Enduring Love Study Guide from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Enduring Love

Enduring Love Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Ian McEwan's Enduring Love. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is one of the most important British writers of the last fifty years. Born in Aldershot, Hampshire, in the south of England, McEwan studied at the University of Sussex and the University of East Anglia before publishing a pair of short story collections—First Love, Last Rites and In Between the Sheets—whose chilling content earned him the nickname “Ian Macabre.” Over the next several years, McEwan’s style evolved, an alteration that won the author far greater fame and critical success with the publication of such mainstream novels as Black Dogs, Amsterdam (for which McEwan won the Man Booker Prize), and, most famously, Atonement, which was lauded by Time magazine as the best novel of 2002. McEwan continued to produce at a rapid pace in the years following Atonement, releasing six novels from 2005 until 2016. Among these are Saturday, a response to the War on Terror and Britain’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq; Solar, a satirical examination of the politics of climate change; and Sweet Tooth, a Cold War thriller that features significant autobiographical elements. McEwan is married to Annalena McAfee, a journalist and editor, and lives in London and the Cotswolds.
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Historical Context of Enduring Love

In 2007, the British forensic psychologist Lorraine Sheridan told the BBC that the 1980s and 1990s saw an increase in stalking-related crimes in England. During those decades, stalkers “had more methods—such as mobile phones and computers—to research their victims.” Whether or not Enduring Love was written as an answer to stalking’s increasing prevalence, it certainly exists in that historical context.

Other Books Related to Enduring Love

Enduring Love shares a tone and style with other Ian McEwan novels of its period, particularly Black Dogs (1992), Atonement (2001), and Saturday (2005). As a work examining the ramifications of mental illness, it bears comparison to John Wray’s Lowboy (2009), Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (1987), and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003). Finally, as a British novel of the late 1990s, it proceeds from the same literary tradition as Graham Swift’s Last Orders (1996), Julian Barnes’s England, England (1998), and Michael Frayn’s Headlong (1999).
Key Facts about Enduring Love
  • Full Title: Enduring Love
  • When Published: 1997
  • Literary Period: Contemporary British
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Setting: London, England
  • Climax: Jed Parry enters Joe Rose’s apartment and threatens to kill his wife, Clarissa Mellon
  • Antagonist: Jed Parry
  • Point of View: The point of view is primarily Joe Rose’s, with occasional sections narrated by Clarissa Mellon and Jed Parry

Extra Credit for Enduring Love

Mind Over Matter. In a 2009 interview with The New Yorker, Ian McEwan revealed that he wrote Enduring Love in part to combat the “unexamined Romantic assumption that still lingers in the contemporary novel, which is that intuition is good and reason bad.”

Fake Science. Enduring Love concludes with a scholarly report that claims to be “reprinted from The British Review of Psychiatry. In fact, McEwan wrote this report himself, and it is, like the novel, entirely fictional.