: an inexplicable intrusion into this real world from
: outside, something that contradicts the natural laws
: or the ordinary way of things; something that shocks
: and bothers the characters, tests their intellectual
: equilibriums, makes them suspect their belief systems,
: their own eyes, their judgement. It is a confrontation
: between the regular and the abnormal.
This sounds more like horror to me than either fantasy or magical realism. Gothic literature would also fit in this category. Magical realism may be inexplicable to the reader, but it is usually taken in stride by the characters. It's more likely to represent the characters' belief system than to challenge it.
: merveilleux – there is an imaginary world which has
: its own laws (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings) or the
: supernatural does not surprise the characters (or the
: readers). The characters may have magical powers. The
: goal is to provide wonder and entertainment. Many
: legends, myths, fairy tales fall in this category.
Definitely fantasy. And as I understand the distinction between low and high fantasy, they would both fit this category.
: étrange – natural laws apply for the most part, if
: there is something supernatural it may be explained
: and there may be a rational interpretation. Science
: fiction and “roman noir” (some forms of thriller) fall
: into this category.
Yes, this sounds like science fiction to me.
I don't think magical realism closely fits any of these categories, as least not as you have explained them. It (1) doesn't shock or bother the characters or test their equilibrium, (2) isn't set in an imaginary works and doesn't follow its own laws, and (3) certainly doesn't follow natural laws or have a rational explanation. It comes closes to the merveilleux, but there are no consistent laws. What happens to one character is not predictive of what will happen to another in the same circumstance.
Have you discussed surrealism? That's yet another category of the fantastic in literature and is of French origin. It depicts the higher realities of the mind that may have no connection with the physical world or natural laws.
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