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Spring 2005 Course Information

Course Title: Magical Realism

Course Number: 6333-501

Day and Time: T 6:00-8:50 p.m.

Description:

This course will study the genre of magical realism, fiction in which “irreducible elements” of magic are included in otherwise realistic narratives.  Until quite recently, magical realism had been largely associated with Latin American literature, but now it is increasingly becoming recognized as perhaps the most important trend in contemporary international fiction.  Because magical realism has been unusually powerful as a decolonizing agent, and also because the term has elicited some controversy, discussion of these novels will provide an opportunity to investigate concepts in postcolonial studies as it intersects with theories of narrative.  Our discussion will concentrate on careful analyses of these magical realist texts and their critical and cultural contexts, but since this movement is playing a central role in contemporary international fiction (and film), our investigation of it will also broaden to include more general discussions of contemporary literature and popular culture.  In addition to analyzing these primary literary texts, and the cultural work they are performing, we will also consider the work of recent theoreticians, such as Lyotard, McHale, Bhabha, Spivak, and others, in order to place magical realism within the context of postmodern and postcolonial thought.

Texts:

Magical Realist Fiction: An Anthology (Young and Hollaman); Magical Realism:  Theory, History, Community (Zamora and Faris); One Hundred Years of Solitude (Garcia Marquez); The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Kundera); Distant Relations (Fuentes); The White Hotel (Thomas); Midnight’s Children (Rushdie); Perfume (Suskind); Imagining Argentina (Thornton); Beloved (Morrison); Pig Tales (Darrieussecq); Like Water for Chocolate (Allende, film); coursepack.  Optional:  Ordinary Enchantments: Magical Realism and the Remystification of Narrative (Faris)