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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 185

Alejo Carpentier is widely recognized as the creator of magical realism, a literary style that characterized Latin American literature in the 1960s and that many scholars trace to Kingdom of this World. In the prologue to this book, Carpentier used the term “lo real maravilloso,” or “the marvelous real.” Magical realists elevate magic to the status of reality by weaving elements of myths and folktales into everyday experiences to provide a cultural context for understanding events.

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Carpentier was a political writer who sympathized with the Haitians, as they suffered an assault on their culture during the period of Colonial rule. During their political struggle, the Haitian people clung to their native beliefs, beliefs that were largely based on superstition, voodoo, and magic. By weaving elements of magic into an historical account of events, Carpentier validates the Haitian culture and affirms the significance of the history and religion of the people. Amid political unrest and rebellion, Ti Noel escapes by returning to his roots and embracing his belief in mysticism. Thus, Carpentier affirms the power of mystical beliefs and blurs the distinction between mythology and history.

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