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The Territory of the Real and The Flight of Magic: Magical Realism and Politics

Eva Aldea

The book’s greatness lies precisely in the fact that everything in it – not only events and scenes, but also symbols, visions, spells, omens and myths – is deeply rooted in the reality of Latin America.[1]

Mario Vargas Llosa’s pronouncements on what is arguably the defining text of the magical realist genre, Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, is echoed by the many approaches to the novel that consider the representation of history and politics as primary to the work. Indeed, magical realism as a genre is often considered a tool in the search for a distinctive and positive Latin American identity in the face of external ideas of what this identity should be, in particular through a return to the myths and stories of Latin America, whether they be native, colonial or modern. Magical realism is therefore seen as a political statement, even as a literary parallel to the Cuban Revolution. As the Cuban Revolution was the peak of a period of perceived decolonisation and liberation in Latin America, allowing a new freedom for writers, so One Hundred Years of Solitude was seen as central to the ‘liberation through language’ of the Latin American literary Boom of the late 1960s and the 70s.[2] While this period of optimism and liberation was short-lived in Latin America, the connection between magical realism and the politics of decolonisation and liberation has lived on as the genre has been taken up by writers all over the world.

An often quoted statement by arguably the most famous writer of magical realism in English Salman Rushdie, is indicative of the prevalent approach to the genre in anglophone literary studies:

‘magic realism… is a development out of Surrealism that expresses a genuinely ‘Third World’ consciousness. It deals with what Naipaul has called “half-made” societies, in which the impossibly old struggles with appallingly new…’.[3]

Rushdie’s proclamation of magical realism as a  ‘genuinely Third World consciousness’ exemplifies not only a globalisation of Vargas Llosa’s view of magical realism necessarily made by anglophone studies of the genre, but also its commonly held equation of magic-old, essentially native or colonized, and real-new, western and colonizer. Indeed, the genre’s internationalisation seems to have strengthened the political investment made by critics approaching it. The 2005 Companion to Magical Realism states ‘Magical realism is inherently political concerned [sic] not only with the continuing influence of empire in the postcolonial world but also with the corruption of political authority set up in postindependence nation-states, not to mention the attendant cultural politics that partake in the formulation of a plausible postcolonial national identity’.[4]

There are two central assumptions most commonly implied by such a view. The first is that the magical element is integral to the genre’s politics, as expressed by Wendy Faris in her book-length study of magical realism Ordinary Enchantments. She argues not only that the genre is ‘a narrative inscription [that] begins to transfer discursive power from colonizer to colonized’ but that novelists use ‘their magic against the established order’ and that ‘[this] use of magic often ultimately highlights the historical atrocities narrated in them’.[5] The second assumption is that the central manoeuvre of the genre that allows this particular de-colonising politics is, as expressed by Suzanne Baker in her article ‘Binarisms and Duality: Magical Realism and Postcolonialism’: ‘[magical realism’s] insistence on the co-existence of the magic and the real’. These assumptions allow a range of critics to suggest that the genre offers a literary model that successfully negotiates the opposing binaries of the postcolonial world, by expressing the hybridity of that world and the possibility of the equal and perhaps even peaceful co-existence of mutual exclusive cultural paradigms in its bringing together of the real and the magical. As Stephen Slemon says in his influential essay ‘Magical Realism as Postcolonial Discourse’, the genre is seen to ‘comprise a positive and liberating engagement with the codes of imperial history and its legacy of fragmentation and discontinuity’.[6]

Certainly not all postcolonial critics hold this view of magical realism as a successful political genre. However, despite levelling criticism at the idea of magical realism as a political genre following the basic formula implied by Rushdie, postcolonial critics have never suggested an alternative definition of magical realism. Rather, the genre has been either lauded or condemned on the basis of a fairly homogenous and simple view of its political alignment. It is indeed striking that there has not been a further re-think of the fundamental definitions of magical realism and its place within postcolonial studies. It appears that, as Michael Valdez Moses notes, despite the fact that this common idea of magical realism can easily be dismissed as exoticising and nostalgic for the pre-modern, and as holding an essentially Western perspective, writers of magical realism seem to encourage the ‘utopian hopes’ of those who ‘look to magical realism [...] for a radical alternative to the malaise they understand global modernity to be’.[7] What this article suggests is that the basic view of what the real and the magical represent in magical realism has to be rethought, beginning with a closer look at these components in the genre’s seminal novel. 

