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Drawing from a variety of contemporary literature--including such works as One Hundred Years of Solitude, Beloved, and Like Water for Chocolate--Schroeder explores magical realism as one of many common denominators in the literature of the Americas, challenging the notion that magical realism should be defined merely in terms of geography or Latin American history. By relying on an all-encompassing vision of this unique mode of writing, the author argues that the Americas share a literary tradition and validates the North American strain of the mode. In addition, she points to fundamentally similar approaches to fiction that illustrate the ways in which the Americas share a common literature and calls for increased Pan-American scholarship. Counteracting the critical tendency to label anything unreal or supernatural in literature as "magical realism," Schroeder traces the mode through a variety of contemporary works, including well-known and lesser-known examples. Through a carefully articulated history and description of the mode itself, she is able to show that while Latin American and North American fiction share in common certain features of magical realism, their distinctive approaches to it reflect Latin America's third-world concerns and North America's preoccupation with popular culture and capitalism. Tracing the forces of change at work on the mode in an effort to counter the tendency among scholars to apply the label without justification, this book reclaims "magical realism" as a current and significant term for use in its application to literary works.
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Table of Contents

Introduction Rediscovering Magical Realism in the Americas The Booming Voice of Magical Realism in Latin America "Advancing in the Opposite Direction from Reality": Magical Realism, Alchemy, and One Hundred Years of Solitude Who'll Buy These Magic Beans?: The North American Magical Realist Experience "Suspended Between the Nastiness of Life and the Meanness of the Dead": Beloved As the Physical Embodiment of Magical Realism Marginally Magical: Magical Realism Infringing on the Mainstream Conclusion: Magical Spaces in Real Places Works Consulted

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Explores magical realism as a common denominator in the literature of the Americas.

About the Author

SHANNIN SCHROEDER is Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages at Southern Arkansas University. She also serves on the editorial board of The Philological Review.

Reviews

?Whereas some literary critics suggest that interest in magical realism is declining, others believe that it is thriving and crossing international borders beyond its origins in Latin America. In this concise volume, Schroeder discusses the theories of numerous critics, including Amaryll Chanady and Lois Parkinson Zamora....Especially useful in the study of comparative literature....Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.?-Choice

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