“Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, Faculty of Letters and Arts Universitatea „Lucian Blaga“ din Sibiu, Facultatea de Litere și Arte
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1 / 2016
Contending Narratives in Ian McEwan’s Fiction
My study examines an abiding theme in Ian McEwan’s fiction–the sciences vs. the humanities–within the context of the “two cultures” debate and the extent to which McEwan’s novels can be seen as participating in the debate. One needs to refrain from the impulse of situating McEwan’s fiction as complacently resting within a “two cultures” framework, as a careful examination of his texts, which attest to their author’s refusal to take for granted scientific or any kind of doctrines, demolishes such a view. Nevertheless, this refusal is not readily apparent since it is camouflaged by the main characters’ rationalistic and scientific interpretations of events. By creating characters who are proven wrong for exclusively endorsing one side of the conflict, McEwan engages in the “two cultures” debate and challenges the significance of science in a dehumanised, globalised world. Determining whether the epistemological models of the sciences and the humanities as thematised in McEwan’s fiction can be reconciled and can converge into a “third culture”
so as to offer a comprehensive and moral outlook is the chief aim of my investigation.
Keywords: Ian McEwan, science, the humanities, morality, the “third culture.”
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