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Magical Realism  

Last Updated: Jul 7, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Art: Sleeping Gypsy - Henri Rousseau

Magical realism was influenced by the European Surrealists of the first half of the Twentieth Century.

"The term [magic realism]  was originally used in the 1920s in art circles in Europe and America to describe a kind of realist painting less interested in representing the art object than in capturing its aura, as, for example, in the paintings of Henri Rousseau."  

Quinn, Edward. "magic realism." A Dictionary of Literary and Thematic Terms, Second Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006. Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 14 June 2016 

Henri Rousseau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Henri Rousseau 010

Magical Realism

Magical realism  is a literary movement that mixes reality with elements of magic to capture the essence of the experience.  

It explores the nature of reality through techniques such as non-linear time, the supernatural, exaggeration, imagery and the use of several narrators, demonstrating different points of view. It is particularly apt for describing the integration of the folklore and exotic landscape of Latin America with modern industrialized Western society; something might seem "magical" in one culture and realistic in another.

Key terms: magic, magical, supernatural, fantastic, marvelous



”... magic realism has deep roots in the real, because it grows out of the real and illuminates it in beautiful and unexpected ways, .." - Salman Rushdie. "Magic in Service of Truth : Gabriel García Márquez’s Work Was Rooted in the Real."  New York Times
"Surrealism runs through the streets. Surrealism comes from the reality of Latin America." Gabriel Garcia Marquez  interview in  The Atlantic .1973

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