Magical realism

  (21 November 09)
  by Greg Spearritt

Whether it’s vampires, sorcery or talking animals, you’ve probably had your shot (and perhaps your fill?) of magical realism through popular culture in recent times.

 

Some might be inclined to dismiss it as fantasy, but Melbourne playwright Ricci-Jane Adams urges us to look again at what magical realism has to offer. She calls it “the portal between the mundane and the extraordinary.”

 

In art and literature – and, I’d argue, religion – magical realism is a way of allowing us to see afresh the mundane: to find new value, new meaning and new possibilities in the everyday.

 

CS Lewis used it. Phillip Pullman uses it in spades.

 

Magical realism in religion can boost our esteem for everyday life and for other people; it can give us a glimpse of an alternative reality that could enhance life on our planet. Provided, that is, that we can distinguish the fantasy from the real.

 

If you go to church you’ve probably been imbibing magical-realist stories of a dying-rising, divine-human god. Or in the local mosque (and in many Sydney Anglican churches) you may celebrate a perfect text that dropped from the sky.

 

When these imaginative tales are transformed into Truth, the power of magical realism is commandeered by the urge to control and dictate. That’s the beauty of art and literature: it’s immeasurably enriching, but we know it’s fiction.

 

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1 comments

found this helpful...any other article on magical realism vis-avis religion?

Posted by tuku

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