MAGICAL REALISM Magic Realism is a genre of fiction in which magical elements are blended into a realistic atmosphere in order to access a deeper understanding of reality. These magical elements are explained like normal occurrences that are presented in a straightforward manner which allows the "real" and the "fantastic" to be accepted in the same stream of thought. Think of it as "what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something 'too strange to believe'". But isn’t it just Fantasy?! Prominent English-language fantasy writers have stated that "magic realism" is only another name for fantasy fiction. However, magical realism is different from fantasy literature based on the perception of the fantastical element: In fantasy, the presence of the supernatural is perceived as odd or different, whereas in magical realism the presence of the supernatural is accepted. In magical realism the author presents the supernatural as being equally valid to the natural. Characteristics The extent to which the characteristics listed below apply to any given magic realist text varies; every text is different and will employ a smattering of those listed here. However, they do serve as a good judge of what one might expect from a magic realist text. Characteristics - Fantastical elements As recently as 2008, magical realism in literature has been defined as "a kind of modern fiction in which fabulous and fantastical events are included in a narrative that otherwise maintains the 'reliable' tone and draw upon the genres of fable, folk tale, and myth while maintaining a strong contemporary voice. The fantastic attributes given to characters in such novels — levitation, flight, telepathy, telekinesis — are among the means that magic realism uses in order to discuss the often phantasmagorical realities of present day issues. Wait a Minute! Definition of PHANTASMAGORIA 1 : an exhibition of optical effects and illusions 2 a : a constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or imagined b : a scene that constantly changes 3 : a bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or assemblage Examples of PHANTASMAGORIA He saw a phantasmagoria of shadowy creatures through the fog. Characteristics - Hybridity When the plot lines utilize multiple layers of reality taking place at the same time. Such opposites as urban and rural, and past and present. Characteristics - Authorial Reticence Authorial reticence is the "deliberate withholding of information and explanations about the disconcerting fictitious world".[ The narrator does not provide explanations about the accuracy or credibility of events described. Note that the act of explaining the supernatural would immediately reduce the legitimacy of this world in comparison to the natural world; the reader would consequently disregard the supernatural as false. Characteristics - Sense of Mystery Something that most, if not all, critics agree on is this major theme. Magic realist literature tends to read at a very intensified level. You have to be open to the crazy, zany, and wacky stuff going on in these stories. "If you can explain it, then it's not magical realism." Characteristics - Political Critique Magic realism contains an "implicit criticism of society, particularly the elite". Major Authors and Works Although there is much debate among critics and writers regarding who and/or which works fall within the genre of magical realism, the following authors tend to be regarded as most representative of the narrative mode. Major Authors and Works Franz Kafka, writing in the 1920s, is arguably the founder of the genre. Within the Latin American world, perhaps the most iconic of magical realist novelist is Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez, whose novel One Hundred Years of Solitude was an instant worldwide success. English Author Salman Rushdie, African American novelist Toni Morrison, English author Louis de Bernières and English feminist writer Angela Carter Major Authors and Works The first woman writer from Latin America to be recognized outside the continent was Isabel Allende. Her most well-known novel The House of the Spirits is arguably quite similar to Marquez's style of magical realist writing. Isabel Allende Isabel Allende (born 2 August 1942) is a ChileanAmerican writer. Allende is one of the best-known female novelists in Latin America. Allende has been called "the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author". In 2010 she received Chile's National Literature Prize. Allende's novels are sometimes based upon her own personal experiences and often pay homage to the lives of women, while weaving together elements of myth and realism. Isabel Allende Isabel Allende – Controversy: what do you think? Despite or perhaps because of her commercial success and "being compared to Gabriel García Márquez," Allende has been the subject of negative criticism from other authors and literary critics. Bolaño writes that Allende's literature is anemic and compares it to a person on his deathbed. Bolaño has been one of her harshest critics, saying that it is to give her credit to call her a writer and that she is rather a "writing machine". Literary critic Harold Bloom concurs with Bolaño that Allende is a bad writer, and adds that she only reflects a determinate period and that afterwards everybody will have forgotten her. Allende recognizes that she has rarely had good criticism in Chile and that Chilean intellectuals "detest" her. Isabel Allende – Controversy: what do you think? Novelist Gonzalo Contreras says that "she commits a grave error, to confuse the commercial success with literary quality”. Allende disagrees with these assessments of her, and she has also been quoted as saying: The fact people think that when you sell a lot of books you are not a serious writer is a great insult to the readership. I get a little angry when people try to say such a thing. There was a review of my last book in one American paper by a professor of Latin American studies and he attacked me personally for the sole reason that I sold a lot of books. That is unforgivable. Isabel Allende – Controversy: what do you think? Alternatively, "Allende's impact not only on Latin American literature but also on world literature cannot be overestimated.” The Los Angeles Times has called Allende "a genius,“ and she has received many international awards, granted to writers "who have contributed to the beauty of the world.“ She has recently been called a "literary legend" by Latino Leaders Magazine, which in its 2007 article named Allende as the third most influential Latino leader in the world. “Two Words” First, choose a phrase or sentence from the text that best describes the theme: “The Power of Words”. Then, write your quote on the white paper. Listen to the song and create a visual representation of your quotation. Use your entire page. “Two Words” Then, work in groups and explain your images. Why did you draw what you did? Did the words or music influence you? Did anything regarding magical realism influence you? Now, write a journal describing your experience. How does your drawing and representation of a visual compare to your peers? What images and colours did you choose differently or similarly? Why is it important to represent words in all different manners of art?