Transition from Modernist to Postmodernist: A Survey of Ian McEwan’s later Fiction

Seyed Javad Habibi, Sara Soleimani Karbalaei


This enquiry is a survey on the postmodernity that Ian McEwan practices in his later novels. Although a myriad definitions of postmodernism makes this term and its associated epoch to some extend “indefinable,” this study endeavours to freeze and apply one of the exhaustive definitions of postmodernism which is “incredulity towards metanarratives,” a widespread speculation propagated by the postmodernist mapmaker, Jean-Francois Lyotard. Via Lyotard’s definition of postmodern world, this investigation tests the compatibility between it and McEwan’s fiction in order to prove the legitimacy of labelling him as a postmodernist novelist.


speculative metanarrative; metanarrative of emancipation; metafiction;postmodernism

Full Text:



Callinicos, Alex. Against Postmodernism: A Marxist Critique. Cambridge: Polity, 1991. PDF file.

Habermas, Jürgen. “Modernity versus Postmodernity”. New German Critique 22 (1981): 3-14. Print

Klein, Kerwin Lee. “On The Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse.” The Nature of History Reader. Eds. Keith Jenkins and Alun Munslow. London: Routledge-Taylor, 2004. 328-332. PDF file.

La Caze, Marguerite. “At the Intersection: Kant, Derrida, and the Relation between Ethics and Politics.” Political Theory 35.6(2007):781-805. JSTOR. Web.7 Apr.2013.

Lyotard, Jean-François. “Answering the Question: What is the Postmodern?” Pefanis and Thomas 1-16.

---. “Apostil on Narrative.” Pefanis and Thomas 17-22.

---. The Postmodern Condition: a Report on Knowledge. Trans. Bennington, Geoff and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P. 1984. PDF file.

Malpas, Simon. Jean- François Lyotard. London: Routledge-Taylor, 2003. PDF file

Nicol, Bran. The Cambridge Introduction to Postmodern Fiction. New York: Cambridge UP, 2009. PDF file.

Pefanis, Julian, and Morgan Thomas, Trans. eds. The Postmodern Explained to Children: Correspondence 1982–85. Sydney: Power, 1992. PDF file.

Sarup, Madan. An Introductory Guide to Post-Structuralism and Postmodernism. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1993. PDF file.

Sim, Stuart, ed. The Routledge Companion to Postmodernism. London: Routledge-Taylor, 2001. Print.

Stephens, John and Robney McCallum. Retelling Stories, Framing Culture: Traditional Story and Metanarratives in Children’s Literature. New York: Garland-Taylor, 1998. PDF file.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 MCSLL