, so I looked at a few academic articles from my school's library, and found several that mentioned feminist cults but none that specifically addressed the Grail myth. I know that a lot of Arthurian legend has Celtic origins that were altered to met Christian Norman needs, but I don't know any specifics beyond that. I wonder if the The Mabinogian has any of these earlier grail folklore Byatt mentions? I need to read that someday:)


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments That is a brilliant comment - that the men are stuck in the patriarchal mire of christianity while the women are not - thanks for sharing!


message 24: by Jalilah (last edited Sep 10, 2015 12:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
When I read the book the first time around I'd known a little about Leonora Carrington's life. I knew that she'd been involved with the Surrealist movements in Paris, had been involved with the painter Max Ernst, had a "nervous breakdown" and later on moved to Mexico. Later on I read in one of Anais Nin's Diaries about how Ernst would mess with her mind, doing things like hide or destroy her paintings and when she would ask about them he'd tell her that the painting had never existed and she was imaging it all. I know I mentioned this in another thread. The male surrealists really could be jerks!
Anyway in the introduction it mentions that because she'd been locked up in an institution as well as the fact that she'd gone to Catholic boarding schools as a child ( and was kicked out of one of them as a teen!) Carrington had a strong aversion to institutions which of course is reflected in The Hearing Trumpet.
This book, Down Below , documents her early history
" DOWN BELOW is an account of Leonora Carrington's travels to Spain after having been declared "incurably insane." Carrington wrote and painted as a defender of the Surrealist movement into the twentieth century. "
I definitely want to read it!


Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
According to the intro, Carrington's real life inspiration for her character Carmella Velasquez was fellow Surrealist painter Remedios Varo:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remed... The two were close friends and really did write letters to names picked randomly from the telephone book!


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "The two were close friends and really did write letters to names picked randomly from the telephone book!
"


That's amazing! I hope at some point some of these letters are found and published.

I like Velasquez's art! It looks like she really loved cats too because she has a whole series on cats: https://www.google.com/search?q=Remed...

You know, I much prefer Carrington's art, and Valasquez's, to Ernst's and even Dali's, but I don't know why. Something seems too much in Dali's and Ernst's.


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments or trying too hard to be different and strange rather than felt


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "or trying too hard to be different and strange rather than felt"

Yes, perhaps that's it.


message 29: by Jalilah (last edited Sep 15, 2015 06:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "You know, I much prefer Carrington's art, and Valasquez's, to Ernst's and even Dali's, but I don't know why. Something seems too much in Dali's and Ernst.
Zanna wrote: "or trying too hard to be different and strange rather than felt

Me too! Although I appreciate Ernst and Dali, I much prefer the works of Carrington and Varo! They move me on a much deeper level. I agree as you say trying too hard or just trying to be weird for the sake of it, where as the art work of the two women is more mythic.

There are a few racial terms and comments that bother me a little, but I take into consideration the time when it was written and in which Carrington was born.

I am so happy I rediscovered Carrington's art work! Now that I "liked" her FB page I am getting all these beautiful images in my newsfeed!


message 31: by Jalilah (last edited Sep 15, 2015 06:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
What a fun and crazy book! I loved the way a postman named Taliessin just shows up with a letter in the middle of the snow storm! I thought the name seemed familiar is I confirmed (according to wikipedia):
Taliesin was an early Brythonic poet of Sub-Roman Britain whose work has possibly survived in a Middle Welsh manuscript, the Book of Taliesin. Taliesin was a renowned bard who is believed to have sung at the courts of at least three Brythonic kings. Wikipedia
Born: 534 AD
Died: 599 AD
Full name: Gwion Bach

One of my favourite parts was the in tower where she confronts herself stirring a big caldron of soup!


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments Again, thanks for sharing this enriching material!

The postman reminded me of the movie staring Kevin Costner - maybe they got the idea from THT...


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "Here's my review
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..."


Great review, as always! I also enjoyed having a heroine that was vegetarian/vegan. I've read 2 books since THT that have villainized vegetarians, with the vegetarian part being integral to the antagonists' evil, so I'm glad there are some positive portrayals out there as well!

Jalilah wrote: "One of my favourite parts was the in tower where she confronts herself stirring a big caldron of soup! "

Very funny part! I definitely lol'd.

Zanna wrote: The postman reminded me of the movie staring Kevin Costner - maybe they got the idea from THT..."

Haha, I thought of that too!


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments oh no, evil vegetarians?! what books were those?


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "oh no, evil vegetarians?! what books were those?"

