Ian McEwan’s Atonement: A Virilian Reading

  •  Yalda Rohani    
  •  Hossein Pirnajmuddin    
  •  Behnoush Akhavan    


Paul Virilio is the theorist of speed or “dromology”. In his terminology acceleration is relevant to time and space. Virtualization is also another seminal concept in his theory which is of course essentially related to his conception of time-space. In this essay, we argue that human perception as pertaining to speed-space and light-space as well as the different versions of reality arising out of different ways of body positioning is one of the major themes of Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2001). In McEwan’s novel both architecture and art mislead Briony. Paradoxically, however, Briony also attempts to overcome her trauma through the art of writing in which several versions of reality emerge out of shattered images of the past. The novel foregrounds issues of art, perception, time-space, speed and their interrelations and as such a Virilian reading would be most relevant.

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