ENGLISH 371 – Topics in World Literature: East/West Intersections: Magical Realism
“The visible sun is not the real sun” – The Popol Vuh.
Magical Realism: The flower of Latin American fiction? The love child of French Surrealism? A post-colonial literary hybrid? A reaction to political terror? A genre as old as the fairy tale? An invention of the literary critics? Magical Realism is perhaps not a genre, period or style, but a mode of artistic creation in which multiple worlds intersect and collide with paradoxical, carnivalesque, and sometimes terrifying results. Concentrating on the 20th century, this course will explore literature from across the globe to reflect on why so many writers have turned away from “reality” to express the human experience. We will consider the texts in their political-historical contexts, examine related art, architecture and film, and respond to the human and metaphysical challenges with which they confront us. The course will focus on writers from Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. Readings will include Andre Breton, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ben Okri, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Naguib Mahfouz, Shahrnush Parsipur, Salman Rushdie, Mo Yan, and Haruki Murakami.
This course may be taken for the Asian Studies Minor.