The first is Jigs & Reels: Stories, which had 2-3 stories with vegetarians. They were selfish, consumed with their image, and vegetarian because they wanted to be thin and follow a trend. I think in one of the stories the ending is her stealing a bite of meat. Probably wouldn't have stood out to me if it'd been 1 character, but there were multiple.

The second, which I'm currently reading and about to finish, is On Such a Full Sea. It's a post-apocalypse novel, and at one point the protagonist and the people she's with stop at a home in the wastelands, and the entire family are circus performers and vegetarians, living off the land, etc. They also have rottweilers. The protagonist discovers a bunch of bones, and then the family bring out her companions tied up planning to feed them to their dogs. And she's like, but you're vegetarians! (She ends up saving them.)

I've seen these portrayals before. I think the 2nd one people find 'funny', maybe. Both suggest that there's some kind of mental disorder or issue for those of us who choose to be vegetarians--whether it be low self-esteem or some type of psychopathy!


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments Thanks so much for taking the time to write about this. I saw that you also wrote about it in your review of Jigs & Reels. I wonder if anything similar will turn up in The Gospel of Loki (my copy seems to be lost in transit but I've plenty to read to catch up anyway). It's interesting that in both the vegetarians are 'saved' or change their crazy ways at the end.

I remember when I was about 20 my mum mentioned to me that someone she knew who used to be vegetarian had recently become an enthusiastic omnivore and she said 'maybe you'll do the same'. That was the only time she had suggested my diet might be a phase (I stopped eating meat when I was 14). I didn't say anything, but I felt my conviction very strongly at that moment: I knew I never wanted to eat meat, I couldn't see it as food, it disgusted me on every level, and most of the veg*ns I know say the same. Of course everyone's different and there are ethical veg*ns who miss meat (I know one ex-veggie who used to eat christmas dinner because she loved it), but most don't, so I think that ending is wish-fulfilment for omni folks who are weirdly irked by plant-based diets. I can't understand that thinking that it must be mental illness driving us to refuse meat!


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "Thanks so much for taking the time to write about this. I saw that you also wrote about it in your review of Jigs & Reels. I wonder if anything similar will turn up in The Gospel of Loki (my copy s..."

I'm actually glad to talk about it! I thought they were very weird portrayals, and I'm wondering if there are other negative portrayals of veg*ns (to use your word:)) in literature.

I've been vegetarian for about 6 years, maybe 7? I do eat eggs and honey, so I'm not vegan. I've never been 'tempted' by meat, or had any desire to eat it. I will say the smell of bratwurst and certain types of sausage brings me to a nostalgic place--I lived in Germany my first 4 years, and even after that my family made bratwurst several times a month, at least. So whenever I smell it I think of home! But I have no desire to eat it.

My family does think I have a mental illness, haha! Though probably being vegetarian is only part of their reasoning:)


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments Have you read The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory? The part I find most interesting is her lit crit, though mainly she talks about positive or neutral portrayals of vegetarians (and the pushback they get) that are usually overlooked, as in Shelley's Frankenstein.

I'm not really a vegan either by the highest standards; I think it's impossible. But I do what I can. As a vegetarian I never had any influence on my family and I guess they figured I'd grow out of it eventually, but my going vegan has caused my mum to stop eating land animals and to give up butter and cow's milk, though she still eats fish, cheese, yogurt and cream haha. But I'm very happy - she's doing what she can at the time. What's up with your family?!


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "Have you read The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory? The part I find most interesting is her lit crit, though mainly she talks about positive or neutral po..."

I haven't read it. Hmm, Frankenstein? I haven't read it recently, but how does that relate?

Haha, my family's great, but they live in a small, U.S. southern town, that has one tiny grocery store, a McDonalds, and that's about it. And my parents hate to cook. So the entire idea is mind-boggling to them. Interestingly, my sister who hunts has been the most supportive, and often says if she cooked she would do something similar. But they hate cooking!


Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
I have not been a vegetarian in years, but agree with the both of you about the negative way vegetarians are often portrayed!

I LOVED this book. In fact I am having a hard time getting into anything else.


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: I LOVED this book. In fact I am having a hard time getting into anythi..."

Me too! I've read several things in between, but keep mentally returning to THT.


Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments Yeah not so surprised about your sister. The friends i have from turtle island with native heritage are all omnivores but totally supportive. In fact i think they get it better than folks in my vegan circles...

Agree THT is awesome :-)


message 43: by Leah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Jalilah wrote: "There are a few racial terms and comments that bother me a little, but I take into consideration the time when it was written and in which Carrington was born."

