What is his theory on Magical Realism?I would like a brief summary that explains the theory

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pasquantonio | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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Magical realism isn't really a theory, but it's a method (or way) of writing.  The term magic realism, originally applied in the 1920s to a school of painters but was later applied to prose fiction.  These writers interweave, in an ever-shifting pattern, a sharply etched realism in representing ordinary events and descriptive details together with fantastic and dreamlike elements, as well as with materials derived from myth and fairy tales.

The novels (and their authors) violate, in various ways, standard novelistic expectations by drastic -- and sometimes highly effective -- experiments with subject matter, form, style, temporal sequence, and fusions of the everyday, the fantastic, the mythical, and the nightmarish, in renderings that blur traditional distinctions between what is serious or trivial, horrible or ludicrous, tragic or comic.

Probably the best known magical realist authors are Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges (Salman Rushdie plays a part, too).  The authors work the frame (or surface) of their novels/short stories to seem conventionally realistic, but then add contrasting elements like myth, dream, fantasy or the supernatural to invade the realism and change the frame. 

There are four key components to this (taken from my lecture notes):

  1. Converting the mundane
  2. Introduce unusual events (For example, Garcia Marquez typically suggests that something will happen before it happens)
  3. Creation of myths from history
  4. Extrapolations from reality

I'm not sure what you're reading, but I like to use "A Very Old Man With Enormous Rings" and "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" as in-class examples.


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