Outlaw knot-makers : context, culture, and magic realism

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Edward A. Shannon (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Keith Cushman

Abstract: Outlaw Knot-Makers is a study of recent Postmodernism, focusing on five works. I consider three novels-Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Chronicle of a Death Foretold. William Kennedy's Ironweed. and Toni Morrison's Beloved-and two autobiographies, Art Spiegelman's Maus and Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior. These works should most properly be considered Magic Realism. Most definitions of this genre emphasize the fantasy elements of Magic Realism, but I suggest fantasy is less important to the genre than both the historical elements of the texts and the specific relationship the works have with their ethnic, mythic, and folkloric source materials. Magic Realism has its roots in the work of Franz Kafka and the fiction of Latin America, and a defining characteristic of Magic Realism is its anxious relationship with the folk material that gives it its form. While these works (and Magic Realism in general) seem to simply elevate a particular ethnic or religious American subculture, the texts are actually quite critical of their own subcultures. The surface narratives of Magic Realism do indeed criticize the larger culture in which the subculture exists, but Magic Realism also engages in a consistently ironic treatment of the core values and aesthetic conventions of the subcultures it treats.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1995
Magic realism (Literature)

Email this document to