The History, Theory, and Evolution of Magical Realism Essay

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The History, Theory, and Evolution of Magical Realism

What comes to mind when one hears the word "magical"? He or she probably thinks of charms, spells, wizards, and disappearing doves. The term "Realism" may represent the everyday world-that with which we are already familiar. Could these two words ever be coupled together to represent one idea? Magical Realism represents the marriage of these two words. A name originally given to a new art form in the early twentieth century, Magical Realism evolved into a literary genre and now represents much more-an attitude, the window through which to view the world, a philosophy of life. By examining the history, theory, and evolution of Magical Realism, this term, seemingly an
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This "new art," as Roh describes Magical Realism, sought to integrate the objects associated with this world (as Impressionism had done) and bring new meaning to them (as Expressionism had done, except with things not of this world). Roh writes that Expressionism seemed to have already "rejected the image of nature in favor of an exclusively spiritual world" (Roh 21). Magical Realism, Roh thought, was situated resolutely between extremes-between vague sensuality and highly structured schematics (23). Magical Realism, therefore, merged characteristics of Impressionism and Expressionism together to create this "new art." Magical Realism could bridge the gap and offer glorification of the mundane and natural world with intellectual depth and thought. Roh addresses the use of "magical" in Magical Realism, stating that "the mystery does not descend to the represented world, but rather hides and palpitates behind it" (Roh 16). Realism, therefore, could indeed be "magical."

Angel Flores, in his essay "Magical Realism in Spanish American Fiction," applies Roh's concept of art to literature. He describes the assimilation of Romantic and Realistic characteristics into Latin American literature of the early twentieth century. He states that "one can survey the works of one novelist after another with the same result: that in Latin America Romanticism and Realism seem bound together in one

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