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Armed with Madness: The Surreal Leonora Carrington

Words by Mary M. Talbot

Art by Bryan Talbot

Hardback, 144 pp, $24.99

Reluctant muse and feminist champion… society heiress and rebel refugee… the last of the Surrealists: Leonora Carrington played many roles in her long and extraordinary life. Renouncing her privileged upbringing in pre-war England for the more exciting elite of Paris’s 1930s avant-garde, she comes to rub shoulders (and more) with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, and Salvador Dalí, after embarking on a complicated love affair with Max Ernst. But the demons that have both haunted and inspired her work are gathering, and when the world goes mad with the outbreak of war and the Nazi invasion, Leonora’s own hold on reality collapses into a terrifying psychotic episode of her own. 

Eventually fleeing war-torn Europe, she emerges into a new and richly creative life in Mexico City, establishing herself as a prodigious painter, writer, and advocate of women’s rights. This new work by the acclaimed partnership of Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot celebrates the life and career of a truly remarkable woman – and artist.

Mary M. Talbot

Mary M. Talbot is an academic turned graphic novelist. Her first graphic novel,  Dotter of her Father’s Eyes (with Bryan Talbot), won the 2012 Costa Biography Award. Her most recent, Rain (2019, with Bryan Talbot), is a rallying cry to protect the planet. Her previous graphic novels are Sally Heathcote, Suffragette (2014, with Kate Charlesworth and Bryan Talbot) and The Red Virgin (2016, with Bryan Talbot). Her most recent academic book is Language and Gender (3rd ed, 2019). She is currently Visiting Professor of Graphic Narrative at Lancaster University.

Bryan Talbot

Multiple award-winning artist Bryan Talbot has been working in comics for over forty years. He’s produced underground, fantasy and superhero stories such as Batman and (with Neil Gaiman) Sandman, and graphic novels including The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, The Tale of One Bad Rat, Alice in Sunderland, the Grandville series, as well as illustrating the books written by Mary. They are both founding patrons of The Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Bryan was awarded a Doctorate in Arts and another in Letters and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. 


"Armed with Madness is one of those terrific stories that opens one’s eyes to something new, and creates curiosity and inquisitiveness."
— Down the Tubes
"Powerful, enraging and uplifting, this mesmerising introduction to yet another forgotten woman of achievement is a sheer delight and will definitely compel all readers to look for more."
— Comics Review
"SelfMadeHero pay us a great service with this book, by bringing to popular attention important figures from the past in a quick and accessible way, while managing to illuminate themes vital to our times."
— Morning Star
"With a blend of outlandish and absurdist artwork as well as a compelling narrative, Armed with Madness is a fantastic multi-faceted journey into the life of Leonora Carrington and the surrealist movement."
— Broken Frontier