Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 25

Thread: Magical Realism-What is it?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    122

    Magical Realism-What is it?

    I know not of many genres, Magical Realism being one of them.

    Why magical?

    Or, why is magical put next to realism? Is it supposed to be some manner of juxtaposition?

    Why not just categorize everything that has been categorized under magical realism under the genre of FANTASY, for fantasy is less an oxymoron and confusing term?

    I am truly confounded and hence, your help desperately I need.

    For explanatory precision, here are five guiding questions:

    1) Why is magical realism distinguished from surrealism, when both genres contain elements of unreality?

    2) As far I am able reason, every notion of unreality, magic especially, falls under the roof of fantasy; so how different is magical realism from fantasy to justify the differentiation between them?

    3) The term 'realism' implies that the genre of magical realism is very much rooted in reality. To justify this, however, we must establish or search for some sort of relationship link between the two genres; it is obvious that comparing a seminal work of magical realism and of extreme realism would be best. Example: Are there similar elements between One Hundred Years of Solitude and War and Peace? (Homogeneous elements lead to heterogeneous elements)

    4) What makes magical realism interesting compared to fantasy books like Lord of the Ring and Harry Potter?

    5) Every literary genre has its corresponding in visual arts. Are there example paintings that portray magical realism? If you know of any, do post it here, please.


    IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION: As of the current, I am reading One Hundred Years of Solitude; it is my first magical realism book; after reading the first 10 or so pages, it strikes me as a fantasy book written for children.

    Magical realism and children do not yield a result that is not paradoxical to the genre. ( Because the 'term magical realism' sounds deep)

    Hereby I end my verbalized wonder with a simple thank you to all who come here, bringing the candle of your thoughts.

    THANK YOU

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5,046
    Blog Entries
    16

    Thumbs up

    Here, read this.

    As for your questions (all of the answers should be mentally prefaced by me saying, "From what I've read, it seems..."):

    1. The surreal elements of are more subtle than full blown surrealism or absurdism. Usually the reader must decide for himself if what he read really happened, or if the narrator is just a nut. Midnight's Children is a good example.

    2. "Fantasy" connotes many things, usually including at least one of the following: medeival--or some other old-timey--setting (probably the most essential characteristic), swords, magic, dragons, different races (dwarves, elves, orca, etc.), etc. Magical realism will usually be set in modern times. The biggest difference, thought, is that while one can be questionable about what actually takes place in a magical realist novel (as in what is described to the reader) that usually isn't the case with fantasy; the dragons, magic, and orcs are real and perfectly suited to that world. One doesn't stop and ask, "Hmm, I wonder if he's really riding a dragon or just having a hallucination?" That "fitness" is not usually characteristic of magical realism, i.e., while dragons and magic won't seem odd in a fantasy novel, the magical elements in a magical realist novel will.

    3. Don't know, I've read neither.

    4. For the comparisons of genres, see answer to numbed 2. As to if you find it more interesting, that's up to you, no? Kind of a silly question, because it's just about personal taste.

    5. I don't know. I'm sure a member more familiar with visual arts like StLukes or Charles Darnay will be able to answer. Salvador Dali may fit into the magical realist genre, but he's more surreal than anything.

  3. #3
    Registered User Darcy88's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    1,963
    Blog Entries
    3
    I thought that in surrealism everything is bizarre and unreal, but in magical realism the context is normal but within that normality are incidents or facts that are individually bizarre and unreal.

    In fantasy the whole world is fantastic. In magical realism the world conforms to OUR conventions but fantastic things happen.

    Edit: Never mind. Mutatis just explained it all way better and more thoroughly than I did.

  4. #4
    archivist extraordinaire AlysonofBathe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    80
    I think the Wikipedia article is an excellent start. Just like all things in literary theory, there really is no strict definition, only loose guidelines. I've always viewed magical realism as a bit of a hybrid, and while that juxtaposition can seem contradictory, done well it can be beautifully ambiguous.

    I'd recommend Salman Rushdie; most of his books have an element of magical realism.

    Cheers,
    Alyson
    Alyson of Bathe's feeble attempt at completing the 1001 books challenge. You would think a former English major would have a better start than this. For the Reading.

  5. #5
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    6,358
    If you want our thoughts, first give us your impression. I am not a homework machine.

  6. #6
    Registered User Darcy88's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    1,963
    Blog Entries
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    If you want our thoughts, first give us your impression. I am not a homework machine.
    Never even occurred to me that it was a homework assignment. For the love of humanity I hope those are not verbatim the actual questions the member was assigned.

  7. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5,046
    Blog Entries
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    If you want our thoughts, first give us your impression. I am not a homework machine.
    If he asked this question because it was a homework assignment, I will be thoroughly pissed for giving such an answer. Upon rereading the questions, they dint sound like homework question but genuine curiosity.

  8. #8
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    trapped in a prologue.
    Posts
    2,383
    Blog Entries
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by AlysonofBathe View Post
    Just like all things in literary theory, there really is no strict definition, only loose guidelines.
    Just so.

    Works like Rushdie's "Huron and the Sea of Stories" is a literal blend of reality and fantasy, where works by Allende for example are heightened reality, where the "magic realism" comes through the writing more than the content.

    Then you have writers like Italo Calvino, who utilize both extremes of "magic realism." In fact, I think if you want an understanding of "magic realism" read Invisible Cities....or just read Invisible Cities anyway, because it is one of the best books ever written.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  9. #9
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    trapped in a prologue.
    Posts
    2,383
    Blog Entries
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by Mutatis-Mutandi View Post
    If he asked this question because it was a homework assignment, I will be thoroughly pissed for giving such an answer. Upon rereading the questions, they dint sound like homework question but genuine curiosity.
    Isn't it said that this is what it's come to?

