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The (meta)narrative paratext: coda as a cunning fictional device

Research paper by Monica Spiridon

Indexed on: 07 Apr '10Published on: 07 Apr '10Published in: Neohelicon



Abstract

Our study draws on the array of functions assigned to the textual Coda in Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement, also turned into a successful movie. It follows two diverging narrative discourses—the Text and its Paratext—that overtly compete over the understanding of the story and over its reading transaction. In McEwan’s novel, the closing Paratext provides genre patterns and alternative reading strategies to the Text. Turning back upon the story itself and upon its process of writing, its understanding and its genre expectations in a particular cultural context, Coda is being assigned by the British novelist an overt meta-narrative task.