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Ian McEwan$
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Dominic Head

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780719066566

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719066566.001.0001

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‘The wild and inward journey of writing’: Atonement

‘The wild and inward journey of writing’: Atonement

Chapter:
(p.156) 8 ‘The wild and inward journey of writing’: Atonement
Source:
Ian McEwan
Author(s):

Dominic Head

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719066566.003.0008

This chapter analyzes Ian McEwan's Atonement as the creative equivalent or counterpart of narrative ethics. The theme of guilt and atonement is inextricably linked to an investigation of the writer's authority, a process of self-critique conducted through the creation of the writing persona Briony Tallis. This novel establishes a position that represents a mid-ground between the privileging of the autonomous speaking subject and the dissolution of self into larger social and linguistic codes and it evokes a strong sense of lived experience that is morally moving, and yet insists on the constructed nature of fiction and the morally dubious authority wielded by the writer.

Keywords:   Atonement, narrative ethics, Ian McEwan, self-critique, Briony Tallis, social codes, linguistic codes

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