Study Guide

Magic Realism Timeline

How It All Went Down

1915: Franz Kafka publishes Metamorphosis

Kafka was doing Magic Realism way before we even had a term for it. Metamorphosis, a story about a guy who turns into a bug, is evidence of just how ahead of the game Franz K. was.

1925: Franz Roh uses the term "Magic Realism"

Art critic Franz Roh coins the term "Magic Realism" to describe a growing trend in the visual arts.

1949: Jorge Luis Borges publishes The Aleph

Borges's surreal, fantastic stories set the stage for Magic Realism in Latin America.

1949: Alejo Carpentier uses the term "Marvelous Reality"

In his essay "On the Marvelous Real in America," the Cuban writer Carpentier argues that Latin American writers are doing something new: they don't just write about reality; they write about "Marvelous Reality."

1948: Arturo Uslar Pietri uses the term "Magic Realism" in his book The Literature and Men of Venezuela

The Venezuelan writer Uslar Pietri is the first to use the term "Magic Realism" in relation to Latin American literature. We can all breathe easy now. We finally know what those Latin writers are up to.

1955: Angel Flores publishes "Magic Realism in Spanish American Fiction"

The term "Magic Realism" is beginning to fly all over the place, as seen in Flores's influential essay on the growing movement.

1967: Gabriel García Márquez publishes One Hundred Years of Solitude

Márquez's novel caused a storm when it was first published. One Hundred Years of Solitude is still probably the most famous novel of Magic Realism.

1980: Salman Rushdie publishes Midnight's Children

The protagonist of this novel has magical powers, and he tells us a lot about India's past. It's a history lesson and Magic Realism all wrapped into one.

1982: Isabel Allende publishes The House of the Spirits

Allende does Magic Realism with a feminist twist.

1982: Gabriel García Márquez is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature

Márquez shows just how important Magic Realism has become by winning the most prestigious literary award in the world.

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