The Theory, History, and Development of Magical Realism

Magical realism is more a literary mode than a distinguishable genre and it aims to seize the paradox of the union of opposites such as time and timelessness, life and death, dream and reality and the pre-colonial past and the post-industrial present. It is characterized by two conflicting perspectives. While accepting the rational view of reality, it also considers the supernatural as a part of reality. The setting in a magical realist text is a normal world with authentic human characters. It is not at all fantastic or unreal; it is a mode of narration that discovers the natural in the supernatural and supernatural in the natural. It is a mode in which the real and the fantastic and the natural and the supernatural are more or less equivalently and coherently represented.
The term “magical realism” was first used by Novalis, the German poet and philosopher in 1798 to refer to a “true prophet” or an “isolated being” who cannot be bound by ordinary human limitations. According to Novalis, this prophet should be referred to as a “magical idealist” or a ‘magical realist”.1 He talks about the miraculous truth that is the quintessence of contemporary magical realism.
Novalis’ concept of “magical realism” could not be developed further. However, in 1925 the term was again used by Franz Roh, another German and an art critic, to refer to paintings that demonstrate an altered reality. With reference to magical realism he writes:
We recognize this world, although now - not only because we have emerged from a dream - we look on it with new eyes . . . In contrast, we are offered a new style that is thoroughly of this world, that celebrates the mundane. . . But considered carefully, this new world of objects is still alien to the cur...

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... hybridity of eastern and western culture is visibly prominent in this novel. There is the combination of fantasy and fact, and magic and realism in Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s The Ghost of Gosain Bagan(2008) which has been translated into English from the original Bengali by Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee. The fantasy-world of talking- ghosts such as Nidhiram and the nasal- tone- ghost along with dreams and fantastic sequences that the text re-invigorates also tell about the miserable condition of Burun, a child which is quite realistic.

Works Cited

Allende, Isabel. House of the Spirits. Trans. Magda Bogin. NewYork: Bantam,
1986. Print.
“Arturo Uslar Pietri”. Literature Essays. n. d. Web. 22 Sept. 2012.
Carpentier, Alejo. “ On the Marvelous Real in America” 1949. Magical Realism:
Theory, History, Community. Eds. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B.

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