Magical realism

Many authors and critics say that magic exists in the history and heritage of Latin America and that they don't have to search outside the culture to find events and fantastic things. Magical realism is a vehicle to advance the diversity of Latin America, indigenous roots, and pre-Columbian history today. It seems that one of the main functions of magical realism in Latin society is to create a national identity.

Contextual analysis

In the midst of this process the critics know new names: Miguel Angel Asturias, Alejo Carpentier, Jorge Luis Borges and Juan Rulfo among others. In the Decade of the 60 writers Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez make their appearance, and consolidate Latin American literature in the cultural world. His literary contributions are related to the elements of originality that offers magical realism.
The emergence of the term magic realism is located between the years 1920-1930 and is attributed to criticism at the time of defining the work of German painters of the postwar period. The subject matter and the elements of the works of these artists, successors to the Postexpresionismo, were characterized by be imaginary, fantastic and unreal. Gradually, the new current was extended to other countries of Europe; The Netherlands, Italy and France, finally crossing the Atlantic and arriving in the United States.
To the 1940s the Museum of modern art in New York offered the realistic and American magical realists exhibition. In that same decade is when critics of literature use the name of magic realism to define the narrative style of some authors.


Asturias, Miguel Ángel (1899-1974), author, diplomat and Guatemalan Nobel Laureate, born in Guatemala City. He studied law at universities in your country and anthropology at the Sorbonne in Paris, city in which was influenced by the French surrealist poet André Breton. In 1942 he was elected Deputy in his country and, from 1946, was Ambassador to Mexico, Argentina and El Salvador, until, in 1954, he was exiled from Guatemala. Later, he was Ambassador to France between 1966 and 1970. His poems and novels, strongly anti-imperialist content, were worth to him the Lenin peace prize in 1966 and the Nobel Prize for literature in 1967. Death befell him, after a painful illness, in 1974, when he was in Madrid.
In his work, as in the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier, the myth is present, but unlike the Cuban, organizes his novels around the pre-Columbian myths.
Her first book, legends of Guatemala (1930) is a collection of stories and Mayan legends.
The novel which gave him international fame is El Señor Presidente (1946) in which draws the portrait of a dictator in a way caricatured and grotesque, but following a structure governed by the struggle between the forces of light (the good, the people) and the forces of darkness (evil, dictator).
It is also a militant protest book dedicated to the description of a dictatorial regime in terms of terror, evil and death. In the four chains of episodes that comprise the plot dominated by fear and cruelty. This mythic theme reappears in men of maize (1949) but now light is represented by indigenous peoples and darkness by the men of corn, settlers coming to exploit the lands of farmers own. In this work, Asturias managed to harmoniously combine the mitico-maravilloso with the harsh reality of Indian life. He later wrote novels and stories, notably the trilogy formed by strong wind (1950), the Green Pope (1954) and the eyes of the buried (1960). Other novels are such mulatto (1963), Malandron (1969) and Dolores (1972) Friday. His theatrical production is little known and it is more or less the same issues, as blackmail or Dyke dry both from 1964. His novel strong wind was cited in the speech's delivery of the Nobel Prize, which was awarded by "its written colorful deeply rooted in national individuality and the indigenous traditions of America".

