Katherine Gosling

Thesis working title: An exploration into the representation of mental ill-health in the works of Leonora Carrington.

Supervisor: Dr Tara Plunkett

Biography: Originally from London, I moved to Dublin in 2015 to complete my BA (International) in Spanish and Linguistics. Upon graduating in 2019, I had a firm idea of my research interest, and a career path in academia. I developed my research interests through my BA, most specifically, during my time studying in Valencia, Spain. This experience allowed me to explore the study of both Spanish and Latin American art, which only grew as I delved into the final year of my BA. This all led me to apply for the MLitt programme, which I began in January this year, and which I hope will lead me to the PhD programme next year.

Thesis Summary: My research is concerned with English-born artist Leonora Carrington, exploring the way in which mental-ill health is represented in both her literary and artistic works. A key element to this project will explore the way in which Carrington represents mental ill-health in women in a selection of her works. This element of the project will consider the role of women in art and the history of the female hysteric, with particular reference to surrealism – a popular avant-garde movement in which Carrington assumed a shaping role. A fundamental part of this project will focus on Carrington’s personal experience being interned in a sanatorium in Northern Spain in the Second World War after suffering a psychological collapse. Thus, this project aims to discuss and identify the shaping role this experience had on Carrington’s artistic direction, which will be achieved through an in-depth analysis of her central text, ‘Down Below’, as well as an analysis of a number of Carrington’s artistic works both pre- and post-internment. An integral part of this analysis will also focus on the recurrence of key themes and motifs such as the occult, identity and transformation, and the way in which these themes may function as an aid to Carrington on her journey from psychological instability through to stability, both in her literary and artistic works.