magic realism


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magic realism,

primarily Latin American literary movement that arose in the 1960s. The term has been attributed to the Cuban writer Alejo CarpentierCarpentier, Alejo
, 1904–80, Cuban novelist and musicologist. As a political exile in Paris between 1928 and 1939, Carpentier was strongly influenced by Antonin Artaud, Jacques Prévert, and the surrealists.
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, who first applied it to Latin-American fiction in 1949. Works of magic realism mingle realistic portrayals of ordinary events and characters with elements of fantasy and myth, creating a rich, frequently disquieting world that is at once familiar and dreamlike. The movement's best-known proponent is the Colombian novelist Gabriel García MárquezGarcía Márquez, Gabriel
, 1927–2014, Colombian novelist, short-story writer, and journalist, b. Aracataca. Widely considered one of the great Latin American masters of narrative and one of the finest literary stylists of the 20th cent.
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, who has used the technique many times, most famously in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967). Other magic realist writers include Guatemala's Miguel Ángel AsturiasAsturias, Miguel Ángel
, 1899–1974, Guatemalan novelist, poet, and diplomat. Living in Paris in the 1920s, Asturias was influenced by Romain Rolland, Valéry, and the surrealists.
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, Argentina's Julio CortázarCortázar, Julio
, 1914–84, Argentine novelist, poet, essayist, and short-story writer, b. Brussels. Moving permanently to France in 1951, Cortázar gradually gained recognition as one of the century's major experimental writers.
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, and Mexico's Carlos FuentesFuentes, Carlos
, 1928–2012, Mexican writer, editor, and diplomat. He was head of the department of cultural relations in Mexico's ministry of foreign affairs (1956–59) and Mexican ambassador to France (1975–77).
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. Non-Latin American writers whose fiction often employs magic realism include Italo CalvinoCalvino, Italo
, 1923–85, Italian novelist. Calvino was one of the most popular novelists of the 20th cent. Although loneliness is an essential condition in his writings, he imbues his stories with passion and celebrates the human capacity for love and imagination.
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 and Salman RushdieRushdie, Sir Salman
, 1947–, British novelist, b. Bombay (now Mumbai, India). He is known for the allusive richness of his language and the wide variety of Eastern and Western characters and cultures he explores.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Magic realism as such doesn't have only one location--Latin America; it is, rather, a crosscultural narrative strategy and can be seen in works as diverse as Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Kafka's The Metamorphosis, or Frida Kahlo's paintings.
Garcia Marquez's magic realism took the world by storm, and the world was ready for it.
However, Skrodzka classifies magic realism as a "relatively recent tradition" (xi).
Among the topics are Melville's marvels of reality, a comparative reflection on magic realism in native and white Canadian prose, magic realist and utopian discourses in Margaret Sweatmans' When Alice Lay Down with Peter, a Jewish shtetl revisited in Lilian Nattel's The River Midnight, and the subversion of rationalism through feminine excess in Susan Swan's The Biggest Modern Woman of the World and Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus.
Magic realism involves a subject that, while based in situations and actions that are not quite believable, still manages to convince the reader of a greater truth-fantasy set in the real world, one might say.
The term magic realism was first used in 1925 by Franz Roh, a German art historian.
Since writers of magic realism somehow seem to have Spanish-sounding names, I most unfairly decided - I didn't even look
Magic realism is not a scalpel sharp enough for this experience; Symphony evoked elaborate feelings about madness and what might follow immediately after death.
Byatt's short story "Sugar" and novella "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye," Bowen's examination covers fourteen texts by writers such as Joy Kogawa, Salman Rushdie, Jane Urquhart, and Timothy Findley and four genres of postmodernist fiction: historiographic metafiction, magic realism, parodic mythic, and photographic co-optation.
The portrayal of some symbols, like pigeon, smoke, lantern and fire, draws attention to the significance of magic realism in Indian philosophy.
In his essay, Shklovsky deals mainly with Tolstoy: calling him a precursor of magic realism would mean overstretching the term, but the title character (and part-time narrator) in his Kholstomer, a horse who looks with wondrous eyes at human doings, illustrates a crucial aspect of Roh's magischer Realismus.
Drop "myth" in the conversation, and Ben Okri's association with magic realism instantly arises.