Ian McEwan, “My Purple Scented Novel”

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Ian McEwan’s “My Purple Scented Novel” is a short story of 4,300 words published in the

New Yorker

in March 2016. It was commissioned by curator Thomas Demand for inclusion in the printed catalogue of the exhibition “L’Image Volée” (The Stolen Image), a group show (Milan, Mar-Aug 2016). A tale of betrayal and deceit which revolves around literary theft and artistic antagonism, the story is narrated in the first person, reminiscent of the stories in

First Love, Last Rights

(1975), the collection which established McEwan’s literary reputation.

Thematising, as Demand requested, “unrepentant or guiltless theft”, the story was the product of a creative outburst generated by the “high temperature” accompanying a “Goldilocks virus”. McEwan provides this information in a

1334 words

Citation: Logotheti, Anastasia. "“My Purple Scented Novel”". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 November 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38807, accessed 15 April 2024.]

38807 “My Purple Scented Novel” 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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