Publication details [#14178]

Wexler, Joyce. 2009. The German Detour from Ulysses to Magic Realism. Modern Language Quarterly 70 (2) : 245–268. 24 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Durham: Duke University Press


The paper argues that the birth of postcolonial magic realism is closely connected with Joyce’s Ulysses who gave the answer to the problem of how to portray shocking and awful historical events. In 1929 Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz was compared to Ulysses and was considered as the first example of the postwar movement known as “new objectivity” or “magic realism”. Joyce was the first writer that described history even if it was a nightmare. After him, other important authors recognized his influence: Döblin composed a literary work about the consequences of the First World War in Berlin Alexanderplatz, Günter Grass wrote about the Second World War in The Tin Drum, Gabriel García Márquez talked about the Colombian civil wars and U.S. imperialism in One Hundred Years of Solitude and Salman Rushdie described the Indian partition in Midnight’s Children. Joyce and his successors have in common the use of irony and a mix of symbolism and realism to give an account of terrible historical events.