magic realism: real magic?

when the term MAGIC REALISM was first used in the class, it came along with a wave of curiosity. after a little bit of reading on this term i figured there is more to it than the meaning in itself.

“how can something that means undefinable be defined?” as i went further into this subject, the definition that made the most sense to the understanding of this complex structure was by the Mexican critic Luis Leal “If you can explain it, then it’s not magical realism.”

magic realism is connected through contrast and similarity both to various other concepts such as:

  1. realism: this is an attempt to create a depiction of actual life; a novel does not simply rely on what it presents but HOW it presents it. some examples are Fault in our stars, To kill a mocking bird, Dairy of a wimpy kid.
  2. surrealism: as we use this concept in painting or depictions, it mostly means creating something that has no possibility of existing. even though both the genres explore illogical aspects of humanity and existence, surrealism is mostly based on IMAGINATION. whereas, magic realism is based on a conscious state of mind believing the existence of unrealistic objects as a normal happening. surrealism is a one way term, magic realism is both ways.2016-08-31-PHOTO-00000284
  3. imaginary realism:this term was first used by Dutch painter Carel Willing. she expresses that imaginary realism strictly uses REAL things in an IMAGINARY scene. whereas, as we know magic realism uses unreal objects or personalities.
  4. fabulist: this genre mostly contains fables, parables, and Mr. Fox, Museum of the weird, etc.
  5. fantasy: Gene Wolfe said, “magic realism is fantasy written by people who speak Spanish”and Terry Pratchett said magic realism “is like a polite way of saying you write fantasy”. so within these definitions the difference can be understood.
  6. animist realism: this concept is mostly introduced in African literature. it is not much explained yet.
  7. science fiction: this can be better understood with help of an example.  Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is a novel that exemplifies the science fiction novel’s requirement of a “rational, physical explanation for any unusual occurrences”. Huxley, the novelist portrays a world where the population is highly controlled with mood enhancing drugs, which are controlled by the government. In this world, there is no link between copulation and reproduction. Humans are produced in giant test tubes, where chemical alterations during gestation determine their fates. Bowers argues that, “The science fiction narrative’s distinct difference from magical realism is that it is set in a world different from any known reality and its realism resides in the fact that we can recognize it as a possibility for our future.”


i will post a review on a book under a genre introduced in this blog next week. stay tuned!

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