McEwan’s biography, known to us from various interviews he has given and biographical pieces he has written, is in many respects an unremarkable one, and can only illuminate in part the wide array of characters, issues, historical contexts and aesthetic forms that he presents in his works. Certainly, McEwan’s life story from his birth in 1948 to the present coincides with a period covering some of the major political and social changes in England and around the world over the past half century, and his intense interest in historical research, particularly into the Second World War and ensuing Cold War, broadens his available subject matter. In his recent book on McEwan, Dominic Head lists some of the key shifting cultural contexts that have bordered the author’s life as “fading colonialism; the dissolution of the British class structure; educational reform; the transformation of family life; and the second wave of feminism” (5). As the following chapters will show, we can add to that list the rise and fall of British neo-Conservative politics and nationalism, the divisive effects of late capitalism, the threat of international terrorism and the creation of new models of masculinity.
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