Humanity Biologised: The Re-definition of Human Ethics in Ian McEwan's Enduring Love

Fazel Asadi Amjad, Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Amin Pourhossein Asli


The present study investigates how Ian McEwan's Enduring Love (1997) re-defines human ethical qualities within a Darwinian framework. McEwan's Enduring Love from the very beginning to the end abounds in Darwinian images and passages, thereby, it forms a Darwinian lens through which the events of the novel are scanned and interpreted, from the helium balloon gone out of control to a shared happiness resulted from seeing a familiar face at the airport. Within the Darwinian worldview the novel sets, it tries to subvert the traditionally-considered human ethical actions, like heroism, cooperation, courage, and love and therefore re-define them. To prove its claim, this paper, first, explores the Darwinian framework Enduring Love develops, benefiting from the ideas of literary Darwinists and other biopoetical theorists; then, it tries to show how the novel applies the same Darwinian principles to those human ethical qualities mentioned above which results in their redefinition.


Keywords: McEwan; Darwinism; re-definition of human ethical qualities; Enduring Love

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