Critical approaches to One Hundred Years of Solitude follow a similar patter as those we have seen above. Zamora finds that it uses ‘fantastic events and characters to address the abuses of contemporary political and social institutions’ and myth to recreate history from a new perspective.[8] Porter suggests in his article ‘The Political Function of Fantasy on García Márquez’ that the fantastic mode of writing is similar to political polemics: both propose a revision of the world.[9] What these critics imply, along the lines of Rushdie’s formula for magical realism, is that the anti-realist elements of One Hundred Years of Solitude are also its anti-colonial elements, and therefore offer, by their very presence in the magical realist text, an alternative hybrid postcolonial vision. In fact, as with many postcolonial reading of magical realism, critics have substantially expanded the claims for the de-colonising subversive force of the magic in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Not only is the magical realism pioneered in García Márquez’s novel an appropriate fictional model for the Third World, but a comprehensive critique of the West: ‘Magical realism […] can be understood as a challenge not so much to conventions of literary realism as to basic assumptions of modern positivistic thought: a critique of the vanity of Western civilization and an undertaking of cultural relativity’.[10]

As mentioned, there have been voices criticising such a view of magical realism as a postcolonial political genre, including critics expressing unease with this approach to One Hundred Years of Solitude, and pointing to some paradoxes hidden in the common assumptions about the genre that the novel has come a model of. In fact, some critics point to the inherent disjunction between the novel’s historical and political content and a magic that challenges Western ideas of representation, meaning and truth. Graham Burns argues for a reading of One Hundred Years of Solitude where its magic stands for a kind of universal metaphysical insight. However, this leads him to dispute the possibility of any revolutionary message: ‘In the deepest reaches of his imagination, those in which the larger rhythms of the narrative are formed and his images of the final nature of life ratified, [García Márquez’s] fiction is not political in any usual sense of the word at all’.[11] In addition, the novel’s element of magic seems to negate not only any political message, but also themselves, through their own ambiguity, and here the mise-en-abyme end of One Hundred Years of Solitude poses a particular problem. Yet, as Williamson points out, the view that the novel presents an autarchic fictional world ‘creating through the act of narration special conditions of development and meaning which enable the fictive imagination to achieve a free-floating state of pure self-reference akin to the exhilarated innocence of children at play […] cannot explain the political and historical allusions in the novel’.[12] Higgins notes that ‘paradoxically, [García Márquez] attempts to translate reality into words while casting doubt on the feasibility of such an undertaking’.[13] In fact, despite many critics’ political wishes for the genre, there seems to be an underlying tension between the real and the magical in Garcia Marquez’s novel, casting doubt on not only on its but the whole genre’s suitability as an essentially de-colonising mode of writing.

One of the most noted qualities of One Hundred Years of Solitude is its matter-of-fact style, now almost universally seen as one of the defining characteristics of magical realism. Critics refer to the novel’s ‘deadpan’ or ‘neutral’ tone and its narrator that does not pass judgement, show surprise, or offer interpretations.[14] The other oft-quoted stylistic characteristic of One Hundred Years of Solitude is its richness of ethnographic detail, its ‘local colour’, which vividly conveys the lives of the inhabitants of Macondo.[15] This detail captures people’s everyday life, including mundane household chores, habits of dressing, eating and sleeping, and even bodily functions, but it also anchors One Hundred Years of Solitude in both geography and history, whether it is by describing the preparation of a local dish, the social conventions or the political machinations of the region: ‘With scrupulous fidelity, the narrative constructs a fictional reality that is recognisably costeño [of the coastal area in Colombia] in its historical, geographical, ethnological, social and cultural detail’.[16] These elements are absolutely central to the novel. Gene Bell-Villada points this out: ‘For all its fantastical exaggerations, and its natural or political catastrophes (those stereotypical Latin American experiences), the narrative centre of One Hundred Years of Solitude is its faithful and convincing account of the domestic routines and vicissitudes of the Buendía clan’.[17] In addition, ‘the public sphere in One Hundred Years of Solitude includes the social movements, the government actions, the technological changes (railroads, movies, telephones), and the ecological developments, and also those organised rituals such as wakes and group mourning, festive orgies and carnival, all of which affect Macondo life at every possible level and give the book its outer boundaries and broad shape’.[18]

