Magical Realism

Theory, History, Community

Magical Realism

Book Pages: 592 Illustrations: 11 illustrations Published: November 1995

Caribbean Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

Magical realism is often regarded as a regional trend, restricted to the Latin American writers who popularized it as a literary form. In this critical anthology, the first of its kind, editors Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris show magical realism to be an international movement with a wide-ranging history and a significant influence among the literatures of the world. In essays on texts by writers as diverse as Toni Morrison, Günter Grass, Salman Rushdie, Derek Walcott, Abe Kobo, Gabriel García Márquez, and many others, magical realism is examined as a worldwide phenomenon.
Presenting the first English translation of Franz Roh’s 1925 essay in which the term magical realism was coined, as well as Alejo Carpentier’s classic 1949 essay that introduced the concept of lo real maravilloso to the Americas, this anthology begins by tracing the foundations of magical realism from its origins in the art world to its current literary contexts. It offers a broad range of critical perspectives and theoretical approaches to this movement, as well as intensive analyses of various cultural traditions and individual texts from Eastern Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, the Caribbean, and Australia, in addition to those from Latin America. In situating magical realism within the expanse of literary and cultural history, this collection describes a mode of writing that has been a catalyst in the development of new regional literatures and a revitalizing force for more established narrative traditions—writing particularly alive in postcolonial contexts and a major component of postmodernist fiction.


Magical Realism brings exciting new perspectives to the study of Latin American literature.” — Robbin Fiddian , Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

“A fascinating read for any Hispanist, comparatist, or student of the magically real. [This work] is a useful reference tool. . . .” — Patricia Hart , World Literature Today

"This critical collection combines astute and graceful interpretations of well-known literary texts from the Americas while at the same time displaying a rich global understanding of the broad reach of magical realism. Fashioning subtle rethinkings of the magical realist movement, it will shape discussion of postmodern and postcolonial literary histories." — José David Saldívar, University of California, Berkeley

"Zamora and Faris persuasively support their claim that magical realism is not only—or even mainly—a Latin American phenomenon, as is usually thought, but a truly international development of the last half century or so and, a major, perhaps the major, component of postmodernist fiction." — Matei Calinescu, Indiana University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Lois Parkinson Zamora is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Houston.

Wendy B. Faris is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Texas, Arlington.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments x

Introduction: Daiquiri Birds and Flaubertian Parrot(ie)s/ Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris 1

1. Foundations

Magic Realism: Post-Expressionism 91925) / Franz Roh 15

Magic Realism, New Objectivity, and the Arts during the Weimar Republic / Irene Guenther 33

On the Marvelous Real in America (1949) / Alejo Carpentier 75

The Baroque and the Marvelous Real (1975) / Alejo Carpentier 89

Magical Realism in Spanish American Fiction (1955) / Angel Flores 109

Magical Realism in Spanish American Literature (1967) / Louis Leal 119

The Territorialization of the Imaginary in Latin America: Self-Affirmation and Resistance to Metropolitan Paradigms / Amaryl Chanady 125

Sources of Magic Realism/Supplements to Realism in Contemporary Latin American Literature / Scott Simpkins 145

II. Theory

Scheherazade's Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction / Wendy B. Faris 163

Magic Realism and Postmodernism: Decentering Privileged Centers / Theo L. D'haen 191

The Metamorphoses of Fictional Space: Magical Realism / Rawdon Wilson 209

The Textualization of the Reader in Magical Realist Fiction / Jon Thiem 235

Psychic Realism, Mythic Realism, Grotesque Realism: Variations on Magic Realism in Contemporary Literature in English / Jeanne Delbaere-Garant 249

III. History

Magical Realism, Compensatory Vision, and Felt History: Classical Realism Transformed in The White Hotel / John Burt Foster Jr. 267

Past-On Stories: History and the Magically Real, Morrison and Allende on Call / P. Gabrielle Foreman 285

Narrative Trickery and Performative Historiography: Fictional Representation of National Identity in Graham Swift, Peter Carey, and Mordecai Richler / Richard Todd 305

Saleem Fathered by Oskar: Midnight's Children, Magic Realism, and The Tin Drum / Patricia Merivale 329

Magical Archetypes: Midlife Miracles in The Satanic Verses / Steven F. Walker 347

Derek Walcott and Alejo Carpentier: Nature, History, and the Caribbean Writer / David Milkies 371

IV. Community

Magic Realism as Postcolonial Discourse / Stephen Slemon 407

Metoikoi and Magical Realism in the Maghrebian Narratives of Tahar ben Jelloun and Abdelkebir Khatibi / John Erickson 427

The Magic of Identity: Magic Realism in Modern Japanese Fiction / Susan J. Napier 451

Roads of "Exquisite Mysterious Muck": The Magical Journey through the City in William Kennedy's Ironweed, John Cheever's "The Enormous Radio," and Donald Barthelme's "City Life" 477

Magical Romance/Magical Realism: Ghosts in U.S. and Latin American Fiction / Lois Parkinson Zamora 497

Selected Bibliography 551

Contributors 559

Index 563
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1640-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1611-4
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