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Production of Emotions

Perspectives and Functions


Edited By Teresa Bruś and Marcin Tereszewski

The essays of this collection are, each in their own way, an attempt to address the centrality of emotions in literary and cultural production in a variety of genres, from medieval moralities to contemporary novels, from English Romanticism to film studies. Emotions are understood as mobile forms or forces, crossing between subjects and locations. The interdisciplinary and diverse nature of this collection reflects the view that emotions are interpersonal and forever slipping beyond our grasp. Yet, in thinking about emotion, we discover unexpected confluences. The contributions in this volume are grouped in five areas which reflect larger categories and provide a valid platform for interpretation of emotions: dynamics of modern culture, history, social sciences, interpersonal contexts, and imagination.
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Tomasz Dobrogoszcz - “Entering an Arena of Adult Emotion:” Briony’s Recognition of Otherness in Ian McEwan’s Atonement


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Tomasz Dobrogoszcz

University of Łódź

“Entering an Arena of Adult Emotion:” Briony’s Recognition of Otherness in Ian McEwan’s Atonement

Ian McEwan’s 2001 novel Atonement still continues to be his most widely read and critically discussed work. It is an example of the novelist’s finest and most accomplished writing, exhibiting a highly elaborate structure and touching weighty ethical issues. The novel is openly self-reflexive: the short Coda, following the three major parts, frames the bulk of the text as a fictitious narrative weaved by Briony Tallis, an aging novelist who, on a verge of plunging into the abyss of vascular dementia, wishes to atone for her childhood error. In summer 1935, the thirteen-year-old Briony, still a sensitive and naïve child, barely entering her adolescence, misrecognises the sexual tension between her older sister, Cecilia, and her beloved, Robbie. Guided by the unconscious structures that impose an idealistic but uninformed order on her perception of reality, the girl mistakenly accuses Robbie of raping her under-age cousin, Lola, which devastates his and Cecilia’s lives. This paper attempts to analyse the novel with the theoretical apparatus provided by Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory. It endeavours to demonstrate that Briony’s inception of the writer’s ego might be interpreted as the ‘second mirror stage’. Still, the language, which is for her, as for anybody, the bedrock of the implementation in the Other, is also the guarantor of the incomprehension of the Other. Estranged within the maze of misleading...

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