Magical realism


Over time, a series of different currents have emerged within the field of literature through which writers can express their ideas , thoughts and feelings . The magic realism is one of these forms of writing that seeks above all to show everything that is connected with magic or with unreal an everyday and normal. It is a way of being able to express and awaken a series of emotions before reality.


What is magical realism?


Magical realism is a genre of literature through which it is sought to represent the real world as if it had a magical and fantasy background , so that the world is still real but is full of fantastic elements.



The main characteristics that can be observed and found within magical realism are the following:

  • All novels written in magical realism contain a setting in the normal world which also happens to be familiar to the person who reads.
  • It has magical elements that can include talking objects or deceased characters.
  • His stories also have fantastic elements that could not occur in the natural world, however, they are seen as normal within the writing.
  • The authors deliberately do not explain the magic of the story in order to make it look normal.
  • Magic realism has an implicit critique of society , politics and the elite .
  • Its structure of arguments is considered unique because it does not follow any type of typical narrative arc which usually have a fairly clear beginning, middle and end.
  • It produces a feeling of great intensity in the reader since he is not sure how the plot will advance or when the conflict that is presented can be stopped.
  • Writers use and are inspired by modern, ancient or religious myths .
  • In this type of writing, time is not something that can be predicted and it is not reliable, it can repeat itself, zigzag or simply stop.


Magical realism originated in 1925 thanks to Franz Roh , an artist and critic of German origin who used the term to describe a form of painting that existed at the time which was used to represent a series of enigmas of reality. . With the passage of time, the genre was gaining popularity in South America with the rise of marvelous realism .

Later, in 1955 , Ángel Flores , a literary critic , adopted the term magical realism and named Jorge Luis Borges , an author of Argentine origin, as the first writer of the genre , based on a series of stories that had been written by Borges. .

Magic realism in painting

In the field of painting , magical realism was responsible for representing the mundane life of human beings and trying to reveal the inner mystery of man. He gave deeper meanings to the works and looked for a way to reveal secrets. It was characterized by smooth photographic clarity and also reflected the strangeness in a more modern world without neglecting all the fantastic and magical theme .

Magic realism in literature

In literature , magical realism is a way of telling stories or events focusing more on the strange and the peculiar , but at the same time seen from an everyday point of view, as something that happens very normally . It is a narrative that is based on the observation that the author makes about the reality in which a series of peculiarities and very different and rare things that are seen as normal may appear.

Magic realism in Latin America

It was around the 1940s when the term magical realism made its appearance in Latin America thanks to Arturo Uslar Pietri, a Venezuelan author who used the concept to refer to his writings. Alejo Carpentier published in 1949, a book which he described as “wonderful real” and in this way, it was established that in the American continent there was a great mystery, a natural magical essence due to its great history , mythology , beliefs and wealth. .

In the 60s and 70s, magical realism took on great importance and the first books began to be written when reality and fantasy began to mix and managed to reach many important levels. It was Ángel Flores who had in his hands the popularization of magical realism thanks to his book called ” Magic Realism in Spanish American Fiction “, a book with which he marked the characteristics of the genre.

In this way, many authors began to give more importance and to write books using this trend. Was Gabriel García Márquez the maximum ambassador of the movement no doubt immortalizing the term throughout the entire continent.

Featured Authors

Among the main authors who have written using magical realism in their works, the following are mentioned:

  • Arturo Uslar Pietri who is considered the first author to use magical realism within literature.
  • Miguel Ángel Asturias , a writer of Guatemalan origin who even won a Novel Prize in 1967, also considered one of the most important precursors of the movement.
  • José de la Cuadra , the best exponent of magical realism in Ecuador who managed to maximize and expose all his talent.
  • Wenceslao Fernández Flores , a Spanish author who always showed in his works the situation of the peasant in society and was concerned with showing and defending the rural environment.
  • Alejo Carpentier , an author of Cuban origin who had a great influence on the movement.
  • Juan Rulfo who wrote one of the best novels in universal literature using magical realism.
  • Jorge Luis Borges , a name that cannot be missed as he was widely recognized worldwide for his work, his stories and his poems. Also considered as the best writer of the twentieth century thanks to magical realism and fantastic literature. In his stories and texts, he invites the author to reflect on a series of metaphysical themes, to investigate elements of the dream world, dreams and destiny.
  • Julio Cortázar , an author from Argentina who offered works full of innocence and magical realism. His writings were always full of surreal situations and elements full of fantasy to create a worldly reality close to man, captivating and exciting the reader at all times.

Examples of works

There are actually many works that have been written over time using the genre of magical realism. However, there are some of them that stand out and were even forerunners for the genre. Among the most important are the following:

  • Bestisario written by Julio Cortázar
  • The Rain by Arturo Uslar Pietri
  • The President by Miguel Ángel Asturias
  • The kingdom of this world by Alejo Carpentier
  • The war at the end of the world , a book written by Mario Vargas Llosa
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most important and recognized books of his entire career.
  • Chronicle of an announced death also written by García Márquez
  • Like water for chocolate by the author Laura Esquivel.

Leave a Comment