Essay on Magical Realism

Essay on Magical Realism

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Magical Realism


The idea of a genre of art that is called magical realism is less a trend than a tradition, an evolving genre that has its waxings and wanings, where each evolving form expresses an idea that may overlap another, yet at the same time branches off and creates something very different. What began in the visual arts has become a contemporary literary genre due to divergences. Contemporary Latin American writers of this mode include Alejo Carpentier, Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Octavio Paz, Pablo Neruda, and Majorie Agosin. At the same time there are many writers of the genre world wide, though every form may take one new meaning. The magical realist does not depend on the natural or physical laws or on the usual conception of the real in Western culture, and at the same time it uses these aspects to disrupt reality, to create a disproportionate view (Zamora 146-148). While the mode is one of disruption, a disruption within its own development is also present.

Magical Realism is a term that was created by Franz Roh, a Post-Expressionist painter who devised the term to described the return to Realism following Expressionism's more abstract style. Roh was praising Post-Expressionism's realistic, figural representation. Post-Expression moved to a renewed delight in real objects as it maintained and integrated the formal innovations and spiritual thrust of Expressionism, which had shown an exaggerated preference for fantastic, extraterrestrial, remote objects (Zamora 15). He wanted to indicate that mystery does not descend to the represented world, but rather hides and palpitates behind it, which anticipates the contemporary magical realists. Though, his initial perception of magical...


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...uperate the real; realities that have been obscured or erased by political and social injustice maybe reconstructed, a quality that is revealed in Isabel Allende's "The House of Spirits." With much about Alejo Carpentier already discussed it will just be noted here that his idea of "lo real maravilloso americano" uses what Amaryll Chanaday refers to as "territorialization of the imaginary"(Zamora 7). It becomes a new world phenomenon, an ever-changing phenomenon caught only at a point in time. Magical reality must be set in time though because it is necessary that it be an approach to history as well as literary genre because it supplies a historically resonant time and place, as the paragraphs above signify (Zamora 1-10).


Works Cited

Zamora, Lois Parkinson, and Wendy B. Faris. Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.

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