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Unsettling postscripts and epilogues in A. S. Byatt’s Possession and Ian McEwan’s Atonement

Armelle Parey

Résumés

Cet article s’intéresse à deux romans britanniques contemporains dont les dernières pages, contrairement à l’usage, remettent en question la conclusion atteinte plus tôt, et laissent le lecteur dans un état d’incertitude. Possession, a Romance (1990) d’A.S. Byatt et Atonement (2001) d’Ian McEwan jouent avec leur lecteur quand, au lieu de participer au processus de décélération de la conclusion, les dernières pages prolongent et encouragent la « lecture rétroactive ». En effet, les dernières sections du texte de chaque roman soulignent des contradictions voire constituent elles-mêmes des lieux de disjonction. Afin de mesurer les caractéristiques et les effets de la dissonance établie dans la dernière partie de ces romans, cet article s’intéresse d’abord aux post-scripts et aux épilogues comme lieux de perturbation inhabituels avant de considérer comment cette dissonance finale affecte le sentiment de justice poétique précédemment atteint. Enfin, cet article examine dans quelle mesure ce revirement sur la question de la justice poétique ou sa confirmation sont liées à la figure toute-puissante du raconteur/narrateur.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 Posteriority is signalled in postscript and the word epilogue comes from from Greek epilogos: ἐπί , (...)
  • 2 For instance, the last chapter of Bleak House, entitled “The close of Esther’s narrative” opens wit (...)

1Set at temporal distance from the events that constitute the plot, literary epilogues and postscripts, as their respective etymology indicates, 1 usually add information to a story that has already reached its conclusion: they supplement but do not contradict the outcome of the story (see Larroux 153-154). In Gérard Genette’s words, “The epilogue has as its canonic function the brief exposition of a (stable) situation subsequent to its denouement from which it results” (207). For Catherine Belsey in her poststructuralist Critical Practice, “[t]he epilogue common in nineteenth-century novels describes the new order, now understood to be static, and thus isolates and emphasizes a structural feature which is left implicit in other classic realist texts” (75).2 Both Gérard Genette and Catherine Belsey see the epilogue as a locus for the confirmation of the stability reached at the close of the novel. The last chapters of nineteenth-century texts like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers and George Eliot’s Middlemarch might be given as illustrations of this consonance between conclusion and epilogue.

  • 3 Similarly, Michael Riffaterre evokes “retroactive reading” (“lecture rétroactive”), which is the pr (...)

2This paper proposes to look at two contemporary British novels that, on the contrary, use their final pages to unsettle the conclusion reached earlier, and leave the reader in a state of uncertainty. Peter Rabinowitz observes that “[t]here is a general tendency in most reading to apply rules of coherence in such a way that disjunctures are smoothed over so that the texts are turned into unified wholes” (310). However, both A. S. Byatt’s Possession, a Romance (1990) and Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2001) end on sections that run counter to this tendency, which brings them closer to postmodern fiction when it “exploits and simultaneously calls into question notions of closure, totalization and universality” (Hutcheon 67). Both are novels about reading that also play games with their own readers when, rather than being part of a deflating and decelerating process of conclusion, the closing pages prolong and encourage rather than put an end to “retrospective patterning”, i.e. the process by which we readers “readjust not only our expectations concerning the future items, but also our perception of the preceding ones” (Herrnstein Smith 13)3. Indeed, the last textual sections of each novel point to discrepancies or indeed constitute “disjunctures” themselves.

3In Possession, set in the late twentieth-century, scholars Roland Michell and Maud Bailey unearth a secret relationship between a famous Victorian poet, Randolph Henry Ash, and Christabel LaMotte, a woman poet who has so far only retained the attention of feminist scholars. In a “postscript” set in Victorian times, the omniscient narrator shares with the reader an episode unknown to the twentieth-century characters.

4Atonement begins as a third-person narrative just before W.W.II, when thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis, a would-be writer carried away by her imagination and readings, wrongly accuses the cleaning lady’s son of raping her cousin Lola (when he is in fact in love with Briony’s sister, Cecilia). Part Two follows the young man, Robbie Turner, who has joined the British army, in the days of the Dunkirk evacuation in June 1940. Part Three eventually sees the lovers, Robbie and Cecilia, reunited in wartime London and intimates the beginnings of reconciliation with Briony, now a nurse. A last section, set 59 years later, reveals that Briony was hiding all along behind the figure of the apparently extradiegetic narrator and, as a result, invites the reader to consider the liberties with the real thus taken in the narrative.

