Summer 2019

LIFE INSTITUTE, Ryarson University

Instructor: Svitlana Kobets, PhD

The term magic realism was coined in 1920s to denote a literary genre where fantastic, unreal events were taking place in an otherwise real world. The twentieth century literature was marked by a number of magic realism masterpieces, which represent a variety of countries and cultures. In this course we will explore this contemporary literary genre and literary movement through the analysis of several most known and representative works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar,as well as Nikolai Gogol, Franz Kafka and Mikhail Bulgakov. Our discussions will revolve around historical, religious, philosophical as well as cultural and literary issues, which these works contemplate. 




Class 1

July 23

MAGIC REALISM: the term and the concept

Marquez, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Marquez, The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World


Class 2

July 30

Marquez, Blacaman the Good, Vendor of Miracles


Class 3

August 6

Jorge Luis Borges, The Circular Ruins

Jorge Luis Borges, The Secret Miracle (additional/optional)

Jorge Luis Borges, The Immortal

The Theme of the Traitor and the Hero (additional/optional)

Three Versions of Judas


Class 4

August 13

Jorge Luis Borges, The Lottery in Babylon

Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel

Jorge Luis Borges, Alef


Class 5

August 20

Julio Cortázar, Blow Up, Axolotl, The Night Face Up

Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis


Class 6

August 27

Magic Realism before “Magic Realism”: Nikolai Gogol, The Nose

William Faulkner, The Old People

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Heart of the Dog



Magical Realist Fiction: An Anthology, David Young and Keith Hollaman (eds.) 1984 

Julio Cortázar, Blow Up and Other Stories, Paul Blackburn (transl.) 1967

Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, Andrew Hurley (transl.) 1998

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Heart of the Dog (transl.) 1925


Suggestions for Further Reading:

Miguel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Julio Cortázar, House taken over (short story)

Alejo Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World (novel)

Miguel Angel Asturias, Men of Maize (novel)

Ben Okri, The Famished Road (novel)

Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate (novel)

© 2021 by Svitlana Kobets. All right reserved.