Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG481H1F L0101

ENG481H1F L0101 TR 10-12
Magic(al) Realism 
in Postcolonial Literature
S. Radovic

Brief Description of Course: In this seminar, we will explore the origins and meaning of “magic(al) realism” within postcolonial literary tradition. “Magic(al) realism” is a visual and literary style that challenges our usual expectations about reality and its representation. In postcolonial literature, this style serves to address political and ethical questions that postcolonial nations must face in the aftermath of their liberation from the European colonizer. Issues of spatial occupation and liberation, social justice, individual and communal identity, revenge and haunting, traumatic past and collective memory, political upheaval and utopian future are all part of this literary style. In order to examine the significance of these topics in postcolonial literature, we will read literary and theoretical texts that foreground the uneasy marriage between reality and imagination in the context of political inequality.

Required Reading: Jorge Luis Borges, “The Secret Miracle”; Maggie Ann Bowers, Magic(al) Realism; Sigmund Freud “The Uncanny”; Rosario Ferré, “The Youngest Doll”; Gabiel Garcia Marquez, “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”; Robert J.C. Young, Empire, Colony, Postcolony; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Bessie Head Maru.

First Three Texts/Authors to be Studied: Borges, “The Secret Miracle”; Maggie Ann Bowers, Magic(al) Realism; Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny.”

Method of Instruction: Lectures and seminar discussions.

Method of Evaluation: Class participation (10%); class presentation (15%); essay 1 (15%); essay 2 (25%); essay 3 (35%).

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