Start Date

8-5-2013 9:00 AM

End Date

8-5-2013 10:30 AM

Subjects

Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980) -- Criticism and interpretation, Magic realism (Literature), Caribbean literature (Spanish) -- History and criticism

Description

Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier's 1949 novel El reino de este mundo is considered to be a key work in the development of the magical realist narrative idiom. The narrative includes instances of the fantastic -- including ghosts and animal metamorphoses -- that the novel's Afro-Caribbean characters accept as factual. In keeping with his suggestions that "the entire history of America [is] a chronicle of the marvelous real," Carpentier supposes that these elements elucidate an "authentic" New World mode of perception. However, the novel's narrative structure belies the author's objective. The concurrent presentation of both non-Western/magical and Western/disenchanted cultural paradigms prevents El reino from expressing a singular New World reality. Rather, the work highlights the chasm dividing the schizophrenic American consciousness. Magical realist narrative's capacity to express this cultural disjunction is revealed by the fact that elements of the fantastic appear in the novel at points at which there are conflicting interpretations of narrative events. This study demonstrates El reino de este mundo's "disjunctive" magical realism by closely examining the novel's conflict of cultural perception. By highlighting these details the study will contribute to defining "magical realism" in structural and functional terms. The study focuses on the first section of the novel because of its wealth of instances of cross-cultural conflict. The study also incorporates a range of secondary critical material; these include critical essays on the novel, as well as theoretical studies of magical realism by Fredric Jameson and Christopher Warnes.

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/9467

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May 8th, 9:00 AM May 8th, 10:30 AM

Magical Realism as a Means of Expressing Cultural Disjunction in Alejo Carpentier's 'El reino de este mundo'

Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier's 1949 novel El reino de este mundo is considered to be a key work in the development of the magical realist narrative idiom. The narrative includes instances of the fantastic -- including ghosts and animal metamorphoses -- that the novel's Afro-Caribbean characters accept as factual. In keeping with his suggestions that "the entire history of America [is] a chronicle of the marvelous real," Carpentier supposes that these elements elucidate an "authentic" New World mode of perception. However, the novel's narrative structure belies the author's objective. The concurrent presentation of both non-Western/magical and Western/disenchanted cultural paradigms prevents El reino from expressing a singular New World reality. Rather, the work highlights the chasm dividing the schizophrenic American consciousness. Magical realist narrative's capacity to express this cultural disjunction is revealed by the fact that elements of the fantastic appear in the novel at points at which there are conflicting interpretations of narrative events. This study demonstrates El reino de este mundo's "disjunctive" magical realism by closely examining the novel's conflict of cultural perception. By highlighting these details the study will contribute to defining "magical realism" in structural and functional terms. The study focuses on the first section of the novel because of its wealth of instances of cross-cultural conflict. The study also incorporates a range of secondary critical material; these include critical essays on the novel, as well as theoretical studies of magical realism by Fredric Jameson and Christopher Warnes.