pseudo-realism and literature

Pseudo-realism, that is something that is not real but appears to be real is not new to literature. In fact one of the most popular styles of post-colonial literature of the 20th century is called Magic realism, whose features are very akin to what is described as pseudo-realistic. The term, originally applied to describe the prose fiction of Jorge Luis Borges in Argentina, as well as the work of writers such as Gabriel García Márquez in Colombia, Gunter Grass in Germany, and John Fowles in England wove fantasy into real social set ups.


Pseudo-realism is also traced in the works of absurd fictions of Edgar Allen Poe, metafiction of Robert Scholes and many of the science fiction novels. Yet pseudo-realism is mainly understood as a style of fine arts.

Pseudo-realism can also be traced in almost all the thrillers that are capable of transporting the readers to a world of fantasy. Recent studies have indicated in an increasingly urbanised world, the impact of such literature as well as the impact of the cyberworld of animated games, is immense to the human mind. Pseudo-realism is thus more effective way of influencing the human mind than even realism. 



 Arundhati Roy

Indian writer Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things portrays a Kerala of the sixties which had irked the communist parties in India. Reality perceived by the writer is thus contested by others, even though a layman may not be able to identify the pseudo-real elements.

The word 'pseudo-realism' or 'pseudorealism' is of recent coinage and it was first used to describe the modern day films which are heavily dependant on special effects and computer generated graphics. In fact the use of these modern techniques have now entered into almost all forms of imagery and it is often difficult to distinguish between the real and pseudo-real among all that we see in the media, in films and read in print. Pseudo-realism is all pervasive and is a general feature of global political propaganda. When the same is reflected in the literature of the time, we call it pseudo-realist literature.  


Also read on ..

Magic Real Art     Pseudoreal Art      Surreal Art

Film-making and pseudorealism      Films of Aparna Sen       Films of Satyajit Ray     Films of Mrinal Sen     Films of G Aravindan    Films of Guru Dutt    Films of Raj Kapoor    Films of Shyam Benegal

Magic Realist Literature         Pseudorealism and Indian Literature 

Pseudorealism and Global politicking


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Gunter Grass: Magic Realism and literature

Salman Rushdie: Literature and Politics

Basheer: Indian Literature and Pseudorealism