This has been the biggest distraction for me in reading this story. When she talks about "the Negress" or "oriental".

Is this Marian's white supremacy? Commentary by the author (like with elderly women)? Or the author's own prejudice?


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
I think I thought it was Marian's white supremacy at the time? I honestly can't remember. I did a brief search to see if there's any connection between Carrington and racism, and I couldn't find anything, which doesn't necessarily mean anything.


Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Leah wrote: "Is this Marian's white supremacy? Commentary by the author (like with elderly women)? Or the author's own prejudice?"

It is neither imo. It's the time that the book was written as well as the fact the author lived outside of the English speaking world, in France then in Mexico most of her life.

The book was first published in 1974, but I read somewhere it was written a long time before. The term that now in 2019 seems racist was acceptable and in French and Spanish speaking countries is still used. Same with "Oriental" .


message 46: by Leah (last edited Jan 08, 2019 06:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Jalilah wrote: "The term that now in 2019 seems racist was acceptable and in French and Spanish speaking countries is still used. Same with "Oriental"."

So you're saying Black people in French or Spanish speaking countries did not (and still do not) consider it racist being addressed as or referred to as "the Negress"?

And when you say that these terms were acceptable, do you mean acceptable according to white people?

Reason I ask is, I struggle with processing the problematic material in old books. Just curious how others see it.


message 47: by Jalilah (last edited Jan 08, 2019 05:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Leah wrote: "

So you're saying Black people in French or Spanish speaking countries did not (and still do not) consider it racist being addressed as or referred to as "the Negress"?

And when you say that these terms were acceptable, do you mean acceptable according to white people?

Reason I ask is, I struggle with processing the problematic material in old books. Just curious how others see it. "


I would never presume to speak for a black person to say what they would or wouldn't find objectionable.
My reply was to what you asked about if Leonora Carrington or her character Marion meant it as racist or white supremacist and I said I think not.
I too have a hard time reading 19th century lit when there is racism in it or when non-Europeans are conveyed in an unflattering or condescending way. In this case the character in question is the one of the heros of the book. She's strong, intelligent, and good willed. Carrington wrote this book at a time when "negro" was considered the more polite, PC word. (In fact Martin Luther King used the word "Negros" to describe African Americans in his "I have a dream" speech. ). Calling someone black was considered racist and offensive at this time. Spanish and French are gendered languages so adding an "ess" just made the word feminine. Again I can't say if it was just whites at the time who found it acceptable but I do own some recordings of Colombian music and the musicians are Afro-Colombian and they are always using the word "Negrita" as a term of endearment.
I hope I expressed this right!
Edited to add: What I am trying to say is no, it's not acceptable to use these terms now and yes, one should always only use the terms for group of people that they want to be called and we should listen if they don't want to be called a term, but no I still maintain Carrington was not using the term with racist intentions, rather she was using what she thought was the acceptable term at the time she wrote the book.


message 48: by Leah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Jalilah wrote: "Edited to add: What I am trying to say is no, it's not acceptable to use these terms now and yes, one should always only use the terms for group of people that they want to be calked and we should listen if they don't want to be called a term, but no I still maintain Carrington was not using the term with racist intentions, rather she was using what she thought was the acceptable term at the time she wrote the book."

I wonder if there are any people of color who have covered this topic in historical context. Meaning, interviews or personal memoirs where a person of color discussed how these different terms were viewed from people of color POV. I'd be interested how this was considered and processed for them personally. And I'm sure it varies from person to person. What might not offend one person, might not be acceptable by another person.

For example, one of my new favorite authors is Victor La Valle. He's discussed having loved Lovecraft stories when he was young. But then he grew up and recognized the rampant racism in Lovecraft's works. He wrote The Ballad of Black Tom in response. And I've read interviews with other Black authors who have had favorite stories which contained racism. But I don't think I ever really heard anyone say the author was racist. They all seem to make allowances for the time period and call the material racist. I'm not widely read / knowledgeable on the subject. It's something I've only started to explore and think on.

Thanks for sharing your opinion! It helps me in my own reading of author beliefs vs time period theory.


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Lovecraft is different, in that he actually was racist. He believed white people were superior to everyone. Baby's crying, here's link: https://lithub.com/we-cant-ignore-h-p...


message 50: by Leah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Margaret wrote: "Lovecraft is different, in that he actually was racist. He believed white people were superior to everyone. Baby's crying, here's link: https://lithub.com/we-cant-ignore-h-p......"

Yep, I knew that one.

On a lighter note, isn't Carmella hilarious?! I love her. The letter in which she writes Marian of her elaborate plans for escape, cracked me up.


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