Magical Realism: History and Theory

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Magical Realism: History and Theory Magical Realism to me is the world's view of literature and art combined. It has a vast amount of characteristics that most, if not all, Magical realist fiction shares. Magical Realism has a lot of content to be studied in order to fully understand it. The term magical realism was first introduced by Franz Roh in 1925. He was a German art critic who started the idea of magical realism when he saw a new direction in painting. He used the term to characterize his paintings. Franz Roh states, "We look on it with new eyes"(17). To me, this statement is saying that we look on the world with a different approach. There is magical realism in everything we do. Literature and art are two main topics magical realism occurs in often. If studied thoroughly, we realize that there is magical realism in our lives everyday. Many articles have the main definition of magical realism stated in them. These articles are by Franz Roh, Angel Flores, Luis Leal, Amaryll Chanady, and Scott Simpkins. Most of the information in these articles is repetition from the articles however, they still include important information and feedback about each authors' views on the term. One of my favorite texts that we read was the article by Luis Leal. Leal which states, that magical realism is to express emotions, not to evoke them(121). Leal disagrees with many authors. Leal says that he does not believe magical realism was started by Borges in 1935(120). There are many added characteristics of magical realism. Some of these characteristics are to express emotions, do not use dream motifs, innocence has no logical or physiological explanation, and feelings are unexplainable. Magical Realism differs from fantasy because it is set in a normal world with descriptions of humans and society. Luis Leal states, "Strange how people are under the impression that making a bed is exactly the same as making bed, that to shake hands is always the same as shaking hands, that opening a can of sardines is to open the same can of sardines"(121). Everything is an exception. In Franz Roh's discusses many characteristics of magical realism in paintings.. "Both kinds of miniaturist paintings, the one that reconciles is to the world and the one that tries to horrify us"(qtd.in Roh 29). The way I view the world through art is a big characteristic to magical realism myself.
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