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Magical Realism

Realistic Magic-ey stuff!

Marley Crossland

on 23 January 2013

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Transcript of Magical Realism

Magical Realism Marley Crossland So...what does that mean? According to William Spindler, 1993, there are three subtypes of Magical Realism. Metaphysical Magical Realism Anthropological Magical Realism Ontological Magical Realism This raises some questions... Ontological Magical Realism Overall, Magical Realism... Phenomenological Magical Realism Moment 1 Moment 3 Moment 2 What is Magical Realism? Article in post-expressionist painting, 1925, by German art critic Franz Roh contrasted fantastic transcendental paintings of Expressionists with a return to reality emerging in art at that time

This definition had least impact on literary genre Alejo Carpentier developed term into uniquely Latin American concept: lo real meravilloso.

In 1949 foreword to his novel Kingdom of This World, Carpentier criticizes pretension of creating the marvellous that has characterized European Lit. over the previous 30 years. Calls for marvellous real literature of America, born out of the existing reality of the continent and characterized by a rich style. 1955 Lecture by Mexican writer Angel Flores, who said that Latin American Romantic Literature is full of elements of realism and realist works are full of fantasy--the mix of which is magical realism. It is not weighed down by baroque descriptions but clings to reality as if to prevent literature from flying to the supernatural. Corresponding to Roh's ideas, interaction of subjectivity and reality mediated by perception generates magic, but reality remains unaltered. Streaming from Carpentier's approach, the marvellous exists in Latin America, and is revealed to those who believe through the act of faith that is literature. ...is defined as a genre where magical elements are a natural part of an otherwise mundane, realistic environment.

For example, a person may live much longer than a normal human life span would allow. Is magic supernatural or merely a way of looking at reality? Is magic inherent in reality or is it purely textual?

These questions have shaped contemporary views of Magical Realism. Characterized by defamiliarization. Creates uncanny and disturbing atmosphere without going to supernatural.

Exemplified by Kafka's "The Trial," Borges' "The South," and even James' "The Turn of the Screw." Corresponds to genre's current definition. Characterized by use of two voices: one rational and realist, and the other indicating a belief in magic. The implied contradiction is resolved in the text by the presence of a specific cultural world-view, a "Weltanshauung" where mythical and rational coexist. Linked to postcolonial search for national identity. Many Latin American works by authors such as Carpentier, Asturias, Harris, Rushdie. Here, the supernatural also appears, but the contradiction between it and the real world is resolved through a matter-of-fact presentation. Magic is not explained in a realistic way, but it has an objective presence in the text. Examples are Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," Cortázar's "Axolotl," and Carpentier's "Voyage to the Seed." Definition has remained vague
Cuban literary critic Roberto González Echevarría believes confusion surrounding term happened because the term appeared in 3 different moments in 20th century Magical realism, according to Echevarría says none of these definitions of magical realism have provided an approach adequately describing post-Boom examples of the genre. He identifies two types of Magical Realism: Rules of Magical Realism Fantastical elements: fabulous and fantastical events are included in a narrative that otherwise maintains the 'reliable' tone of objective realistic report, designating a tendency of the modern novel to reach beyond the confines of realism while maintaining a social relevance.
Hybridity: magical realism is illustrated in the inharmonious arenas of such opposites as urban and rural, and Western and indigenous. The plots of magical realist works involve issues of borders, mixing, and change. This reveals a more deep and true reality than conventional realist techniques would illustrate.
Plenitude: Carpentier defines description in disorienting detail as a baroque technique that translates easily into post-colonial writings.
Metafiction: Centered on the reader's role in literature, with its multiple realities and specific reference to the reader’s world, it explores the impact fiction has on reality, reality on fiction and the reader’s role in between. Therefore, it enables authors to make political and social criticisms. Furthermore, it aids textualization. This term defines two conditions—first, where a fictitious reader enters the story within a story while reading it, making us self-conscious of our status as readers—and secondly, where the textual world enters into the reader's world. Rules Continued Authorial reticence: the deliberate witholding of an explanation about disconcerting fantastical events. The presence of an "indifferent" narrator. Story proceeds logically as if nothing extraordinary took place. Keeps a reliable narrator.
Sense of mystery: the literature reads at an intensified level, similar to PoMo. Reader must let go of conventional exposition, plot advancement, linear time structure, scientific reason, etc.
Collective consciousness: Luis Leal, responsible for this concept, has said, "...magical realism is an attitude on the part of the characters in the novel toward the world."
According to Luis Leal, if one can explain it, it is not Magical Realism.
Political Critique: Magical Realist writings contain a critique of society, particularly the elite, and is primarily for and about the marginalized. Differences from Similar Genres Sci-Fi: In Sci-Fi, there must be a rational, logical explanation for things that are out of the ordinary. The setting is not recognizable to past or present reality.
Fantasy: In fantasy, presence of supernatural is unusual and cause for concern, but in MR, it is accepted/ natural. It is the difference between creating new worlds and suggesting the magical in our own world.
Examples Gabriel García Márquez, "One Hundred Years of Solitude"
Isabel Allende, "The House of the Spirits"
Laura Esquivel, "Like Water for Chocolate"
Salman Rushdie, "Midnight's Children"
Toni Morrison, "Beloved"
Writings of Gloria Naylor, Ana Castillo, Rudolfo Anaya, Helena Maria Viramontes, Native American authors Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexie; English author Louis de Bernières and English feminist writer Angela Carter. How Form Determines Content Art: At the time of Franz Roh and the first half of the 20th century, Magical Realism in the form of art excluded the overly fantastic, and the idea was to revert to realistically depicting subjects, and letting their magic come through their reality. More recently, however, more fantastic elements have been incorporated into art to the point that its grip on reality is tenuous.
Film: There is not actually a film genre of Magical Realism--rather, the characteristics of the genre of literature are applied to film. Explores the reality of what exists.
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