top of page
Martha White
Comparative Literature and Philosophy
4th year
Silenced Voices and Real Magic: Exploring Realist and Magic Realist Literary Representations of Slavery
Historical fiction can be a powerful aid to understanding past events and experiences. Some aspects of history, however, have been lost or distorted in their retelling. This article compares the representations of transatlantic slavery in two works of historical fiction: The Tobacco Lords Trilogy by Margaret Thomson Davis, published originally in 1976-77, and Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987). It shows how the former gives a one-sided perspective on events through its use of realism, a style that aims to portray events in a manner as close-to-life as possible. This article, however, argues that the realist depictions in the trilogy merely prioritise experiences and interpretations of white, colonising powers over those of the enslaved. Davis’ trilogy is contrasted with Morrison’s novel, chosen for its magic realist depictions of characters living in the aftermath of their enslavement. This style, although depicting a recognisable world, also allows for magical elements to be real. This article argues that magic realism allows for a more complete representation than realism of experiences and voices omitted from historical discourse.
Eva Szilagyi-Nagy - Fentanyl.jpg
bottom of page