If we define the realism of the magical realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude as precisely this matter-of-fact detailed narration, we can further see that it appears as a highly systematised order, where objects, animals and people belong to clearly demarcated spaces. The description of the Buendías’ house in the first chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude is typical of the novel. We are told that the house ‘had a small, well-lighted living room, a dining room in the shape of a terrace with gaily coloured flowers, two bedrooms, a courtyard with a gigantic chestnut tree, a well-kept garden, and a corral where goats, pigs, and hens lived in peaceful communion’.[19] This ordered  household is the centre of the ordered world of One Hundred Years of Solitude. The village of Macondo is divided into a series of locations: the Street of the Turks, the red light district, the river, the West Indian quarter. The village is itself firmly placed within a set of regional features: impenetrable mountains to the east, with the ancient city of Riohacha beyond, the swamps to the south, the sea to the west, and the jungle to the north.

Deleuze and Guattari tell us that such an order is a fundamental human condition: ‘The human being is a segmentary animal. Segmentarity is inherent to all the strata composing us. Dwelling, getting around, working, playing: life is spatially and socially segmented. The house is segmented according to its rooms’ assigned purposes; streets, according to the order of the city’.[20] In their A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari use a range of related terms to describe and analyse the organisation of human society according to this idea; it is variously described as segmented, stratified, striated or sedentary. Different modes of social organisation are segmentary to different degrees, some more ‘supple’, some more ‘rigid’. One social assemblage that is ‘exceptionally rigid’, whose segments are clearly delineated and fixed, is the State (TP 210–211). The space of One Hundred Years of Solitude conforms to what Deleuze and Guattari describe as space which is ‘striated, by walls, enclosures, roads between enclosures’ (TP 381). Striated space is measured in order to be occupied in a sedentary manner, and pieces of closed space are parcelled out to the people who inhabit it (TP 380). Tilled land is striated, as is that used for animal raising, and so are the lines of land used for commerce between village and town (TP 384). The State, say Deleuze and Guattari, is typified precisely by this kind of segmentation.

The action of segmenting space in this way is a process of territorialization, that is, dividing space into so many specific territories. The story of the settlement and development of Macondo is in many ways an example of how the State is the principle of territorialization that organises striated or sedentary space, in opposition to what Deleuze and Guattari call smooth or nomadic space. In smooth space, rather than land being measured out in packets to be settled, people are distributed in open, unmeasured space. This nomadic space is not segmented according to agricultural uses and there are no pre-established paths that guide movement of people or goods. In opposition to the territorializing action of the State upon land, the process creating nomadic space is deterritorialization. As an example of nomadic space, Deleuze often mentions the desert or sea, spaces without divisions, boundaries and fixed points, and in One Hundred Years of Solitude we can consider the jungle surrounding Macondo as such a smooth space. José Arcadio Buendía, as he leaves his home village, is confused by the jungle which lacks paths or reference points. However, as they settle, the Macondians create a new territory within the nomadic jungle, establishing a new State. While the nomadic jungle remains around them, they utilise it, as the State always does, only as a ‘means of communication in the service of striated space’ (TP 385).

From the moment José Arcadio Buendía founds Macondo by segmenting a piece of the smooth jungle-space, the Buendía family is the driving force behind the organisation of Macondo. As Deleuze and Guattari say, the family is a kind of ‘local representative’ of the State (TP 366) and indeed the Buendía family is a kind of mini-State: segmented, linear, and hierarchical. Úrsula is in many ways ‘ruler’ of the Buendía family-State: she organises the house, she connects the house to the outside village and world though commerce (selling little candy animals), she is the guardian of law and morality, and, perhaps most importantly, the edict against incest – which would spell the destruction of the rigid segmentarity of the family genealogy – issues from her.

