Magical realism

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Magical realism is a literary term that has its roots in German art. We will look at the meaning of the term magical realism, its characteristics, where the term comes from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Magical realism is a literary term that describes stories in which magical or fantastic elements are woven into everyday life and accepted as a normal occurrence. In general, the characteristics of a literary work in the magical realism genre include a real world setting, fantastical elements and the seamless interweaving of these ordinary and non-ordinary elements. In magical realism narratives, time is often non-linear, the story usually has the feeling of a puzzle or being in a maze. The term magical realism was coined in Germany in the 1920s. An exhibition of pictures was mounted in Mannheim, Germany called Neue Sachlichkeit, which translates as New Objectivity or New Matter-of-Factness. When the show was reviewed by Frank Roth, he referred to the art as  Magischer Realismus which translates as Magic Realism. During the 1960s the term came to the forefront as it was used to describe a particular genre of writing coming out of South America, practiced by authors such as Gabriel García Márquez and Jorge Luis Borges. However, magical realism is often found in many other facets of literature such as Science Fiction and Romance. It is also found in film. Other terms for magical realism are magic realism and marvelous realism.


Inmates gave unofficial tours of a facility which, like many of the attractions in La Paz, fits with the Latin American idea of magical realism – a highly detailed, realistic setting invaded by something too strange to believe. (The Irish Times)

Filmmaker Raam Reddy, who received several international honours for his directorial venture Thithi, says his next film will be based on “magical realism” — a genre which has not been explored much in filmmaking. (The Hindustan Times)