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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reading (for) Magical Gaps: The Novice Reader's Aesthetic Response to Magical Realism

  • Author(s): Ponzio, Carl Joseph
  • Advisor(s): Martín-Rodríguez, Manuel M
  • et al.

The purpose of the following work is to propose a theoretically supported understanding of a methodology used by actual readers who exhibit apprehension when asked to respond to a text with an imaginative interpretation. I argue that once an author's vision is considered to be absolute, those people I deem novice readers will primarily search a text for fundamental textual clues - or important moments in the plot - that appear indicative of the author's intentions. Basing the detective-like method used by novice readers in reader response theory, the same reading models of Wolfgang Iser and Stanley Fish are later considered in order to explore how the ambiguity of works written in the magical realist mode can benefit readers who formerly sought to uncover a single reading. In particular, selected works from Laura Esquivel, Isabel Allende, and Gabriel García Márquez are each analyzed for their potential to enhance aesthetic reading strategies.

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