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Maggie Ann Bowers

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Maggie Ann Bowers is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth

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Magic(al) Realism (2004) 64 eksemplarer

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Magic(al) Realism by Maggie Ann Bowers is an interesting and informative introduction to the literary genre of Magic, or Magical, Realism, and all its complexities and vibrancy, at least circa 2004. I wish I’d had the chance to take more literary criticism courses during my academic career, but I was definitely reminded of my college days while reading through this thin, but dense, treatise. Genre always is difficult to define precisely, but I felt that Bowers tackled this dynamic topic in a deep yet accessible way, leaving me with a lot of things to consider.
All in all, Magic(al) Realism served to deepen my interest in this style and its permutations as Bowers delves into its origins, background, and evolution. As can be seen in the title, the genre is fuzzy and open to much debate. With the coining of the term “magic realism” to describe a new wave of anti-impressionist painting in Weimar Germany, a time of tension and uncertainty and no small amount of impending doom, I can certainly see parallels to today.

As Bowers discusses various luminaries and innovators of the field, spanning decades and following the development of the term from 1920s Europe to 1950s Latin America and across the world, we see the complex and contradicting layers of meaning in magical realism, and some of the uses writers, artists, and filmmakers have put it towards. Bowers describes various competing types arising around this seed over the decades, each with slightly different inflections and definitions. Are we talking about magic, magical, or marvelous realism? These easily blurred boundaries between literary genres always fascinate me as well, and her examination of where these genres bleed into each other and where they diverge was especially interesting.
While wrestling with the contradictions inherent in the genre in different ways, a common element that runs through many of these definitions is a tendency to challenge and transgress boundaries, including anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and gender, and this strikes me as a very important aspect to stress. The element of magical occurrences being treated in as matter-of-fact a manner as the more mundane events in the narrative serves, I think, as a great way to highlight the irrationalities of everyday life in general.

However, while there are mentions of science fiction, the fantastic, and children’s fantasy, the book could perhaps have used a little more material on its relation to more “popular” genres, such as urban fantasy. I feel that such looked down upon literature has, in recent years, become as infused with political and thought provoking themes as any “serious” fiction. As it was written more than fifteen years ago now, concluding with a chapter on the future of magical realism was especially interesting, with a concluding discussion of whether magic/magical realism was a passing literary fad or if the contradictory and escapist elements of the genre would render it less able to challenge injustice. Considering how the arguments and themes presented in Magic(al) Realism related to several recently published books that I read last year, books that, as I will describe, continue in these literary traditions of including magical happenings in a realist, matter of fact tone, I think the future of the genre is continuing to evolve. In any case, this will definitely inform my own attempts to use this style as well.

I discuss Magic(al) Realism and other books in my latest entry of Harris' Tome Corner, On the Edge of the Real,
… (mere)
Spoonbridge | 1 anden anmeldelse | Feb 21, 2020 |
A scholarly treatise on the genre of magical realism. Overall a good discussion, short and to the point, but with perhaps a bit too much dismissal of the existence of magical realism throughout history. I suspect this is a field that has long existed, but until it received a name, no one thought about it as a genre. And I do have a problem with a casual assumption that everything western is wrong, that science is somehow an illegitimate enterprise (yes, there have been bad things come out of science; science is done by humans. That does not invalidate all of science), and that magical thinking is tapping into a world that is more real than the inauthenticity of actual reality. I love magical realism as a genre; I don't take well to being told I have to believe it.… (mere)
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Devil_llama | 1 anden anmeldelse | Mar 10, 2017 |


½ 3.7

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