The Widening gyre

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Rezervă Categorii: , Cod: 99666Autor: Buzarna-Tihenea AlinaData apariție: 12-07-2012 Cuprins Răsfoiește


Alina Buzarna-Tihenea (Galbeaza) is an ambitious young scholar who chose to concentrate her research on a very poignant characteristic of our age: identity struggle. Already her third published book, The Widening Gyre: Individual Identity and the Public Sphere in Ian McEwan’s Fiction presents the most eloquent findings in her analysis of Ian McEwan’s novels. Although a very wide topic, identity is ‘dissected’ in terms of its relation to the macabre, to morality, to gender and sexuality and to politics and history. Although a scholarly approach, it does not fail to stress on the practicality of identity and on its implications to contemporary life, seen on a continuously speeding movement up (or down?) a widening vortex. Although tied to a certain historical time, identities are seen as permanently self-actualising and diachronic.

All the above-mentioned aspects are seen in a very close relation to the historical background in which McEwan’s books were written: post-war agitation and political change that led to literary dynamism in various expressions, as Alina Buzarna-Tihenea (Galbeaza) identifies: working-class novels, women’s novels, academic or campus novels, historical novels, romances, thrillers etc. At the same time, there is a very strong polarity at the level of the novel itself that challenges binary oppositions. While the two poles are situated opposite to each other, in function of the play of power, one or the other is seen as stronger or more prominent and this degree of prominence is in a continuous movement. Such polarities are men and women, fear and love. No wonder therefore that some of McEwan’s most salient characters are fighting women in a patriarchal society. Gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and other dimensions of identity are analysed as forgers of identity, based on social psychology, namely on identity theory and social identity theory. The thesis is based on a strong theoretical background drawing from social psychology (Stets, Burke, Jenkins, Kroger, Woodward) and interwoven with feminism (Beauvoir, Brownmiller), deconstruction and psychology. Although eclecticism is a challenge, Alina Buzarna-Tihenea (Galbeaza) manages to maintain the development of the book within the scope of social psychology, pointing out its strong connections to other disciplines. The book is well structured and balanced, offering a coherent view of character development as a mirror image of postmodern identities.

An important aspect of the analysis is the role of trauma – fostered by patriarchal social mentalities and taboos, contingency, frailties and excesses – in the formation of identity and its connection to the innocence of childhood. Trauma is seen as the site of change, challenging previous beliefs, introducing doubt and imbalance and leading either to maturation and initiation or to alienation and displacement. McEwan’s penchant for describing incest, sexual violence and perversion also occupies the centre-stage of the analysis, pointing out the destructive force of the politics of sexuality and the challenge of gender stereotypes. History and politics play a decisive role in the development of individualities and nations in the fictional societies depicted in the novels analysed. Atonement, Black Dogs, Saturday, The Innocent etc. They all present a (re)collection of times seen as decisive for the way in which individualities and nations are forged.

Alina Buzarna-Tihenea (Galbeaza) offers a comprehensive, well-organized and original approach on Ian McEwan’s fiction that can be used as a tool or starting point in future research. She also makes a captivating and invigorating reading, all the while providing an objective view of the serious aspect of affected identities in the contemporary culture. She manages to tackle the spiral movement, the evolution and the complexity of the identity formation and identification in a visual metaphor of the moving and growing vortex, both increasing the degree of abstraction of identity issue and simplifying it through extrapolation. She makes a powerful demonstration that gives way to endless future interpretations and analyses increasingly prominent topics connected to identity.

Lavinia Macarov

Referenti stiintifici:
1. Prof. univ. dr. Eduard Vlad
Universitatea „Ovidius” din Constanta
2. Prof. univ. dr. Carmen Adina Ciugureanu
Universitatea „Ovidius” din Constanta
3. Prof. univ. dr. Irina Pana
Universitatea din Bucuresti
4. Prof. univ. dr. Stefan Avadanei
Universitatea „Alexandru Ioan Cuza”, Iasi
5. Conf. univ. dr. Remus Bejan
Universitatea „Ovidius” din Constanta

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The Widening gyre






A5 14,5 x 20 cm




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