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Postmodern or conventional? An inquiry into the nature of Ian McEwan's Saturday.


  • Maia Lovén

Summary, in English

My aim with this paper is to examine to what extent Saturday is a postmodern novel, and with that follows the question how much it adheres to the aesthetics of the realist genre. I will in the paper ask how the two different views of reality - realism and postmodernism -are dramatised thematically in the novel and how they are represented formally.

To be able to answer that main research question I pose three sub-questions: How are the two different views of reality dramatised thematically in the opening of the novel and can the views of reality be related to formal traits like the oscillation between the abstract and the concrete and the construction of the narrator? Can the view of the concept of progress and modernity in the novel be called postmodern? Does the novel deconstruct the binary opposition fiction and reality in a postmodern way and can the view of reality be compared to Baudrillard´s concept of the hyperreal? The answer to my overarching research question is that postmodernism is largely thematised in the novel, and that the formal traits of the novel more point to an adherence to realism. Therefore, I conclude that Saturday in its themes and concerns to a large extent is a postmodern novel, but that it also cherishes a function of literature that is fundamentally realist, namely that the role of literature is to uphold the illusion of unity that we are losing in this postmodern society.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • postmodernity
  • realism
  • progress
  • narrative theory
  • Baudrillard
  • Lyotard
  • English literature
  • Engelsk litteratur


  • Cecilia Wadsö Lecaros