In this survey, Ian McEwan emerges as one of those rare writers whose works have received both popular and critical acclaim. His novels grace the bestseller lists, and he is well regarded by critics, both as a stylist and as a serious thinker about the function and capacities of narrative fiction. McEwan's novels treat issues that are central to our times: politics, and the promotion of vested interests; male violence and the problem of gender relations; science and the limits of rationality; nature and ecology; love and innocence; and the quest for an ethical worldview. Yet he is also an economical stylist: McEwan's readers are called upon to attend, not just to the grand themes, but also to the precision of his spare writing. Although McEwan's later works are more overtly political, more humane, and more ostentatiously literary than the early work, this book uncovers the continuity as well as the sense of evolution through the oeuvre. It makes the case for McEwan's prominence—pre-eminence, even—in the canon of contemporary British novelists.
writer who has helped reinvigorate thinking about the novel within
and without academia.
His novels treat issues that are central to our times: politics, and the
promotion of vested interests; male violence and the problem of gender
relations; science and the limits of rationality; nature and ecology; love
and innocence; and the quest for an ethicalworld-view. Yet he is also
an economical author, who ‘writes only a few paragraphs each day’,
which he then ‘works on intensively’, paring them down, and allowing
‘the spaces between sentences, the moments where the reader
cannot spell out here).
Given the need to apply philosophical concepts to philosophy itself, a conception of toleration can only be justifiable if it is itself tolerant toward the different ethicalworld-views that persons hold (a point stressed by Rawls); and these
world-views imply different accounts of ethical knowledge, value, and reality.
Therefore one would have to show that the conception of toleration I have just
explained with respect to its normative and epistemological elements is the conception that leaves the widest possible room for various ways of
melodrama. Now, for avant-garde thinkers like Breton,
Tzara, and Adorno, the melodrama’s celebration of the status quo and
its manipulative play of identification, render it unsuited to artistic
revolution and instead a substantial tool for conservative forces.
Here again, Epstein sees things otherwise. For him, the melodrama
provides satisfaction to any number of authentic drives – justice, an
ethicalworldview, happy endings – and any number of causes for
despair – loneliness, exploitation, disappointment, everydayness.
Sure, melodramas are cultural opiates; yet taking