5In order to fully appreciate the means and effects of the dissonance established by the final textual section of these novels, it will be useful to look first at postscripts and epilogues as unlikely places for disruption. I shall then consider how the discrepancy between conclusion and epilogue or postscript affects the sense of poetic justice previously reached. Finally, I shall examine how this last-minute reversal (or confirmation) of poetic justice is linked to the powerful figure of the storyteller.

Setting Up A Dissonance In An Unlikely Place

6First, it is useful to make clear a distinction between the conclusion and the last few pages as these two do not necessarily coincide: David Lodge in The Art of Fiction differentiates between

the end of the novel’s story – the resolution or deliberate non-resolution of the narrative questions it has raised in the minds of its readers – and the last page or two of the text, which often act as a kind of epilogue or postscript, a gentle deceleration of the discourse as it draws to a halt (224).

  • 4 See also Guy Larroux (153-156).

7The dénouement, explanation or revelation (for a surprise ending) constitutes the actual ending, whereas the very last pages offer “a brief resumé of the subsequent lives of the principal characters” (Lodge “Ambiguously” 143). In a number of nineteenth-century narratives, the epilogue adds unessential information, regarding for instance the life of the characters after the end of the story.4 No earlier hypothesis or conclusion is challenged: “retrospective patterning” comes to a halt. The form that this epilogue may take was openly mocked by Henry James who described it as “a distribution at the last of prizes, pensions, husbands, wives, babies, millions, appended paragraphs and cheerful remarks” (590). As for the postscript, it is supposed to belong to the paratext, to exist at a separate level from the narrative level.

8In Possession and Atonement, the last pages offer no “gentle deceleration” but complication. Indeed, in both novels, the last section unsettles the closure previously achieved even though one can recognize the usual multi-levelled signs of closure (change of tone, voice and tense) “marking out the ending by contrast” (Wenzel 142) and normally setting up a distance between the reader and the events of the story.

  • 5 Yet, even in this apparently closed ending, ambivalence prevails as the last lines evoke a turning- (...)
  • 6 Jean-Louis Chevalier identifies “six moments of a crowning nature [...] before the actual coronatio (...)

9In Possession, the last section is formally marked as different as it is not numbered like all the previous chapters but entitled “Postscript 1868”. This chapter takes the reader back in time to reveal an episode unknown to the twentieth-century characters who think they have solved the mystery about the Victorians. The completeness of the story before the postscript is made visible with the pattern of repetition and symmetry between beginning and ending, a pattern that is “particularly suitable for producing a closural effect” (Wenzel 142-3). Indeed, the last numbered chapter, set in the twentieth century, closes on the scent of apples, echoing the epigraph to the first chapter with Herakles stealing apples. Bringing together the narrative of the twentieth-century scholars and the Victorian poem signed by Ash conveys the idea of a whole.5 The postscript clearly inserts itself in a closed story.6 The return to the past announced in the title “Postscript 1868” is all the more unexpected and surprising as a postscript usually goes forward in time, not back as it does here. In Suzanne Becker’s words, this last section “undercuts classical realist closure” (30). Indeed, the postscript works in two opposite directions: on the one hand, it closes off the story, in the sense that it rounds off the character of Ash; on the other hand, it opens it up with the revelation of an encounter between the Victorian poet and his daughter, an event which throws a different light on Ash and which challenges some of the conclusions established by the twentieth-century characters. An anaphora is used to introduce the place and the two characters as if for the first time: “There was a child [...] there was a man [...]” (508-9). The effect of the indefinite article is to defamiliarize the characters: the reader is invited to look at them in a different light, preparing him for something new. The lock of hair found in Ash’s coffin and attributed to Christabel, by both characters and reader, actually belongs to their child. And if this conclusion is wrong for lack of knowledge, one must consider that others may be too.

  • 7 Dominic Head argues that “[a] very attentive reader [...] may have begun to piece the correct pictu (...)
  • 8 While Anita Brookner refers to “ the ending” (Spectator), Hermione Lee uses the word “coda” (The Ob (...)

