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Varieties of Magic Realism

(Ediciones Nuevos Espacios/Academic Press ENE, 2007)

Jorge Luis Borges and Zlotchew in 1985
Hidden Reality

The term "Magic Realism" (or "Magical Realism") has been used with great frequency from the second half of the 20th-Century to the present, especially with reference to contemporary Latin American literature, yet it is not always clear exactly what is meant by this designation. The term “Magic Realism” is often confused with fantasy, the uncanny, the marvelous, the supernatural, and surrealism.

Opinions on what Magic Realism actually is are so polarized that some Latin American critics consider that Magic Realism in Latin America begins with the first short story of Jorge Luis Borges, while other critics claim that Borges cannot even be considered a Magic Realist.

The Introduction to this book provides a historical overview of this mode of writing (and painting), then defines the literary modes often confused with it, and offers some current opinions on what a definition of Magic Realism should or might be.

The ten chapters that follow the Introduction present an analysis of works by writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes, Julio Ricci, Antonio Brailovsky and Enrique Jaramillo Levi, in an attempt to illustrate the manner in which some Latin American authors create their own brand of Magic Realism.

Introduction: Toward a Definition of Magic Realism
Chapter 1 Borges: Man as Instrument

Chapter 2 Borges: Magic Realism in Real Life
Chapter 3 Borges and the French "New Novel": Fiction Wrapped in Fiction
Chapter 4: Borges and the French "New Novel": The Unmediated Experience

Chapter 5: Borges and the French "New Novel": The Reader as Accomplice
Chapter 6: Carlos Fuentes' Aura: Magic, Sex and Destiny
Chapter 7: Julio Ricci: Time Transmuted Into Space

Chapter 8: Julio Ricci: Return to Eden
Chapter 9: Antonio Brailovsky: Beneath the Surface of Reality
Chapter 10: Enrique Jaramillo Levi: Magical Metaphors of Literary Creativity