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January 1994


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Cary Nathenson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 28 Jan 1994 12:48:16 MST
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The nagging questions about Magical Realism continue to nag, to which I
add a few ramblings.
  The phrase "political perspective" also needs a bit more clearness.  A
clear political perspective needn't always be a matter of plot.  Perhaps MR
becomes easier to work with if the emphasis on "realism" is not
subordinate to "magical." I distinguish MR from "mainstream" fantasy, or
from "mere" fantasy, by MR's subversive potential.  It's not just against
dominant "Western" political values, but against the "dominant" in any
society.  As has been pointed out in this list, MR is (was) often found in
Eastern European countries, where a fantastical narrative was necessarily a
subversion of Socialist Realism.  The "realistic" elements are those that
pertain to local reality, from which the "magical" deviates.  So in
Hollywood, where "fantasy" is the norm, MR cannot be "mere" fantasy.
*       Cary Nathenson                            *
*       Freie Universitaet Berlin                 *
*       Washington University in St. Louis        *
*                                                 *
*       <[log in to unmask]>       *