Sublime Elements in Of Love and Other Demons
The book Of Love and Other Demons (1994), written by the Columbian Gabriel Garcia Marquez, has more characteristics of sublime literature than of magical realist literature. Magical Realism and the sublime are so closely related that distinguishing between the two is hard. They are more closely related than magical realism and the fantastic.
Of Love and Other Demons has elements of magical realism. Of all the magical elements, the most important and the most obvious is the dream that is shared by both Sierva and Delaura before they meet. The long red hair of Sierva is an example of a magic realist element that is hidden. The death of Father Aquino and other mysterious events are also important in this story.
Most likely, the dream that is shared by both Sierva and Delaura is the most important of all the magical elements However, this element may also be indentified as sublime. In the sublime, there is a "frightening breakdown of identity, a breakdown that leads to another world of dreams and imagination, and of spirit" (qtd. in Sandner 54). This one event, called transcendence, has a huge effect on the characters and the outcome of the rest of the story. Through this dream, Delaura realizes he is in love with Sierva whom he has not even met. The first of Tolkien's gifts, related to the sublime, Recovery, is used here. "It is the placing of ordinary objects from our everyday world that compels us to perceive them in a new way" (qtd. in Sandner 56). As in magical realism, "reality is 'reconstructed' through 'spiritual' phenomena" (Guenther 35).
Textualization, another magical realist characteristic (Theim 235), is used in this story. The characters dream about themselves. Textualization is "The wonderous passage form one world to another, the interpretration of irreconcilable worlds... they also partake of a dreamlike quality which aligns them with a host of other magical realist devices and motifs" (Theim 237). This device is also similar to Weiskel's third phase of the sublime, the reactive phase (qtd in Sandner 52). During this time, "the mind recovers the balance of outer and inner by constituting a fresh relation between itself and the object" (qtd. in Sandner 52).
Another way in which the story may correspond with the sublime is Sierva's long red hair that had not been cut from the day she was born until the end of her excorcism. Wordsworth says, about the sublime, "Even in the scenes drawn from ordinary life, [the authors] would throw over them a certain coloring of the imagination" (qtd. in Sander 60). This effect is exactly what Marquez does with Sierva's hair. He alluded that there may be something supernatural about it. "The sublime affirm[s] a spiritual dimension to fantasy and explores, through fantastic images, the meaning and existence of spirit" (Sandner...