23.4 x 15.6 cm
Imprint: Boydell Press
Music and Religion in the Writings of Ian McEwan
The majority of characters in Ian McEwan's novels are educated members of the middle class, but without any great private financial means and certainly no great affluence. Despite different occupations, whether scientist (Solar), musician (On Chesil Beach, Amsterdam) or surgeon (Saturday), they are faced with moral, ethical, religious and personal dilemmas that bear resonance to a contemporary audience.
Classical music is present throughout McEwan's writings (including his recent Lessons, 2022), mostly not as an accompanying theme but as a necessary part of life's pleasures and for some, essential needs. The combination of music and the unforgettable narrative moments create a unique space for McEwan to translate his views on the world. The value of music, not least as a complementary presence to silence, is portrayed not just as the source of comfort but as a known presence that is dependable to an individual on a near spiritual level. Within his writings there is also a clear understanding of the role of the Church of England as a societal, cultural and established presence within British society. In the literary descriptions of McEwan and other authors this often extends beyond the immediate theological and ecclesiastical concerns of the day. McEwan's writings demonstrate a perceptive knowledge of the nuances of this highly specific cultural dynamic.
McEwan's ability to discern sentiments that easily resonate with musicians place his contribution to the field of music and literature studies in a singular position among living writers discussing classical music in Britain. This book provokes questions for those who encounter these areas for the first time in McEwan's writings, and it offers a place of sustained enquiry for those who have experienced these fields first-hand, whether as listeners, performers, congregants, audience members or scholars across literary, musical or ecclesiastical fields. Iain Quinn's book will be of interest to scholars and students of contemporary British literature, as well as those interested in words and music studies more generally.
1. The Question of Religion: An Atheist's Portrayal of the Church of England
2. The Value of Sublimity: Solitude, Voyeurism, and the Transcendental
3. From Gilbert and Sullivan to Mozart: Influences and Perceptions of Music in Society
4. 'Don't Make Fun of the Fair': The Composer in Twentieth-Century Britain
Interview with Ian McEwan
Interview with Michael Berkeley
£80.00 / $115.00
$29.95 / £24.99
£24.99 / $29.95
2.34 x 1.56 cm
Imprint: Boydell Press