The Buendía house is segmented according to the activities of growing crops and raising animals, that is, by the activities that characterise the State. Not long after its founding, Macondo begins trading with the outside world and becomes a destination for several waves of migrants, and in conformity with the State described in A Thousand Plateaus begins to capture flows: of population, of commodities and of money. Throughout its cycles of destruction and regeneration, Macondo, as the State, ‘never ceases to decompose, recompose and transform movement’ (TP 386). Indeed, while the chronology of One Hundred Years of Solitude has often been seen as circular, it is, in fact, a strictly linear affair. This is not to say that there is not an element of repetition in One Hundred Years of Solitude. However, rather than being a feature of cyclical time, this is typical of how the social machine of the State works: by continually capturing or territorializing flows. In fact, linear time is another aspect of the State as an organising principle for the novel. ‘History is always written from the sedentary point of view and in the name of a unitary State apparatus’ (TP 23), say Deleuze and Guattari. Just as State space is striated, State time is segmented into snapshots or successive moments in history, forming a linear series which moves inexorably from beginning to end. Each cycle of degeneration and renewal that the house and the village go through indicate a progression in time: we learn of a pianola, a gramophone, or a new bathroom in the house, and the introduction of the railway, automobiles and electricity in the village, as the novel clearly traces the progress of the early twentieth century. The history of the State, say Deleuze and Guattari, is always about segments and classes, rather than masses or the flows of people (TP 221). Thus any new arrivals in the village are quickly fitted into the State organisation, as merchants (the early new arrivals, the Arabs, the Turks), as labourers (the people that the Banana Company brings in), even as sanctioned marginals (the French matrons).

If the realism of magical realism, then, is writing that conforms to the territory of the State and is an ordered system, then the insertion of an element that does not conform to the order of that system has greater implications than merely undoing the realist form. Indeed, the magic in the One Hundred Years of Solitude and magical realism, as we have seen, seems to critics to imply great subversive potential. There is, interestingly, no precise definition of what the magic of One Hundred Years of Solitude and magical realism actually entails. There are, of course, famous episodes that are always quoted, but with little explanation as to exactly why these are magical. It is almost seen as a given that they are magical, that every reader perceives them as such. Examples are the trickle of blood that finds Úrsula across the village and Remedios the Beauty’s ascent to heaven, or the rain of flowers after José Arcadio’s death.

 It has been said that the narration in One Hundred Years of Solitude ‘eliminat[es] the barrier between objective and imaginary realities […] creating a total fictional universe’[21] and that it ‘fus[es] the real and the fantastic’.[22] However, statements asserting that the narrator stays composed in the face of events ‘that would seem to warrant a more aroused and partisan verbal statement’[23] surely suggest that the reader is actually surprised at this unperturbed treatment of events. Indeed, the critics’ insistent reaffirmation of the narrative neutrality, even when describing the magical, betrays the magic’s difference from and incongruity with this ‘credible’ narrative. The incongruity is there because the realism of magical realism is much more than just a matter-of-fact narrative. The realism and its systematic order sets up the world of One Hundred Years of Solitude as our world, not ‘Middle-earth’ or outer space. The same physical laws apply in Macondo as they do here and now, they just get – noticeably – broken. It is often said that the status of magic is equal to that of the real in magical realism because the characters perceive it to be real. This is not so either. Even if the Macondians believe that the magic is real in so far as it actually takes place, that it is no trick or illusion, the magic is not the same as everyday reality around them. Not everyone levitates in Macondo: it is not a rule of this world that humans fly. Similarly, not everyone is followed by butterflies, not everyone is clairvoyant, and not everyone becomes a ghost or ascends to heaven. While seen as ‘really happening’, these events surprise and elicit comment from the Macondians, who flock to see the magic flying carpets of the gypsies or to gawp at the miracle performed by the priest.

