Meaning of Magic Realism

What is Magic Realism:

Magical realism is an artistic trend that uses familiar objects and situations in unusual or magical ways to capture another type of reality.

The term magic realism was first coined by the German Franz Roh (1890-1965) in his article “Magic realism: post expressionism. Latest paint problems ”. In this context, Franz refers to magical realism in the field of postmodern painting where realism is mixed with visual effects.

Magical realism in literature was mentioned by Ángel Flores to define the emergence of a new style that was brewing in Latin America in the mid-twentieth century. In magical realism, reality is combined with magical situations and objects to show the absurdity of reality, time as a cyclical phenomenon and the valorization of the miraculous.

Magical realism differs from fantastic realism, being that the latter mixes reality with fantastic events such as, for example, the work The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1883-1924).

In turn, it differs from the marvelous realism that is sustained by indigenous and African roots, incorporating mythological and spiritual aspects of colonial culture.

Representatives of magical realism

Magical realism develops strongly in Spanish America. Some of the authors along with their most representative works of magical realism are:

  • Colombian Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014) with One hundred years of loneliness
  • Argentine Julio Cortázar (1914-1984) with Hopscotch
  • Chilean Isabel Allende (1942-) with The House of Spirits
  • Mexican Juan Rulfo (1917-1986) with Pedro Páramo
  • Argentine Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) with The Aleph

Characteristics of magic realism

Magical realism is characterized by fusing the narrative reality of everyday and familiar objects and situations with unusual aspects that show magical properties.

In turn, magical realism conceives time in a cyclical way and its prose is clear and precise. The historical is belittled by showing the absurdity of reality embracing the fantastic in life.

It is situated at the peak of Latin American literature in the 1960s and 1970s, combining the superstitions of native peoples with the political dictatorships that emerged in this period.

Historical context of magical realism

Magical realism emerges as an innovative literary energy that collects the forgotten traditions of the 19th century in a postcolonial culture of resistance to current political and cultural structures.

In the second half of the 19th century, the artistic currents known as realism and naturalism emerged, characterized by representing reality and human behavior through a real and objective image of it. These currents emerge as a critique of the predominant Romanticism.

See also:

  • Realism.
  • Naturalism.
  • Romanticism.

As a countercurrent of Realism and naturalism, modernism emerged at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, whose position calls for discarding the old to modernize thought, art and literature.

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