10In Atonement, closure is also signalled through symmetry: at the very end of Part Three, the title word “atonement” appears for the first time in the text to describe Briony’s planned writerly attempt to extenuate her crime against Robbie (and her sister). The last textual section “London, 1999” is thus expected to be an epilogue, the switch to contemporary times having been prepared by the signature “B.T. London 1999” at the end of Part Three. One notes the unusually long and precise leap in time. More importantly, when the narrative switches to “I” and Briony Tallis is revealed to be the narrator, Ian McEwan gives his novel a “surprise ending”, brought about by a “sudden, surprising change of a certain frame of expectations” (Wenzel 141-2).7 In doing so Ian McEwan combines two elements, an epilogue and a surprise ending, that are contradictory and mutually exclusive since one implies “gentle deceleration” and the other invites “retroactive reading” (see endnote 3). As appears in the wide range of words used by the reviewers of the novel, it is indeed difficult to place and classify the last section of Atonement8 once and for all because it bears diverse generic characteristics. It reads like a diary as it covers the events of a single day and refers to new characters – “the family” and “ Stella and John ” (355) – without introducing them. It also reads like a postscript to the book-within-the book when the author-persona comments on her finished work but it acts like an epilogue too, insofar as it gives “a brief résumé of the subsequent lives of the principal characters” (Lodge “Ambiguously” 143). Moreover, the performance in the last pages of The Trials of Arabella, the play whose writing by young Briony the novel opens with sets up a pattern of repetition and symmetry between Briony’s novel and the last section, putting them on the same narrative level whereas they are supposed to be on different ones. The same holds true of Briony’s “passion for tidiness” (7) stated both in the first and in the final pages. One can also pick up elements of “closural allusion” (Herrnstein Smith 172) – when words foreshadow the end of the story (see Wenzel 143):these work at the level of Briony’s diary but also at the level of Ian McEwan’s novel, as Briony multiplies references to the end because she has just finished her novel: “I’ve always liked to make a tidy finish” (353). As Earl Ingersoll aptly says, “this epilogue is at one and the same time “inside” and “outside” the novel” (160). The last textual section unsettles the conclusion previously reached and it is itself unsettling because it resists classification and thus, closure.

Revising Poetic Justice

11Before their unsettling last sections, not only do Possession and Atonement each provide neat endings but they provide happy endings since they end on successful love relationships, a modern variation on “the marriage knot” which has appeared at the end of so many novels and which David Lodge describes thus,

The marriage knot is the primary symbol of happiness, of the optimistic idea that the nice and the good are one and shall inherit the earth.[...] We enjoy the reassurance that stories provide, the reassurance that there is a meaningful order in reality (“Ambiguously” 149).

12With the virtuous characters thus rewarded for their efforts and hardship, both novels offer a form of poetic justice when “the causes and effects, the vertues and rewards, the vices and their punishments are proportion’d and link’d together” (Rymer 75) But the very last pages revise or offer a new slant on the justice previously achieved.

13In Possession, if the villains embodying different varieties of greed (Mortimer Cropper, Fergus Wolff and Hildebrand Ash) do not get their come-uppance, the twentieth-century heroes certainly get their rewards: Roland is offered several jobs, Maud and Roland promise each other a future of love, understanding and freedom, and they find answers to the Victorian enigma. At the Victorian level, Christabel and Ash seem to be punished for their affair: Christabel loses her fragile independence and is condemned to living off her “boorish brother-in-law”(500), unacknowledged by her daughter, and Ash dies not knowing about his daughter as his wife never gives him Christabel’s (last) letter. The postscript partly corrects this and poetic justice is partly reinstated, both enhanced and frustrated in the postscript which leaves the reader with a bittersweet taste.

  • 9 For instance, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paysage d’été (1873)

14The reader (and the reader only) has the satisfaction of knowing that Ash eventually found out about his daughter and met her. This scene was born out of A. S. Byatt’s desire to do Ash justice (see “Interview” 20). It is an expansive and plentiful scene marked by a profusion of flowers and of colours that convey a feeling of happiness and completion that illustrates Ash’s feelings when meeting his daughter. The scene is visually enchanting reminiscent of contemporary impressionist Renoir and pre-Raphaelite Millais paintings.9 Suzanne Becker describes it as “a fairy-tale like encounter” (30) as this scene has indeed an unreal quality as it opens with the flowers “improbably flowering at the same time, whereas they should have in fact flowered sequentially” (Byatt “Interview” 20)

There was a meadow full of young hay, an all the summer flowers in great abundance. Blue cornflowers, scarlet poppies, gold buttercups [...]. It was abundant, it seems as though it must go on shining forever. The grasses had an enamelled gloss and were connected with diamond-threads of light. The larks sang, and the thrushes, and the blackbirds, sweet and clear, and there were butterflies everywhere [...] (508).

15The almost enchanted atmosphere of the postscript characteristically contrasts with the previous conclusion. The multitude of flowers, birds, insects and colours enumerated in the postscript evokes happy and harmonious abundance but also stresses the transience of the perfect scene. Indeed, the words that Ash addresses to Christabel via their young daughter, words which would bring solace to her, never reach her: “And on the way home, she met her brothers, and there was a rough-and-tumble, and the lovely crown was broken, and she forgot the message, which was never delivered” (511). With “the pattern of end-focus”, a cognitive strategy that consists in putting the most important word last (see Wenzel 143), the emphasis in the last sentence falls on the negation, on the non-accomplished, on the bitter fact that Christabel was deprived of the message of reconciliation. With the adverb “never” in the last clause, a note of finality and definitiveness is struck, a note of definite closure enhanced with the alliteration in /v/ that links it to the last word.

