Magical realism in South Asia

Bhattacharya, S. (2020) Magical realism in South Asia. In: Warnes, C. and Sasser, K. A. (eds.) Magical Realism and Literature. Series: Cambridge critical concepts. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY, pp. 198-216. ISBN 9781108426305 (doi:10.1017/9781108551601.015)

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Magical realism is a world literary genre that stages and enables radical crossing of illicit boundaries. Intradiegetically, the mode explores questions of faith on the same ontological level as rationality. In the Arabic and Hebrew-Mizrahi contexts, magical realism serves to puncture the purportedly rational language of the state with the fantastic as a vehicle of minoritarian empowerment. These texts narrate subaltern histories without constantly reproducing the hegemonic language of Othering and subjugation. They disrupt dominant national, ethnic, religious, racial and gender historiographies and ontologies in their respective contexts, but this disruption is all the more powerful when Arabic and Hebrew texts are placed in relation extradiegetically. The networks of relationality created by this dual reading allow us to see ‘Arabness’ with the proverbial third eye – from the positions of minority and majority simultaneously, thereby allowing for a complex, textured and multifaceted understanding of its identitarian and performative meanings.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bhattacharya, Dr Sourit
Authors: Bhattacharya, S.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Published Online:22 October 2020

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