We explain what magical realism was and what its characteristics are. Who are its main representatives and more.
What is magical realism?
Magical realism is an artistic and literary movement that originated in Germany in 1925 . The term was introduced in literature from Latin America by Venezuelan writer Arturo Uslar Pietri. In 1949, the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier formally adopted the concept of “the marvelous reality” through his novel De él The kingdom of this world.
Magical realism is defined by telling real events but also including wonderful or unreal issues that the characters perceive in a natural and everyday way. The main characteristic of magical realism is the alteration of reality with fantastic actions , which are narrated in a realistic way, assuming the acceptance of these facts as real and true, both for the protagonists and for the reader. It narrates the unreal as something everyday and that particularity differentiates it from the fantastic genre in which the story itself breaks with known reality.
The movement arose in a social context characterized by civil wars , great social differences and the search for independence, and it turned out to be a way of creating beauty and magic in the midst of widespread unease. The rise of the movement lasted even during the period of the Latin American boom between 1960 and 1970.
Some of its exponents are Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Laura Esquivel, Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar.
Characteristics of magical realism
In general, magical realism is characterized by:
- The narration of fantastic and irrational events in a realistic context, which the narrator and the characters perceive naturally.
- The naturalness or normality of certain phenomena, which is not the same as replacing reality with a fantastic world.
- The influence of psychoanalysis and the surrealist movement that emphasize dreams and the unconscious.
- The distortion in the timeline of the story, that is, the events do not always occur chronologically, maintaining a clear structure of beginning, middle and end.
- The rejection of objective reality and Romanticism that prevailed until the mid-nineteenth century.
- The implicit criticism of politics and the social elite, especially US imperialism .
- It is also known as wonderful realism and is a way of questioning the nature of reality. It combines stories and fantasies to reveal aspects of society and human nature.
- The writer Jorge Luis Borges who is considered the main representative in laying the foundations of magical realism in Latin America, followed by Isabel Allende, Juan Rulfo, Miguel Ángel Asturias, Gabriel García Márquez, Elena Garro, Rómulo Gallegos, among others.
Main representatives and their works
Among the main representatives of magical realism stand out:
- Arturo Uslar Pietri (1906 – 2001). Venezuelan writer who was noted for his 1930 work The Rain and the Colored Spears .
- Carlos Fuentes (1928 – 2012). Mexican writer who was noted for his 1962 play Aura .
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927 – 2014). Colombian writer who was noted for the 1967 play One Hundred Years of Solitude .
- Isabel Allende (1942 – present). Chilean writer who was noted for her 1982 play The House of the Spirits .
- Jorge Luis Borges (1899 – 1986). Argentine writer who was noted for his 1949 work El Aleph .
- Juan Rulfo (1917 – 1986). Mexican writer who was noted for his 1955 work Pedro Páramo .
- Julio Cortazar (1914 – 1984). Argentine writer who was noted for his 1964 work Continuity of the Parks .
- Laura Esquivel (1950 – present). Mexican writer who was noted for her 1989 work Como agua para chocolate.
- Mario Vargas Llosa (1936 – present). Peruvian writer who was noted for his 1986 play La Chunga .
- Tony Morrison (1931-2019). American writer who was noted for her 1987 play Beloved .
Magical Realism in the World
Magical realism became an international trend and had repercussions in various countries, highlighting the problems of various cultures . International authors such as:
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- Abe Kobo, Japan (1924-1993).
- Alice Hoffman, United States (1952 – present).
- Angela Carter, United Kingdom (1940 – 1992).
- Günter Grass, Germany (1927 – 2015).
- Haruki Murakami, Japan (1949 – present).
- Italo Calvino, Italy (1923 – 1985).
- Kate Atkinson, UK (1951 – present).
- Mark Helprin, United States (1947 – present).
- Neil Gaiman, UK (1960 – present).
- Salman Rushdie, India (1947 – present).