16In Atonement, at the end of Part Three, at what the reader first supposes to be the end, the thwarted lovers are reunited and reconciliation is to come between a repentant Briony and her family. But in the last section, Briony reveals that the lovers actually died in 1940 and never met again while the guilty parties, the Marshalls, underwent no punishment but went on to live their wealthy and powerful lives. If Briony can impose order, coherence and reward in her fiction, what prevails in real life is chaos (see Parey).

17As a result of the correction provided in the last section, poetic justice is revealed for what it is: a lie, fiction’s licence to solve problems in a way which is satisfactory and consoling but may be at odds with “the real”. This revelation makes the reader wonder about other arrangements with the truth. Moreover, the last section offers a commentary on the romantic ending to Cecilia and Robbie’s story. The reader is invited to see the similarity between the ending to Briony’s last novel and the ending to a child’s first attempt at writing a play: “It occurs to me that I have not travelled so very far after all, since I wrote my little play. Or rather, I’ve made a huge digression and doubled back to my starting place” (370), thus pointing to the artificiality and immaturity of the yearning for poetic justice.

The Authority Of The Storyteller

18These last sections in both novels are unsettling because they open up new paths, they bring uncertainty and undecidability to the fore. Yet, this does not imply that the storyteller is deprived of his or her authority. The particular use made of postscript and epilogue means that Possession and Atonement could be argued to have two endings each. In Possession, there is the conclusion the characters know of and the corrected ending the reader knows of. As for Atonement, it offers the ending in Briony’s novel and the ending corrected in her postscript. David Higdon noticed double closure too in Graham Swift’s Waterland and showed how the two endings work in a dialogue. There is no such dialogue, with the reciprocity implied in the word, in A. S.Byatt’s nor ian McEwan’s novel as both assert the supremacy of the storyteller.

19In Possession, the very title of the last section “postscript” (italics mine) foregrounds the centrality of the act of writing. This section contains a dialogue but it is not “a scenic ending” that is “intensely focused” on the characters (Torgovnick 11): on the contrary, it is framed by the narrator’s discourse. The same omniscient narrator that gave the reader access to Ash’s thoughts during the trip to Yorkshire with Christabel in chapter 15 and to Ellen Ash’s in chapter 25 returns in the postscript for one of these “occasional intrusions that mock all these academic uncoveries” (Becker 21):

There are things which happen and leave no discernible trace, are not spoken or written of, though it would be wrong to say that subsequent events go on indifferently, all the same, as though such things had never been.

Two people met, on a hot May day, and never later mentioned their meeting. This is how it was (508).

20The storyteller is here the detainer of a truth forever out of the reach of literary historians, a truth that the narrative instance chooses to share with the reader. It is indeed significant of the supremacy of the storyteller that, for lack of information, the reader should fall prey to the same type of mistake as the twentieth-century characters when deducing that Ash refers to Christabel in his last days (452). The final section opens with an assertive omniscient voice, of the type censored in the twentieth century, all the more godlike with the use of the gnomic present – “There are things which happen and leave no discernible trace” (508) – and frankly moral overtones: “it would be very wrong to say [...]” (508). The tone is decisive and final: “This is how it was” and, for Louisa Hadley, “The status of the events in the Postscript is not questioned in any way; they are presented as facts” (190), not as an alternative or a correction. Yet the fairy-tale atmosphere mentioned earlier (see Becker 30) conveys a sense of unreality to the scene. It can be put in relation with the subtitle to the novel, which refers to the text as a romance. The definition by Nathaniel Hawthorne taken from The House of Seven Gables is presented in an epigraph, a definition that asserts that the romance may take more liberty with the real than a novel: “When a writer calls his work a Romance, it need hardly be observed that he wishes to claim a certain latitude, both as to its fashion and material, which he would not have felt himself entitled to assume, had he professed to be writing a Novel.”

  • 10 Considering the postscript as an element of the paratext and distinct from the fictional world prev (...)

21In the last section of Atonement, Briony mentions “the reluctant process of letting go” (353), one of the characteristics of postscripts identified by Sylvie Crinquand.10 The reluctance appears in the fact that the final pages point to other stories that could be written. In “If I had the power to conjure them up at my birthday celebration...”(372), the aposiopesis negates the final point. Only her approaching dementia and death will make Briony put a final stop to her manuscript.

