Volume 10, 2008

   Volume 5, December 2004

   Volume 9, 2007
   Volume 8, 2007
  › Volume 7, 2006
  › Volume 6, 2005
   Volume 5, 2004
   Volume 4, 2001
   Volume 3, 2000
   Volume 2, 1999
  › Volume 1, 1999



“Pathological Rationality” in Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love and Saturday

Liverpool Hope University


The male protagonists in Ian McEwan’s novels Enduring Love and Saturday try to live according to a self-imposed philosophy of rationalism. Crises arise in their lives revealing the limitations of this decision, and in order to maintain their rationality they are forced to engage in various strategies of control. These efforts are thwarted by the necessarily pathological nature that those strategies require for implementation, and also by the contingency of life in modern times. This essay examines these rational strategies of control which include the imposition of routine and order, isolation, the denial of art, inscription in the work ethic, scientific thinking and extreme self-assessment. The novels suggest that rationality alone is insufficient and must be tempered with other forms of thinking and understanding the world, including the postmodern notion of the instability of the self.

Ian McEwan, Saturday, Enduring Love, pathological rationality, fiction, control, instability


 Webmasters: Neic Rãzvan and Crăciun Bogdan