|BOOK REVIEW BY ANDREA SCHWIEGER HIEPKO|
Mimesis, genres and post-colonial discourse. Deconstructing magic realism
|London : Macmillan press Ltd. and New York :St. Martin's Press, Inc., 1998, 206 pages, HB (Pounds) 42.50.|
In his view, magic realism is the post-colonial genre per se and he justifies this approach by emphasizing the statement that the colonial process has engendered ideological and imaginary representations which are often comparable throughout the colonized territories. In his choice of texts from authors as diverse as Gordimer, Ihimaera or Rabie, he tries to analyze their different relationship to mimesis, reality and the fantastic. He also mentions classical writers of magic realism, such as Asturias and Carpentier whom he compares with the European surrealist movement and describes the establishment of the literary genre. Nevertheless, it is Rushdie and Mårquez to whom he attributes the central works of magic realism on the grounds of their proximity to Rabelais and the carnivalesque. Durix does not deconstruct the problematic term of magic realism as he suggests in his sub-title, but rather operates with the terminology of the Bakhtin School towards a theory of hybridization.
Within his underlying model of history, he transposes the literature of the
periphery into an historical configuration of the creative European
Renaissance, marked by unstable boundaries of both the oral and written form.
Thus, in this age of globalization, it re-emerges and flows like a stream of
cultural consciousness from the periphery to the centre, triggering a revival
of realism which confronts the highly intellectualized conception of the novel
form in the West: a form with its own transformed, realistic tradition. With
his presentation of a post-colonial counter-discourse, he establishes once
again the binary opposition of a decadent and unimaginative European society
trapped in its essentialist conception of the world: one which can only be
cured by the inventive and revolutionary creativity of textual production by
subaltern individuals from former colonies. In the author's description of a
new, heterogenous, fragmented and magic realism, the post-colonial magic
realism seems to be able to transcend the metropolitan artistic stagnation as
well as outdated premises of realism and the universalization of their values.