The first instance of magic in the novel is little Aureliano’s strange powers. At the age of three he went into the kitchen at the moment she [Úrsula] was taking a pot of boiling soup from the stove and putting it on a table. The child, perplexed, said from the doorway, ‘It’s going to spill.’ The pot was firmly placed in the centre of the table, but just as soon as the child made his announcement, it began an unmistakable movement towards the edge, as if impelled by some inner dynamism, and it fell and broke on the floor (OHYS 15).

Úrsula, witnessing the episode, is alarmed since it is not ‘normal’ or ‘natural’. In fact, the event does not fit with the domestic order of items with fixed places and functions. It is, literally, de-territorialized. Not only does the pot not stay put, it also momentarily loses its identity as an inanimate, domestic object, displaying an ‘inner dynamism’. The action of the pot also differs from the realist order of cause and effect and from the progression of linear time in the novel: there is no reason why Aureliano predicts the pot’s action and why it falls, and it is of no importance to the plot of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Indeed, the magical event occurs outside of the ordered system of the realism in the novel. Rather than ‘fusing’ with the real, the fantastic in One Hundred Years of Solitude, in fact, dramatically diverges from real, both in space and time and in its function as a sign in the text.

Many of the magic events in One Hundred Years of Solitude are premonitions and omens, events that appear significant, yet are strangely ineffectual and meaningless. Before Úrsula’s return to Macondo, an empty flask ‘became so heavy it could not be moved’ and ‘a pan of water on the worktable boiled without any fire under it for half an hour until it completely evaporated’ (OHYS 36), and before her death, and in the very last days of Macondo, orange disks are seen in the sky. None of these portents has any direct usefulness for anyone; they yield no practical information. Like Aureliano’s boiling pot they deterritorialized insofar they do not conform to the order of the real, but as signs they are also deterritorialized insofar they do not have a definable, referential meaning.

One of the famous instances of magic in the novel, the trickle of blood following José Arcadio Buendía’s death, immediately appears symbolic. Closer scrutiny reveals that read symbolically the event gives rise to a series of possible interpretations. The trickle came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlour, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta’s chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano José, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where Úrsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread (OHYS 135).

What this magic event does is to literally defy the ordered segments of the village, traversing several of them. Equally, as a sign, the magical event traverses several possible meanings: perhaps, that ultimately José Arcadio’s mother was to blame for his death by making him what he was, or that the ‘bad blood’ of his crimes affected the whole community, or perhaps, simply that his death hurt his mother more than it benefited anyone else. However, in itself, the trickle of blood does not signify anything, it has neither fixed territory nor fixed meaning.

Another often quoted magical event of One Hundred Years of Solitude embodies some of the most typical magical realist characteristics of the novel: the ascension of Remedios the Beauty. The narration is unwaveringly realist, it is neutral and unmoved by the events, and there is no explanation sought or provided. The episode is described using a wealth of detail and is anchored in the physical world: just before she takes off it is noted that Remedios is unusually pale; then we see, just as Úrsula does, ‘Remedios the Beauty waving good-bye in the midst of the flapping sheets that rose up with her, abandoning with her the environment of the beetles and the dahlias and passing through the air with her as four o’clock in the afternoon came to an end’ (OHYS 243). The details of the sheets, the garden, and even the time, all are all authenticating the scene, placing the magic in the midst of the segments of the Buendía house. The magic, however, does not belong to any of these segments. It diverges from the domestic details of the sheets and flowers, from the mundane activity of folding the washing, from the Buendías’s view of Remedios as a retard, from the detailed birth-to-death descriptions of the family members, and, finally, from the laws of nature.

