International Council for Education, Research and Training

The Interplay of Magic Realism and Historical Realism: Amitav Ghosh's Novels

Deore, Manisha

Research Scholar, K.T.H.M. College (Research Centre) Nashik, Maharashtra


This abstract delves into the captivating blend of magic realism and historical realism in the works of renowned Indian author Amitav Ghosh. Ghosh, celebrated for his historical and socio-political narratives, occasionally infuses elements of magic realism into his storytelling. Notable novels such as “The Shadow Lines,” “The Calcutta Chromosome,” and “Sea of Poppies” serve as examples where Ghosh adeptly blurs the boundaries between the magical and the real. This research paper emphasizes the diverse ways in which Ghosh explores the interplay between reality and fantasy, encouraging the readers to engage with his narratives on multiple levels and promoting discussions about the thin boundaries of literary genres. Magic realism, which is generally characterized by the inclusion of supernatural or magical elements within a realistic backdrop, challenges the distinction between the extraordinary and the ordinary. Though it is associated with Latin American literature, this genre has been embraced and adapted by writers from a variety of cultural backgrounds. However, the complexities of Ghosh’s narratives and the depth of his characterizations leave room for diverse interpretations, possibly aligning with the principles of magic realism. This paper aims to illuminate the dynamic relationship between representing facts and stimulating the imagination, it also highlights the multi-faceted nature of literary genres and the subjective lens through which readers perceive and interpret literary works.

 Keywords: Magic Realism, Historical Narrative, Literary Genres, Interpretation, Literary Analysis

Impact Statement

The research paper delves into the captivating blend of magic realism and historical realism in the works of Amitav Ghosh, showcasing how these genres intersect to create rich and complex narratives. By exploring novels such as “The Shadow Lines,” “The Calcutta Chromosome,” and “Sea of Poppies,” the paper highlights Ghosh’s ability to blur the boundaries between reality and fantasy, inviting readers to engage with his stories on multiple levels. The dynamic relationship between representing facts and stimulating the imagination encourages discussions about the intricacies of literary genres and the subjective interpretation of literary works, emphasizing the interplay of magic realism and historical realism in Ghosh’s compelling storytelling.


About Author


Manisha Deore is a dedicated and accomplished PhD student in Humanities with a specialization in English at the research center of KTHM College, Nashik, Maharashtra. Her passion for the English language and literature is evident in her extensive academic pursuits and her role as an educator. Manisha is a recognized and awarded teacher, celebrated for her excellence in teaching and her ability to connect with and inspire her students. She serves as a master trainer, where she plays a crucial role in training and developing the skills of fellow educators and learners. Manisha consistently engages in various technical and teaching initiatives, showcasing her commitment to professional growth and the enhancement of educational practices. Known for her exceptional counseling skills, she provides valuable guidance to her students, helping them navigate their academic and personal challenges. She is passionate about trying new things and continuously seeks to learn new skills and technologies, reflecting her dynamic and forward-thinking approach to both teaching and personal development. Her profile is a testament to her dedication to education, her innovative spirit, and her unwavering commitment to her students’ success. She exemplifies the qualities of an excellent teacher and a lifelong learner, making significant contributions to the field of humanities and education.



  1. Bhabha, H. K. (2013). Nation and narration (1st ed.). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

  2. Dukeupress.Edu. October 19, 2023

  3. Ghosh, A. (1988). The shadow lines. Bloomsbury Publishing.

  4. Ghosh, A. The Calcutta chromosome: A novel of fevers, delirium and discovery. Ravi Dayal Publisher. (1996).

  5. Ghosh, A. (2008). Sea of poppies. 1st American ed. New York. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

  6. What is magical realism? Definition and examples of magical realism in literature, plus 7 magical realism novels you should read – 2023. Masterclass. Retrieved October 20, 2023

  7. Rajyavardhan, K. Novels of Amitav Ghosh: A critical analysis. Shabd Prakashan. (2014).

  8. Sankaran, C. (2012). History, narrative, and testimony in Amitav Ghosh’s fiction. SUNY Press.

  9. Historical realism. (October 27, 2022) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation.,on%20historical%20events%20and%20periods

  10. Magic realism. (October 23, 2023) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation.

  11. Singla, P. (2023). Through the Sands of Time: a historical exploration in the Glass Palace. Shodh Sari, 02(03), 231–250.

  12. Kaushik, M. D. (2023). The Unorthodox Jukebox of the Picaresque Young Girl Phenomenon: An amelioration of subsumable genres. Shodh Sari, 02(03), 446–461.

Scroll to Top