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Magical realism

Magical realism is an aesthetic style or genre in literature in which magical elements are blended into a
realistic atmosphere in order to access a deeper understanding of reality. These magical elements are
explained like normal occurrences that are presented in a straightforward manner which allows the "real"
and the "fantastic" to be accepted in the same stream of thought. It has been widely considered a literary
and visual art genre; creative fields that exhibit less significant signs of magic realism include film and
music.Magic realism is defined as "what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by
something 'too strange to believe.

Fantastical elements

As recently as 2008, magical realism in literature has been defined as "a kind of modern fiction in which
fabulous and fantastical events are included in a narrative that otherwise maintains the 'reliable' tone of
objective realistic report, designating a tendency of the modern novel to reach beyond the confines of
realism and draw upon the energies of fable, folk tale, and myth while maintaining a strong contemporary
social relevance. The fantastic attributes given to characters in such novels — levitation, flight, telepathy,
telekinesis — are among the means that magic realism adopts in order to encompass the often
phantasmagorical political realities of the 20th century.

Magical Realism

In a list of characteristics describing the two styles, Roh called Expressionism ecstatic in subject,
rhythmical, extravagant, dynamic, loud, hot, rough, and thick in texture; in contrast, the New Objectivity, or
Magic Realism, he deemed sober in choice of subject, representational, severe, static, quiet, cold,
smooth, and thin. But how could such a style be considered in any way magical? For Roh, the key was a
“reengagement” with the real, what Zamora and Faris [see below] say is a “renewed delight in real
objects,” the represented surface behind which magic, in Roh’s words, “hides and palpitates.” A statement
from 1936, by artist Grethe Jurgens, makes even clearer how this “new objectivity” can also be magical:
“It is the discovery of a totally new world. One paints pots and rubbish piles, and then suddenly sees
these things quite differently, as if one had never before seen a pot. One paints a landscape, trees,
houses, vehicles, and one sees the world anew. One discovers like a child an adventure-filled land.”

Magic Realism differ from fantasy

Magic Realism transcends literary realism by acknowledging the magic inherent in reality —a feat which,
Zamora and Faris admit, is “a simple matter of the most complicated sort.” “Magic” is perceived in the
ordinary. What one understands as the “real” is defamiliarized: it expands, shifts, transforms to juxtapose
elements normally considered opposites—life and death, waking and dreaming, civilized and wild, male
and female, mind and body. Magic Realism stretches the boundaries of realism in order to stretch the
definition of reality. Magic becomes ordinary, “admitted, accepted, and integrated into the rationality and
materiality of literary realism.” But, no matter how elastic that definition, Magic Realism stays grounded in
the phenomenal world, unlike fantasy, which is set in the unreal.

Magical realism often overlaps or is confused with other genres and movements.

 Postmodernism – Magical realism is often considered a subcategory of postmodern fiction due

to its challenge to hegemony and its use of techniques similar to those of other postmodernist texts,
such as the distortion of time.
 Surrealism – Many early magical realists such as Alejo Carpentier and Miguel Ángel
Asturias studied with the surrealists, and surrealism, as an international movement, influenced many
aspects of Latin American art. Surrealists, however, try to discover and portray that which is above or
superior to the “real” through the use of techniques such as automatic writing, hypnosis, and
dreaming. Magical realists, on the other hand, portray the real world itself as having marvelous
aspects inherent in it.
 Fantasy and Science fiction – Fantasy and science fiction novels, using strict definitions, portray
an alternate universe with its own set of rules and characteristics, however similar this universe is to
our world, or experiment with our world by suggesting how a new technology or political system might
affect our society. Magical realism, however, portrays the real world minus any definite set of rules.
Some critics who define the genres more broadly include magic realism as one of the fantasy genres.
The fantasy authorGene Wolfe sardonically defined magic realism as "fantasy written in Spanish."
 Slipstream – Slipstream describes fiction that falls between "mainstream" literature and the
fantasy and science fiction genres (the name itself is wordplay on the term "mainstream"). Where
science fiction and fantasy novels treat their fantastical elements as being very literal, real elements
of their world, slipstream usually explores these elements in a more surreal fashion, and delves more
into their satirical or metaphorical importance. Compared to magical realism the fantastical elements
of slipstream also tend to be more extravagant, and their existence is usually more jarring to their
comparative realities than that which is found in magic realism.
 McOndo – McOndo is a literary movement favored by several younger Latin American writers. It
seeks to distance itself from magic realism and the stereotypes about Latin literature that some
McOndo writers argue were perpetuated by magic realists and magic realism.
 Bizarro fiction - Bizarro is a genre of transgressive, often surreal literature. Bizarro literature
encompasses many writing styles, including magic realism.