3.02.480 S Magic Realism in Literature from the Americas and Africa


  • Donnerstag: 08:00 - 10:00, wöchentlich


As a literary style, magic realism blossomed in Latin America after World War II and was popularized internationally from the 1960s onwards. Literary production, particularly from Latin America and the postcolonial Anglophone world has seen a steep rise in magical realist fiction; and magic realism became fashionable also with the reading public. Since the 1980s, however, magical realism – as a literary style as well as a concept in literary theory – has met with increasing criticism from scholars and writers alike. The claim of some of its critics that magical realism is dead, however, seems to be refuted by the continuous production of texts that are labelled magical realist by publishing agencies, reviewers and literary scholars.
In order to understand the theoretical and political debates surrounding magical realism, we will take a look at the style’s history, the cultural contexts in which magical realist fiction emerges and its literary-theoretical reception. The course is designed to familiarize students with the mode of magical realism, to differentiate it from related literary forms (the fantastic, the marvellous, etc.), and to contextualise it in terms of narrative theory. To complement these theoretical and methodological concerns, we will analyse magical realist novels and short stories from across and between the American and African continents that have found their way into what could be considered a canon of magical realist Anglophone writing. As magical realism is often credited with being a powerful decolonizing agent, we will place the form within the context of postcolonial (and postmodern) literary theory and investigate how it operates not only aesthetically but also politically.

The course starts on April 13th 2017.

Please get hold of and read the following three novels:

Castillo, Ana. So Far From God. ISBN: 978-0393326932
Okri, Ben. The Famished Road. ISBN: 978-0385425131
Mda, Zakes. The Heart of Redness. ISBN: 978-0312421748

All the novels cost around 15 € (paperback). Please buy/order the books soon as they might need some time to reach you. Check with the university bookshop CvO Bookshop, they might have some copies in stock! If you decide to use an e-book format, make sure to be able to bring your texts to class! We will follow the order as given above.



  • ang981 The Canon and the Margins
  • ang982 The Canon and the Margins
  • ang983 The Canon and the Margins


empfohlenes Fachsemester