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Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0822316404
ISBN-10: 0822316404
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

About the Author

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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (November 14, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822316404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822316404
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you agree that magical realism is a world-wide phenomenon, rather than a mode limited to Latin America, this is the text for you. It achieves a balance between the history and the critical application of magical realism, and it covers magical realist texts that are neither time- nor geography-bound. Best of all, it will lead you on a wonderful search for new works. While you might not agree that all the texts mentioned can actually be classified as "magical realism," you will learn how subjectively the term is appropriated in modern criticism. When you finish this book, you invariably have arrived at a much clearer definition of magical realism for your personal application of the term.
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Dr. Zamora was my professor at the University of Houston and this text is wonderfully anthologized to bring the reader into the world of magical realism. The world of magical realism is not questioned or fabricated, but co-existing with us. The boundaries of what is real and what is not is blurred. Texts that question the plausibility of events is not magical realism, rather it is fantasy. For instance, Harry Potter series is magical and wonderful in its tales but the world is oblivious to their existence. No one questions or wonders how it is possible that there is an old man with enormous wings, but instead wonder what he is, an angel or a man (Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings". This book is seminal in the introduction and collection of essays covering magical realism and why it chooses this message of delivery.

I am hooked on magical realism, or as Marquez terms it for himself "social realism", since it is fascinating that these postcolonial writers use magical realism to convey a history of blurred boundaries. I think many former colonized people will identify with the displacement they feel in being from neither here nor there, but from both here and there, a term known as hybridization.
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Not the most thoroughly-researched literary genre, this collection of academia and theory is much-needed and highly-appreciated as an important contribution to discourse in the field.
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