Who can ever forget that imperishable painting illustrating a melting clock by Salvador Dali? This artwork has achieved a distinctive place in the cultural history of the world not only because it stands distinguishably apart from the artistic tendency of earlier ages, but also this single painting speaks of a new movement and informs everyone of the emergence of a new age - an age which is torn between the bustling gulf prevailing between World War I and II; an age where overwhelming rationality fails to manage due space for essential irrationality of human being. And there gets born a tendency towards surrealism where deliberately human unconscious or subconscious is depicted; this, obviously, is an artistic protest against wartime reality.
Magic realism, therefore, in many cases, appears as a descendent of surrealism because in magic real situation as well human unconscious or untold story is emancipated. In spite of being innately interconnected, surrealism and magic realism belong to two chronicles of time, respectively modernism and postmodernism. However, it is not like that this discussion is going to correspond to theoretical propositions of surrealism and magic realism; rather it will be more enthusiastic to reflect on how these two tendencies in literature represent their respective ages.
In Beginning theory, Peter Barry recommends that modernism mourns over fragmentation while postmodernism celebrates it. The most differentiating matter between surrealism and magic realism is their
Surrealism is brought into literature and art to show how disastrous distance is spanning between human conscious and unconscious while magic realism almost eliminates this distinction between reality and unreality, and breaks down any determinist or absolutist identity of real world. To be more appropriate, the things Freud comes up with after lifetime experimental research like 'unconscious', 'repressed desire', or 'uncanny' all these get mixed up with one another and present the hazardous tapestry of human unconscious; and this very "unconscious" the litterateurs, in their writings, scrutinize from different perspectives, sprinkling the splashes of magnificent words as well as rhetoric.
Jibananda Das has a poem titled 'Shakun' which, if transcribed into a painting, clearly illustrates a surrealist situation - vultures, uncountable in number, are scattered around here and there and creating an animalistic restlessness. This sort of image-based alphabetic endeavor ultimately reveals how modern man becomes lost in an enigma of inhumanity.
On the other hand, the moonlit delusion Syed Waliullah draws in Chander Amaboshay ? a dichotomous situation a being confronts as he can hardly match his internal self-consciousness with the outer reality.
What happens in magic real situation, the reality experiences a change; and the person, undergoing this experience, no more bothers about whether the separation between fantasy and reality is withdrawn or not.
At present, the most featuring magic realism is depicted in the writings of Syed Manjoorul Islam and Hasan Ajijul Haque in Bangladeshi literature. There is a novel of Syed Islam titled Ajgubi Rat where magic realism is most tremendously celebrated. A group of people somehow come to see a cut-off hand which reaches ashore floating down the waves of a river, and this hand finally sweeps them away from their existing reality and opens the gate of their suppressed unconscious; most boisterously every one of them celebrates their individual untold world for the time being.
It will be unfair if, while discussing on magic realism, the name of Gabriel Garcia Marquez is not uttered whose stories, with much flamboyance, articulate the texture of magic realism. In one of his stories, titled 'The Most Handsome Drowned Man in the World', Marquez excellently sketches a collective reality which is changed in the twinkling of an eye at the arrival of a dead body in the village. A deceased man changes the living history of entire village and nothing remains the same as before. And these are basically the places where reality seems to be blistering in magic.
However, this attempt to bring out the repressed reality of a being through writing is not new to writers' community. Even William Shakespeare deals with this psychological crisis a little bit differently. Lady Macbeth in Macbeth smells of her devious self even in dream. Or Dostoyevsky's Roskolnikov in Crime and Punishment becomes so indulged in an illusion that he does not feel relieved until he confesses everything. Therefore, the unconscious surrealism and magic realism unfurl unsettles the solidity of human life and questions the existential meaning of worldliness. And ultimately there is no getting away from this invisible presence, no matter which attire of life one puts on.
Barnali Talukder is a literary enthusiast