What comes to mind when one hears the word "magical"? He or she probably thinks of charms, spells, wizards, and disappearing doves. The term "Realism" may represent the everyday world-that with which we are already familiar. Could these two words ever be coupled together to represent one idea? Magical Realism represents the marriage of these two words. A name originally given to a new art form in the early twentieth century, Magical Realism evolved into a literary genre and now represents much more-an attitude, the window through which to view the world, a philosophy of life. By examining the history, theory, and evolution of Magical Realism, this term, seemingly an oxymoron, will make sense.
The term Magical Realism is thought by most critics to have originated in the early twentieth century as a new art form. Franz Roh, to whom we attribute having coined the term, describes this "new" art form in his 1925 article "Magical Realism: Post Expressionism." Roh defines Magical Realism through a chronological examination of artistic styles preceding this "new art." The two periods on which he focuses primarily are Impressionism and Expressionism. Impressionism, which preceded Expressionism, focused on the artists' desire to portray something that existed in reality. An artist may examine the texture, light, or the shapes of an object. The portrayal was simply a caricature of reality, with no significant meaning or stimulation other than the obvious, realistic qualities with which viewers were already familiar. Expressionism, in contrast, sought to portray something with a very deep meaning, refusing to portray reality because it was too mundane and familiar. Intelle...
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Chanady, Amaryll. "The Territorialization of the Imaginary in Latin America: Self-Affirmation and Resistance to Metropolitan Paradigms." Magical Realism: Theory, History,
Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris. Durham, N.C.: Duke UP, 1995: 125-144.
Flores, Angel. "Magical Realism in Spanish American Fiction." Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris.
Durham, N.C.: Duke UP, 1995: 109-117.
Leal, Luis. "Magical Realism in Spanish American Literature." Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris.
Durham, N.C.: Duke UP, 1995: 119-124.
Roh, Franz. "Magic Realism: Post-Expressionism." Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris.
Durham, N.C.: Duke UP,1995: 15-31.
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