Ian McEwan: On Chesil Beach (2750 words)

Ian McEwan’s tenth novel, On Chesil Beach (2007), narrates the events of a disastrous wedding night, thus making its subject matter, in the words of Christopher Hitchens, “sex and the loss of innocence” (134). Through an all-knowing third-person voice which derives from the tradition of nineteenth-century realist fiction, we learn that Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting both dread and desire to varying degrees the requisite sexual encounter: while the groom is “mesmerized by the prospect […] that the most sensitive portion of himself would reside […] within a naturally formed cavity inside this cheerful, pretty, formidably intelligent woman”, the bride anticipates that moment with “visceral dread” and “…

Logotheti, Anastasia. "On Chesil Beach". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 September 2016
[https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=23020, accessed 19 October 2018.]

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