Chicago: Radical America, 1972. 1st Edition Thus. Octavo, publisher's stapled beige wraps printed in black, printed on blue paper stock.
"I think she was mistaken when she said I was torturing myself. I think that she interpreted me fragmentarily, which is worse than not to interpret at all." Undergoing a recent revival kicked off by the 2017 centenary of her birth, surrealist luminary Leonora Carrington is finally, if posthumously, receiving acclaim equal to her male contemporaries. Down Below is her candid and carnivalesque account of the mental suffering she experienced while incarcerated in a Spanish asylum under the instruction of her parents. Written three years after her nervous breakdown (notably, her paramour Max Ernst's arrest in 1940 was a contributing factor), her vivid and heavily personal descriptions of madness are only the beginning of what would become a remarkable, if previously overlooked, career. Originally published in the American surrealist journal VVV in 1944, this first standalone edition of Carrington's narrative serves as number five in the publisher's Surrealist Research & Development Monograph Series. The series was a collaborative effort between the Chicago Surrealist Group, under their imprint Black Swan Press, and Radical America (1967-1999). The former was established by Franklin and Penelope Rosemont in 1966 after a trip to Paris, during which they were in contact with André Breton. The group went on to play a major role in the World Surrealist Exhibition held at their now defunct surrealist gallery Black Swan in Chicago in 1976, as well as publish and contribute to several surrealist magazines globally. Many of the group's members, including the Rosemonts, came from radical left-wing and anarchist backgrounds, thus leading to their partnership with leftist publication Radical America, a product of the campus-based New Left of the late 1960s, specifically the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). Translated from the French by acclaimed translator and member of the "Lost Generation" of writers Victor Llona. As told to Jeanne Megnan, wife of French psychoanalyst and fellow surrealist Pierre Mabille, who encouraged Carrington to write Down Below. (Mabille emphasizes that Megnan did not change any fundamental aspects of the text, but aided her in rearranging "some chaotic passages.") Illustrated throughout with marginal woodcuts derived from open sources, and one full-page map drawn by Carrington. Fine, and scarce. Item #1822