Indeed, it is clear that Remedios does not fit into the segmented order of the State of Macondo: ‘Remedios the Beauty was not a creature of this world’ (OHYS 202). She resists the order of the State, rejecting the conventions of society in matters of clothing, as well as behaviour and education. She rejects the order of the family, turning down all her suitors. Remedios the Beauty resists the territorialization of the State through her flight into the heavens, but she also resists the various interpretations of her character and her departure from earth as symbols of innocence, virginity and solitude. Avril Bryan, considering the portrayal of the myth of virginity in One Hundred Years of Solitude, reads Remedios’s innocent purity as an antithesis to Amaranta’s twisted preservation of virginity, and Remedios’s ascension as the only way to keep the beauty and purity of the symbolic virgin: she never succumbs to her suitors, and she never ages.[24] Others have seen the passage as criticism of the religious dogma of the Virgin,[25] some stating that Remedios is a symbol of ‘the sterility of the concept of purity as a model for human conduct’.[26] She has also been seen as a symbol of the barren solitude of the Buendía women and, by extension, their class, in contrast to the fertility of the lower class, or ‘amoral’, women of Macondo.[27] Yet, in herself, Remedios seems to escape definition, just as she escapes the order of the world, she cannot be pinned down as a vehicle for any of these particular views, even as she in her flight traverses them all, like the trickle of Aureliano’s blood traverses several possible meanings.

The first conclusion that we must draw from this brief analysis of the real and the magical in One Hundred Years of Solitude using Deleuze and Guattai’s concepts of segmentation and territory, is that there is certainly no equivalence between the two in the text. The magic appears as radically different, divergent from the order of the realism. While the realism of the novel, as we have seen, in its order is indeed, as Vargas Llosa says,’deeply rooted in the reality of Latin America’, the magic, in its literal transgression and flight from this order, cannot be easily determined to hold any particular meaning. Rather it flees the socio-historical context that the realism constructs though its order, diverging from the shape of geographical Macondo, the progression of linear time and the order of causality.  It is the realism of the novel that in its very order and segmentary references the political, and by definition territorial, field. The magic, on the other hand, eludes and escapes such reference.

It is thus difficult to see how the magical episodes of the novel ‘address the abuses of contemporary political and social institutions’. While the trickle of blood or Remedio’s ascent seems to traverse a range of implied messages about class and gender, ultimately, they escape any particular political stance. In fact, the magical events only take on their contingent possible meanings by their resonance with the already existing realist contexts in the novel. Indeed, the most politically forthright episode of the novel, the banana company massacre, where the neo-colonial company machine-guns its striking workers and then covers up the event, is entirely realist. The second conclusion must then be, not that One Hundred Years of Solitude does not have a political content, for it certainly does, but rather that its magical elements are not instrumental to to content.

In fact, any attempt at reading a coherent political message into One Hundred Years of Solitude must revise the suggestion that the magic is a force for re-imagining national identity, for decolonisation or for any kind of political subversion. Gerald Martin provides a convincing political reading of the novel, but at the expense of its magic. Martin reads the Buendía family as a portrait of the ruling classes of Latin America whose magical world-view prevents them from understanding their involvement in their own history. However, ‘once the characters become able to interpret their own past, the author is able to end on an optimistic note. The apocalypse of the Buendías is not – how could it be – the end of Latin America but the end of neo-colonialism and its conscious or unconscious collaborators’.[28] Indeed, to Martin, magic is not even central to the novel: ‘seen in this light, the novel seems less concerned with any ‘magical’ reality than with the general effect of a colonial history upon individual relationships: hence the themes of circularity, irrationality, fatalism, isolation, superstition, fanaticism, corruption and violence’.[29] In fact, Martin’s political reading only works because it concentrates on the realism of the novel. Thus, while there may be political elements in García Márquez’s novel, one has to ask whether they are at all connected with the magic in the texts.

The contradiction lies in the fact that magic seems to break with the politically charged world that realism sets up in One Hundred Years of Solitude, thus appearing to be a ‘subversive force’ at the same time as failing to provide any politically useful rearticulation of that world. Williamson notes that the novel does not necessarily support an equation of magic with liberation, for ‘if one examines how magical realism actually functions in the narrative, it will become clear that there is an intimate connection between it and the degenerative process described in the novel; indeed magical realism can be shown to be a manifestation of the malaise that causes the decline of the Buendía family’.[30] If magic is seen as part of the world of Macondo, it is difficult to see it as a positive or subversive force; nor is it easy to classify it as a unique expression of a native or pre-colonial society. Regina Janes points out that the myths in the novel have little to do with the pre-colonial civilisation: ‘There is no pre-Colombian local history, no Tupac Amaru or Macahueles, not even El Dorado’.[31] The language is exclusively Spanish, there is no use of native words, and no attempt to revive or celebrate a native culture. 

