Magic Realism

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Magic Realism

Is when magical elements are blended into a realistic atmosphere in order to access a deeper understanding of reality

Characteristics of magical realism

  • Fantastical elements
  • Real-world setting
  • Plenitude
  • Authorial reticence
  • Hybridity
  • Metafiction
  • Heightened awareness of mystery
  • Political critique

History of magical realism

The term magical realism was created by the German art critic Franz Roh. He considered magical realism to be a system of representation of reality and a response to it through pictorial means. Magical realism became prominent in the 1940s in Latin America, with the creation of a new autonomous literary style, as well as an expressive mode of depicting American reality.

Major names associated with magical realism

  • Julio Cortázar - Cortázar influenced an entire generation of Spanish-speaking readers and writers in the Americas and Europe. He has been called both a "modern master of the short story"
  • Gabriel García Márquez - His works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success, most notably for popularizing a literary style labeled as magic realism, which uses magical elements and events in otherwise ordinary and realistic situations. Some of his works are set in a fictional village called Macondo (the town mainly inspired by his birthplace Aracataca), and most of them explore the theme of solitude
  • Carlos Fuentes - His bold experimentation with narrative voice and the line between reality and imagination put him firmly in company with such writers of his generation as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Alejo Carpentier, who brought international attention to the writing of Latin America, but Fuentes’ voice was more acerbic, more urban, and often more openly political
  • Mario Vargas Llosa - one of Latin America's most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading writers of his generation. Some critics consider him to have had a larger international impact and worldwide audience than any other writer of the Latin American Boom.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, known as Gabo throughout Latin America. Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.


  • Born - Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez on 6 March 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia
  • Died - 17 April 2014 (aged 87) in Mexico City, Mexico
  • Nationality - Columbian
  • Personal Life - Spouse: Mercedes Barcha Pardo; Children: Rodrigo Gonzalo
  • Career - García Márquez began his career as a journalist while studying law at the National University of Columbia.

Association with magical realism

His works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success, most notably for popularizing a literary style labeled as magic realism

Best known works

Is best known for his novels, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985)

Contribution to literature

The international recognition García Márquez earned with the publication of the novel led to his ability to act as a facilitator in several negotiations between the Colombian government and the guerrillas, including the former 19th of April Movement (M-19), and the current FARC and ELN organizations.