Magical Realism around the World

This week’s Dream English Course is a look into magical realism, focusing less on its homeland, Latin America, and more on how it has influenced literature around the world. Unit I looks at Latin American magical realism, mainly to define what magical realism is and where it comes from (and, of course, for the pleasure of reading it). Unit II gives an overview of literature from a diverse group of authors, set in different places and times. From these works, we can look at how the genre changes based on location and the different feelings/themes it can create.

Magical Realism around the World

Unit I: Magical Realism in Latin America (6 weeks)

Texts: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord by Louis de Bernieres

Questions: What is magical realism? What aspects of Latin American culture/politics/history led to creating this genre? What is the magic’s purpose? How much is magic, and how much is real? What are the rules for magic and reality?

Unit II: Magical Realism in Other Cultures (12 weeks)

Texts: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle  by Haruki Murakami, Beloved by Toni Morrison, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Life of Pi by Yann Martel,The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Questions: How does magical realism change based on the setting and author? How does the magic differ? What is taken from Latin American magical realism? What is new? What about these cultures leads to using this genre? Is it effective? Again, how much is magic, and how much is real? Are the rules always the same, and if not, how do they differ? Ultimately, does magical realism lend itself to a particular type of book more than another?

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