domingo, 23 de abril de 2017

Dora Carrington: The Impossible Love That Inspired Brenan

Dora Carrington (1893-1932) was a British artist. Carrington was the daughter of a merchant from Liverpool and she considered that her family was very suffocating, especially her mother, who did not let her express herself freely. Dora found her escape valve in the art world, so she studied in London at the Slade School of Art. Although she was not a famous painter, she came into contact with artists, intellectuals and bohemians, who discovered in her a source of inspiration. Carrington was a woman unusual for her time because of her ideas, concerns and modern lifestyle. Dora was subjugated by biographer Lytton Strachey, eminent member of the Bloomsbury Circle (its name comes from the London borough where they met). This group was formed by an elite of British intellectuals. The ideology was liberal, enlightened, humanist and atheist. It was based on pacifism and free love. However, at that time, the Sex Offenses Act (1885) was very strict in the United Kingdom (the decriminalization of consensual homosexual practices, only in private, was passed in 1967). And after the condemnation of Oscar Wilde, the British homosexuals chose to control their manners in public. Many chose other countries more tolerant of their sexual practices.

Brenan met Dora Carrington and fell under her spell. The sentimental relationships were more platonic than physical, because Dora, open to other loves, rarely corresponded to his requirements and rejected him because she considered him a threat to her freedom. This impossible love passion produced much suffering to Brenan, which increased when the artist married Brenan´s best friend, Ralph Partridge with the approval of Lytton Strachey. The three of them went to live together. Brenan was invited to join the community from time to time, but the Hispanist with a passionate character clashed with a group dominated by the rationality and utilitarianism of its leader. Dora, years later, would be abandoned by Ralph and would commit suicide in 1932 after the death of Lytton. Ralph, despite their differences, would be Brenan's friend until the end of his life.

Brenan could not easily forget Dora, he talks a lot about this painful relationship, which marks his literary production, and so that Carrington becomes the unavailable muse to whom the disdained poet sings. However, the romantic Brenan does not think about death, but on his future and  he develops his own circle that will have its headquarters in Spain. Although his position with regard to sexuality is not clear, he had only one daughter with a domestic servant of Yegen: Juliana (1930) and went to live with the American poetess Gamel Woolsey, they adopted to Miranda Helen (who never met her biological mother). The author does not hesitate to refer to other romantic adventures of the couple that fit the open philosophy of the intellectuals with whom they were linked.

Bibliographical sources

Brenan, G. (1974):  Personal Record 1920-1972. London: Jonathan Cape.
Brenan, G. (2012):  Diarios sobre Dora Carrington. C. Pránger (Ed.). Málaga: Confluencias.
Gretchen Holbrook, G. (1989). Carrington: A Life. New York: W.W. Norton & Co..
Hill, J. (1994). The Art of Dora Carrington. London: The Herbert Press Ltd.
Haycock, D. B. (2009). A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War. London: Old Street Publishing.
[Recuperado 20/04/2017]

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