It thus appears that this model of the magical realist genre, the novel that has, as Regina Janes says, ‘in modern  usage... shaped the definition [of the term]’,[32] actually fails to support the common approach to the genre taken in anglophone literary studies. A closer look at the magical realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude, in fact, exposes the paradoxes inherent in the common assumptions made about magical realism. It certainly does not support Rushdie’s formula where the magic is equated with the ‘impossibly old’. Neither does the magical contribute to what Slemon sees as the genre’s ‘positive and liberating engagement’ with imperialism. In fact, the magic, rather than engaging with the historical and geographical contexts of the novel escapes them. Indeed, the novel also fails to comfortably fit into the place at the centre of the Latin American literary boom that it is commonly inserted. The realism of the novel can certainly be said to be rooted in Latin America, but the magic takes flight from that continent and its concerns.

 


 

Bibliography

Bell-Villada, Gene H. (ed.), Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude: A Casebook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

———, García Márquez: The Man and His Work (London: University of North Carolina Press, 1990).

Bryan, Avril, ‘Virginity: Contrasting Views in the Works of Miguel de Unamuno and Gabriel García Márquez’, La mujer en la literature caribeña: Proceedings of the Sixth Conference of Hispanists (St Augustine: University of West Indies, 1983):

Burns, Graham, ‘García Márquez and the Idea of Solitude’, Critical Review [Canberra, Australia], 27 (1985).

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Félix, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (London: Athlone Press, 1987).

Faris, Wendy B., Ordinary Enchantments: Magical Realism and the Remystification of Narrative (London: Eurospan, 2004).

Fiddian, Robin (ed.), García Márquez (London: Longman, 1995).

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Hart, Stephen M. and Ouyang, Wen-Chin (eds.), A Companion to Magical Realism (Woodbridge: Tamesis, 2005).

Janes, Regina, One Hundred Years of Solitude: Modes of Reading (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991)

McGuirk, Bernard and Cardwell, Richard (eds.), Gabriel García Márquez: New Readings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).

McKeon, Michael (ed.), Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).

McMurray, George R. (ed.), Critical Essays on Gabriel García Márquez (Boston: G.K. Hall & Co, 1987).

———, Gabriel García Márquez (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1977).

Michael Valdez Moses, ‘Magical Realism at World’s End’, Literary Imagination, 3/1 (2001): 105–133, 118.

Oyarzún, Kemy and Megenney, William W. (eds.), Essays on Gabriel García  Márquez (Riverside: University of California,1984).

Penuel, Arnold M., Intertextuality in García Márquez (York: Spanish Literature Publications, 1994),

Porter, Laurence M.,  ‘The Political Function of Fantasy on García Márquez’, Centennial Review, 30/2 (1986).

Rossman, Charles and Miller, Yvette E. (eds.), Special Issue: Gabriel García Márquez, Latin American Literary Review, 13/25 (1985).

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Valdés, María Elena and Valdés, Mario J. (eds.), Approaches to Teaching García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1990).

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Notes

[1]    Mario Vargas Llosa, ‘Amadis in America’, Robin Fiddian (ed.), García Márquez (London: Longman, 1995): 56–62, 60.

[2]    Doris Sommer and George Yudice, ‘Latin American Literature from the “‘Boom” On’, Michael McKeon (ed.), Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000): 859–881, 864.

[3]    Salman Rushdie, ‘Gabriel García Márquez’, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981–1991 (London: Penguin Books / Granta, 1991): 299–307, 301.

[4]    Wen-chin Ouyang, ‘The Politics of Magic’, Stephen M. Hart and Ouyang (eds.), A Companion to Magical Realism (Woodbridge: Tamesis, 2005): 153–154, 153.

[5]    Wendy B. Faris, Ordinary Enchantments: Magical Realism and the Remystification of Narrative (London: Eurospan, 2004), 136, 140.