Magical realism and Latin America

In the literature, magic realism is a genre in which the author combines fabulous and fantastic elements with the real world, creating a balance between a magical atmosphere and everyday life, in breach of the borders between the real and the unreal, placing each one of these instead of the other.
Magical realism presents the real thing as wonderful and vice versa, to pose as a common event, both for the reader and for the characters of the play, scenes and fantastic facts, while giving at the same time a character fantastic and unreal acts of ordinary life.
Since the mid-20th century, the Latin American narrative extends its perspective beyond nature, indigenous and other common themes of the realistic novel. Cultural and political revolutions a broad attachment to superstition, autoritaristas and other local processes regimes were combined with the European avant-garde, psychoanalysis and the main concerns around the world about the problems of human and existential, offering an ideal setting to promote magic realism in literature to the Latin American boom, turning it into a path towards the consolidation of a regional identity.
There are a lot of perspectives on the definition of magic realism. Magical realism comes to obfuscate, delete and joined the borders between mind and body, the spirit and materially, life and death, the real and the imaginary, the I and the others and the man and woman.
This is what we mean when we say that magical realism is a political tool in Latin American literature.
In Latin American literature occupies a paramount position. With the production of authors such as Onneti, Borges and Rulfo, part of this promotion of authors of high quality who wrote their texts in the 1920s, thirty, forty, fifty, and laid the foundations for the great development of later Latin American narrative. Specifically, I think that Asturias, on the one hand, managed with great skill the real wonderful, mostly men of corn, and on the other hand, assimilated the influences of the avant-garde, especially surrealism. And all this merged with the great theoretical and practical knowledge that had of Guatemala, most his fertile imagination, and prepared a synthesis which resulted with those ingredients fundamental works in the development of the narrative of Latin America. In the case of Guatemala, not is it could talk about Guatemalan literature without mentioning of Asturias. It doesn't mean esto that Guatemalan unique value figure, but it is more universal figure, not only by the quality of his work, but for the variety of genres that produced. It was at the same time, novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, and that already gives us a fairly complete picture, and in all aspects managed high quality products. Internally in our country, the production of Asturias was as a milestone and a momentum that, understandably, in some authors spawned a kind of imitation negative. Some authors are dedicated to writing as Asturias.
Asturias attached much importance to issues, themes and characters of local character. He is considered local. Men of corn and legends of Guatemala, have peculiar traits of Guatemalan popular culture and, in general, of the national life, factors necessary to explain the development of Guatemala and the development of our lyrics.
Another axis is that of the great importance attached by Asturias to the popular elements: characters, environments, ways of life, of what we call folklore or, more aptly, traditional popular culture. It shows great sensitivity towards the man, especially towards the Guatemalan man, its great sensitivity towards the man from Guatemala.
And thirdly, if not in all his works, in a good number of them, have managed to overcome the literature merely compromise and having achieved a corpus which sets out the social problems of Guatemala. The President is a work which is still existing. A work of permanent value.

The Lord President of Miguel A. Asturias.

Description of the work: the work is dense and with a remarkable stylistic richness and lexical of the author, the profuse use of localisms makes difficult reading at times - even at the end included a glossary of terms. Narration aims at the description and denunciation of the dictatorship of Estrada Cabrera, bloody Guatemalan dictator from the first half of the 20th century, and, by extension, of all the Latin American dictatorships: its arbitrariness, their trampling of human and civil rights, its specific abuses. The cast of characters that create the ability to fabuladora of Asturias goes from the President himself, paradigm of alcoholic waste and capricious, to the most despicable beggars, since that to its condition of physical hardship must add their disloyalty, non-existent moral integrity and aberrant neglect. The story is fascinating, and devastating which does not preclude Asturias sow the seed of fruitful magic realism back with this book. Prose and style come very close to the most sublime lyrical, with beautiful expressive finds. Metaphors and images are combined to surprise us almost in each line. Here are some examples of what you mention:
  • "...The Moon and out of the clouds floating niches. The street was running like a river of white bones under bridges for shade. At times erased everything, patina of ancient relic. At times he reappeared embossed in gold cotton..."
  • "...Dawn. Inaccessible Araucarias, cobwebs green to catch shooting stars. Clouds of first communion. "Foreign locomotives whistles..."
  • "...At sea they entered rivers as whiskers cat milk Cup. "Liquefied shaded by trees, horny alligators weight, glasses malarial fever, the ground crying, everything was going to give the sea..."
  • "...The train started slowly. A terroncito of alba is wet in the blue of the sea. The houses of straw from the village, the far mountains, miserable vessels of coastal trade and the building of the headquarters, box of matches with crickets dresses troop... were emerging from the shadows"
Recovered for educational purposes of: RENa

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