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
However, magical realism is different from fantasy
literature based on the perception of the fantastical
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.
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!
: an exhibition of optical effects and illusions
a : a constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or
imagined b : a scene that constantly changes
: a bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or
He saw a phantasmagoria of shadowy creatures through the
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
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
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
Related flashcards

Piano sonatas

34 cards

Chadic languages

47 cards


15 cards

Piano concertos

18 cards

Piano concertos

19 cards

Create Flashcards