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Hallucinatory realism

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Hallucinatory realism is a vaguely defined term that has been used since at least the 1970s by critics in describing works of art. It may have some connection to the concept of Wikipedia:magical realism although hallucinatory realism is usually more specific to a dream-state.

In 1981, The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Art defined hallucinatory realism as "a careful and precise delineation of detail, yet a realism which does not depict an external reality since the subjects realistically depicted belong to the realm of dream or fantasy."[1]

In 1983, in his paper Halluzinatorischer Realismus (page 183.) Burkhardt Lindner defined hallucinatory realism as the attempt to make the bygone present with a documentary factuality and at an Esthetic enhancement of the realness.[2]


In 1975, Clemens Heselhaus used it to describe the poetry of Wikipedia:Annette von Droste-Hülshoff,[3] although it was criticized in a book review as an "oxymoronic" term that did not fully capture the striking imagery of the poems. University of California Davis professor Elisabeth Krimmer praised von Droste-Hülshoff's hallucinatory realism because "the transition to the dream world is even more compelling because it is preceded by a detailed description of the natural environment."[4]

Goethe University Frankfurt professor Burkhardt Lindner discussed it in the paper "Hallucinatory Realism: Peter Weiss' Aesthetics of Resistance, Notebooks, and the Death Zones of Art" (New German Critique, 1983).[2] In this paper about Wikipedia:Peter Weiss, Lindner says:

Weiss calls his Trotsky drama "a play that is documentary only in a limited sense, and would rather have take shape as a vision, almost hallucinatory." The expressions vision, hallucination, and schizophrenia should make one suspicious of the claim to true-to-life reproduction. Hallucinatory Realism - this is the attempt to blend the numerous characters into a breadth, an openness, a secret connection, a synchronism and a network of memory into a "We".[2]

Lindner goes on to say "The treatment of hallucinatory realism seeks to achieve a dream-analogous authenticity."

The term occurs in the motivation for Wikipedia:Mo Yan's Wikipedia:Nobel Prize in Literature.[5] The term is used in four of the five official versions of the press release (English, French, German, and Spanish);[6] however, in the presumably original Swedish version, the term "hallucinatorisk skärpa" ("hallucinatory sharpness") is used instead.[7] The award was announced in Swedish and English.[8]

In a review by Joy Press of the novel Wikipedia:My Life as a Fake, hallucinatory realism is used to describe how the book manages to make imaginary universes feel concrete and believable.[9] In an essay on the filmmaker Wikipedia:Maya Deren, the term hallucinatory realism is used in a sentence about making reality and subjectivity indistinguishable.[10] The term hallucinatory realism has also been used by different critics to describe works by the writers Wikipedia:Peter Weiss[11] and Wikipedia:Tomi Ungerer,[12] Pasolini's film The Gospel According to St Matthew,[13] My Life as a Fake by Peter Carey,[9] and the novel Paradise Alley by Wikipedia:Kevin Baker.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. Harold Osborne, ed. "The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Art". p. 529. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Wikipedia:Burkhardt Lindner (Autumn 1983). [Duke University Press "Hallucinatory Realism: Peter Weiss' Aesthetics of Resistance, Notebooks, and the Death Zones of Art"]. Duke University Press. Duke University Press. 
  3. Larry D. Wells (January 1975). "Annette von Droste-Hülshoff: Werk und Leben by Clemens Heselhaus. Review by: Larry D. Wells". 
  4. Elisabeth Krimmer (2001). "A Perfect Intimacy with Death: Death, Imagination, and Femininity in the works of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff". 132. 
  5. "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 - Press Release". 12 Oct 2012. 
  6. "Nobelpriset i litteratur år 2012 - Pressmeddelande" (in Swedish). Nobel Media. 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  7. video
  8. 9.0 9.1 Press, Joy (, Nov 4 2003). "My Little Phony". The Village Voice. 
  9. Catherine Russel (2003). "Ecstatic Ehnography: Maya Deren and the Filming of Possession Rituals". In Ivone Margulies. Rites of Realism: Essays on Corporeal Cinema. Duke University Press. p. 270. Template:Citation/identifier. 
  10. Burkhardt Lindner, Luke Springman and Amy Kepple (Autumn, 1983). "Hallucinatory Realism: Peter Weiss' Aesthetics of Resistance, Notebooks, and the Death Zones of Art". New German Critique. 127-156. 
  11. Serge Jongué (automne 1981). "Le réalisme hallucinatoire de Tomi Ungerer". 42-44. 
  12. "Pier Paolo Pasolini's Gospel According to St. Matthew". Suite101. Aug 28, 2011. 
  13. Bresnick, Adam (October 13, 2002). "Burn, baby, burn". Los Angeles Times. 

External linksEdit

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