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Old Challenges and New Horizons in English and American Studies


Edited By Anna Walczuk and Wladyslaw Witalisz

The volume is a collection of essays representative of the wide focus of research encouraged and coordinated by the Polish Association for the Study of English (member of ESSE). Articles selected for the volume deal with works of poetry, drama and prose written in English and invite the reader to view them in the context of intercultural and intertextual discourse. Authors discussed in the articles include: John Redford, William Shakespeare, John Dryden, James Macpherson, John Clare, Anna Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, George Gordon Byron, Charles Dickens, G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, T.F. Powys, Patrick White, Brian Friel, Brendan Behan, Philip Roth, Alice Walker, Chaim Potok, Ian McEwan, Kiran Desai, and Sarah Kane. In many of the essays the reader will notice a meta-discursive argument on the interplay between tradition and innovation in English studies.
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McEwan’s Solar as a Comedy of Human Condition:On Hypocrisy, Global Warming and Plagiarism


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McEwan’s Solar as a Comedy of Human Condition: On Hypocrisy, Global Warming and Plagiarism

Irena Księżopolska

Uniwersytet Warszawski, Ośrodek Studiów Amerykańskich

In one of his interviews, McEwan makes this aphoristic remark: “writing is an exploration of human condition” (McEwan 2011: CCB). His last novel, Solar, seems to be devoted to the explication of this idea. Following the decline of a Nobel prize winning professor of physics, the novel seems centred around the problem of deficient human nature, a condition that prevents the best of us from achieving the desired goal – whether it is a healthy lifestyle or saving the planet for the benefit of future generations. The novel’s protagonist, Michael Beard, gets the chance to solve the problem of energy supply for the planet, but tragicomically fails in his pursuit. McEwan is well aware that, in the nutshell, the novel’s topicality is a liability: “It‘s a subject impacted with hard science: physics, climate science, statistics, graphs, measurements – things that are fairly hostile to a novel. Secondly, it has a lot of moral baggage attached to it, and it was difficult to find a way in” (Alter 2010).

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