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Magical Realism and Historiography in Salman Rushdie's Midnight’s Children


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Vukasović, Ana. (2019). Magical Realism and Historiography in Salman Rushdie's Midnight’s Children. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Polak, Iva].

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The paper traces the interrelatedness between magical realism and historiography and observes how the two manifest in a postcolonial context through the analysis of Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children. The paper first provides a theoretical background of magical realism. It traces its origins in order to provide a thorough definition of the term. Then it places magical realism within the context of the theory of the fantastic, to observe how it fits the categories conceived by Tzvetan Todorov, Rosemary Jackson and Amaryll Beatrice Chanady. Moreover, it places magical realism within the context of historiographic metafiction, in order to determine its positioning towards the questions of nature of reality, history and historiography. With all this in mind, magical realism is also studied within the context of postcolonial fiction, in order to observe the reason why it most commonly flourishes in postcolonial societies and what it offers postcolonial subjects. Once the theoretical basis has been constructed, Midnight’s Children is analysed in the same way. Firstly, the elements of magical realism are traced within the novel, in order to prove how these elements foreground a stronger political message. Secondly, an elaborate study of literary and historical intertexts in the novel is provided, in order to justify its status as historiographic metafiction, and to observe how it questions the fictiveness of history and historiography. Moreover, it is observed how Rushdie condemns the historical and political situation in India through his rewriting of history. Lastly, the postcolonial aspect of the novel is studied in more detail. It is observed how Rushdie, as a postcolonial author, subverts the language of the colonizer and the Western literary canon. Moreover, it is studied how he uses magical realism in order to redefine the notion of nation and national identity and create an alternative world in which hybridity, migration and diversity are praised. By creating such a world, it is claimed that he creates a space for hybrids to transcend their colonial history and come to terms with their multiple hybrid identities.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: magical realism, historiography, historiographic metafiction, postcolonialism, Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Polak, Iva
Date Deposited: 06 May 2019 12:06
Last Modified: 06 May 2019 12:06

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