    But given this poster's history, I side with you on genuine curiosity.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Darnay View Post
    Isn't it said that this is what it's come to?

    But given this poster's history, I side with you on genuine curiosity.
    It is a genuine curiosity; it has nothing to do with homework. I happened to pick up One Hundred Years of Solitude two days ago at a bookstore because it was cheap.

    I did check Wikipedia, but I need an analogy.

    Thank you again.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    3,279
    Magic Realism is an irony. Unlike Surrealism which was a proposal of perception change or reality, the idea of Magic Realism (hardly a genre or a movement like Surrealism) is a language game with the realism of XIX century. The "Magical" is not always magical, sometimes just paradoxal ideas presented on the history. You may define it as fantasy (as it is by itself a undefinied genre, after all horror is fantasy) if you want, Calvino used fantastic.

    1 - Because they are not the same thing. Borges, one of the "founders" of magical realism never linked himself with surrealism and never considered psychological explanations inside someone mind as source of strangeness in the world. For him the universe was strange enough, more than it, reality (which he denied) was strange. More than this, magical realism was never a modernist movement (or sort of it)

    2 - Like I said, fantasy is a problematic sense. Guys like Borges and Marquez do not give a damn about genres, but insist that the line between fantasy and reality in literature is thin, so they care little.

    3 - Yes, Magical realism is written in realistc script. Marquez claimed that all he wrote was real, for example. The difference is that one (tolstoy) aimde the represent reality, Marquez to suggest reality.

    4 - Because, the questions proposed are more rich than just creating hyper fantasy which abuse of my patience with mundane magic. For example, Magic in Harry Potter is said to be rare, but it is present all the time. Compare it with a Man who never forgets anything. In Lord of the Rings the fictional reacreation of past mythologies is obviously very different from a world where everyone got blind.

    5 - Does it?

  12. #12
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    6,358
    magic in fantasy is taken to be actually a possibility. Magic in magical realism instead functions as metaphor. The distinction is, however, shaky at best.

  13. #13
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5,046
    Blog Entries
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    magic in fantasy is taken to be actually a possibility. Magic in magical realism instead functions as metaphor.
    I think that's pretty much what I said.
    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    The distinction is, however, shaky at best.
    I'm not sure it is. I've rarely read fantasy, a genre almost whose main purpose is almost always to purely entertain, and when a dragon shows up or a wizard casts a spell do I ponder the "deeper message" that may be trying to be sent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raven Falcon. View Post
    It is a genuine curiosity; it has nothing to do with homework. I happened to pick up One Hundred Years of Solitude two days ago at a bookstore because it was cheap.

    I did check Wikipedia, but I need an analogy.

    Thank you again.
    You're going to have to be clearer on what you want to know. What kind of analogy? You've received several answers as to what magical realism is, and good ones to boot. What more is there to explain?
    Last edited by Mutatis-Mutandis; 03-14-2012 at 07:50 AM.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    3,279
    The definition of fantasy is not settled. 1001 Nights, Alice in Wonderlands, Grimm's and all faery tales, Guilliver Travels, etc all can be called Fantasy. (The very idea that fantasy was something silly for kids and fun only was a XIX quest for realism and maturity, which Magic Realism denied; but then, the horror genre is a spawn of fantasy, the gothic genre, science fiction genre, even detective stories have roots on some fantasy tales).

    I do not agree with JBI definition. Borges is mainly an explorer of possibilities and Fantasy works massively with metaphors, allegories, etc. Not that magic is a prime element on Magic Realism, but the idea is not like fantasy suggests about another magical world, but rather than the real world as the authors of realism presented is also magic and a fantasy (Conrad suggests it for example, and he is one of the forefathers of magic realism).

  15. #15
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The USA... or thereabouts
    Posts
    6,076
    Blog Entries
    78
    The definition of fantasy is not settled. 1001 Nights, Alice in Wonderlands, Grimm's and all faery tales, Guilliver Travels, etc all can be called Fantasy. (The very idea that fantasy was something silly for kids and fun only was a XIX quest for realism and maturity, which Magic Realism denied; but then, the horror genre is a spawn of fantasy, the gothic genre, science fiction genre, even detective stories have roots on some fantasy tales).

    I quite agree with this. Beyond the obvious examples of "fantasy" one might also include books like The Odyssey, Gilgamesh, The Bible, The Aeneid, the Comedia, Orlando Furioso, The Shanameh, etc... I would also point out that it was not merely Magic Realism that rejected the notion that the fantastic or magical or unreal were something to be reserved for children (that Alice in Wonderland or the Arabian Nights were children's books) but I would also note that the rejection of realism and the employment of the fantastic were also elements of Surrealism, Expressionism (Hesse, Kafka, Bulgakov...) etc...

    If there is/was any "tyranny of the novel" (as JBI suggested) it might lie here in this emphasis upon realism... including the predominance of the literal and the avoidance of the figurative.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
    http://stlukesguild.tumblr.com/

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. The New Social Realism
    By WolfLarsen in forum General Writing
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 01-14-2012, 04:43 AM
  2. use of realism? help!!
    By twinkie in forum Frankenstein
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-09-2009, 08:20 AM
  3. magic realism in Things Fall Apart
    By roo in forum General Literature
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 06-15-2007, 10:53 PM
  4. Realism Effect In Movies
    By Maljackson in forum General Chat
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-10-2006, 04:20 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •