What is “magical realism?” Is it a genre, a style, a label for elaborated fiction from the Third World? How does magical realism, a globalized phenomenon, reflect upon globalization itself? The course will address such questions by studying fascinating works (excerpts) from places as diverse as Cuba, Colombia, India, Germany, and the U.S. The two main goals will be 1) to trace the trajectory of the concept from its origins in 1920s post-expressionist painting to its contemporary developments, and 2) to articulate well-informed positions on the scholarly debates that pertain to both particular seminal works and magical realism as a whole.
Topics include: transactions between metropolitan centers and peripheral locations in the production and transformation of magical realism; postcolonial approaches from and against the literature on the topic; politics of authenticity; relations between story-telling and historical grand-narratives, and between fantasy and critique. Works include: novels, plays, and short stories by García Márquez, Rushdie, and Morrison; movies by Schlondorff and Benigni.