Laurent Mellet - Atonement. Ian McEwan, Joe Wright. “The attempt was all”

Publié le 8 octobre 2017 Mis à jour le 2 mars 2019
le 8 octobre 2017

This book provides a close reading of Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement and its adaptation by Joe Wright, examining the relevance of various critical or theoretical movements such as narratology, adaptation theory and ethical criticism. It shows that the intertextuality and metafiction in McEwan’s novel are adapted by Wright in a film which taps into the intermedial logic of metaadaptation. To study how both the novel and the film question the possibilities of their respective medium, this book analyses the ways Atonement disrupts the chronologies of creation and engages in an intricate game with focalisation and narration. The second part investigates the generic, linguistic and aesthetic distortions which aim at breaking and sexing the medium. Lastly, the book tackles the formal and ethical quandaries of Atonement and its “conversation with modernism”, suggesting several philosophical and political interpretations of Briony’s final confession that “the attempt was all” and of its aesthetic implications in the novel and on screen. 

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