[6]    Stephen Slemon, ‘Magic Realism as a Postcolonial Discourse’, Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris (eds.), Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community (Durham: Duke University Press, 1995): 407–426, 422.

[7]    Michael Valdez Moses, ‘Magical Realism at World’s End’, Literary Imagination, 3/1 (2001): 105–133, 118.

[8]    Lois Parkinson Zamora, ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude in Comparative Literature Courses’, María Elena Valdés and Mario J. Valdés (eds.), Approaches to Teaching García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1990): 21–32, 29–30.

[9]    Laurence M. Porter, ‘The Political Function of Fantasy on García Márquez’, Centennial Review, 30/2 (1986): 196–207, 198.

[10]  Sandra M. Boschetto, ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude in Interdisciplinary Studies’, Valdés and Valdés: 57–68, 62.

[11]  Graham Burns, ‘García Márquez and the Idea of Solitude’, Critical Review [Canberra, Australia], 27 (1985): 18–33, 3.

[12]  Edwin Williamson, ‘Magical Realism and the Theme of Incest in One Hundred Years of Solitude, Bernard McGuirk and Richard Cardwell (eds.), Gabriel García Márquez: New Readings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987): 45–63, 45.

[13]  James Higgins, ‘Gabriel García Márquez: Cien años de soledad ’, Gene H. Bell-Villada (ed.), Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude: A Casebook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002): 33–53, 38.

[14]  Regina Janes, One Hundred Years of Solitude: Modes of Reading (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991), 81; D.P. Gallagher, ‘Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia, 1928–)’, George R. McMurray (ed.), Critical Essays on Gabriel García Márquez (Boston: G.K. Hall & Co, 1987): 113–129, 114; and Gene H. Bell-Villada, ‘Introduction’, Bell-Villada, Casebook: 3–16, 8.

[15]  Michael Wood, Gabriel García Márquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 19; Myron I. Lichtblau, ‘In Search of the Stylistic Key to Cien años de soledad’, Kemy Oyarzún and William W. Megenney (eds.), Essays on Gabriel García  Márquez (Riverside: University of California,1984): 103–112, 106.

[16]  Robin Fiddian, ‘Introduction’, Fiddian: 1–28, 12–13; Gene H. Bell-Villada, García Márquez: The Man and His Work (London: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), 107.

[17]  Bell-Villada, The Man, 98.

[18]  Bell-Villada, The Man, 102.

[19]  Gabriel García Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, trans. Gregory Rabassa (London: Penguin Books, 1972), 9. Hereafter OHYS and page number.

[20]  Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (London: Athlone Press, 1987), 208. Hereafter TP respectively and page number.

[21]  George R. McMurray, Gabriel García Márquez (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1977), 90.

[22]  George R. McMurray, ‘‘The Aleph’ and One Hundred Years of Solitude: Two Microcosmic Worlds’, in Charles Rossman and Yvette E. Miller (eds.), Special Issue: Gabriel García Márquez, Latin American Literary Review, 13/25 (1985): 55–64, 60.

[23]  Lichtblau, 105.

[24]  Avril Bryan, ‘Virginity: Contrasting Views in the Works of Miguel de Unamuno and Gabriel García Márquez’, La mujer en la literature caribeña: Proceedings of the Sixth Conference of Hispanists (St Augustine: University of West Indies, 1983): 168–184, 180–183.

[25]  María Elena Valdés, ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude in Women’s Studies Courses’, Valdés and Valdés: 45–56, 53.

[26]  Arnold M. Penuel, Intertextuality in García Márquez (York: Spanish Literature Publications, 1994), 67.

[27]  Gabriela Mora, ‘An Approach Using Ideology and History’, Valdés and Valdés: 79–88, 86–87.

[28]  Gerald Martin, ‘On ‘Magical’ and Social Realism in García Marquez’, McGuirk and Cardwell: 95–116, 115.

[29]  Martin, 110.

[30]  Williamson, 46.

[31]  Janes, 121.

[32]  Janes, 106.



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