22Critics hold different views on the epilogue in Atonement: for Earl Ingersoll, it is “the ’real’ ending”, not an ’afterword’ to a novel whose plot has ended” (note 19, 269) but Richard Pédot thinks that the epilogue, with “the irruption of the narrator/author as dea ex machina”, does not add much: “re-reading the novel with hindsight does not alter significantly our first perceptions of Briony’s experience. We may wonder whether the novel would not come off as well without the revelation of the epilogue” (157). It is true that because the ending in Part Three is fairly closed, with no ties left undone, the last section does not give answers to questions previously left hanging in the air. In fact, Pedot’s appreciation confirms the idea that Ian McEwan’s novel is about the dominance of fiction over fact, the superiority of the storyteller’s words: “As long as there is a single copy, a solitary typescript of my final draft, then my spontaneous, fortuitous sister and her medical prince survive to love” (371). Here, the postscript corrects the ending reached before but this substitution of one ending by another is limited by the power of the storyteller. Above all, the revelation in the last section turns the narrator into an unreliable one (Ingersoll 159). Retrospective patterning is encouraged instead of coming to an end as the reader wonders what else has been misrepresented not to put Briony in too negative a light.

23When Briony reveals she has interfered with the truth and that her sister and her lover actually died during the war and were never reunited, concern for the reader is put forward: “What sense or hope or satisfaction could a reader draw from such an account?” (371) and fiction is implied to be consoling. This way of presenting things is also noticably self-serving because the consequences of her crime seem less severe. Briony does acknowledge her responsibility and the real as she refers to “the least of my offences against veracity” but, as Lynn Wells noticed, “even that note of verisimilitude is short-lived as Briony reverts to romance” (125) and to the vocabulary and style of her youth: “my spontaneous, fortuitous sister and her medical prince” (371)”.

24With its shift from “she” to “I”, from the novel to the diary, the last section foregrounds that the whole point of the novel was firstly, Briony’s atonement for her crime. The title of course signalled atonement but it is only at the end that the reader understands it as a performative act. Secondly, the shift asserts the centrality of the “authorial persona” (Head 162). In fact, the novel ends on her potentially unlimited powers as storyteller: thinking of conjuring Robbie and Cecilia, Briony says, “it’s not impossible”.

25The closing line, set apart from the rest of the text, signals closure: “But now I must sleep”. This corresponds to Gerlach’s category of “natural termination” (9) with its predictable sleep at the end of the day and death at the end of life. Significantly, this last sentence with “I” as a subject and the modal auxiliary “must” which suggests obligation imposed by oneself (and not an external force) also enhances the centrality, the all-powerfulness of the narrator.

Conclusion

26Postscripts and traditional nineteenth-century epilogues are transitional places that take the reader out of the realm of fiction but in both novels under study, the reader is invited to plunge back into the novel for “retrospective patterning”. This colonisation of a transitory zone by fiction illustrates a postmodern blurring of boundaries. The last section is transformed for different purposes: whereas in Possession the addition is like a bonus sealing the pleasant relationship between narrator and narratee, the last section of Atonement reveals that the reader has been deceived. Either way, poetic justice, the prerogative of the storyteller, is qualified but is not discarded. Similarly, both novels unsettle the closed ending without cancelling it. They each offer a neat ending, only to unravel it shortly after and show its artificiality. Neither novel offers alternative endings in the manner of the choice given by John Fowles in The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969). It is not either/or but both. In a typical postmodern “commitment to doubleness” (Hutcheon 1), the novelists try to have it both ways as the endings coexist in different worlds. They offer a neat ending, only to unravel it shortly after and show its artificiality. Indeed, the supplements do not cancel the endings out but point to a variety of narratives. In this sense, A. S.Byatt and ian McEwan do not begrudge their endings in the way Fowles does, complaining that the author fixes the fight (390). They do not deny what Ingersoll refers to as “the traditional notion of ending as the final determinant of a narrative’s meaning” (112) but with the postscript or the epilogue unsettling the ending, they point to the relativity of closure and set up a form of instability. In its last pages, Possession offers an addition that invites revision while the last section of Atonement is more radical in that it offers a correction. Ultimately, these dissonant last pages certainly unsettle the reader and ensure a place for the texts in his or her memory.

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Notes

1 Posteriority is signalled in postscript and the word epilogue comes from from Greek epilogos: ἐπί , which means in addition and λόγος, speech.

2 For instance, the last chapter of Bleak House, entitled “The close of Esther’s narrative” opens with: “Full seven happy years I have been the mistress of Bleak House. The few words that I have to add to what I have written, are soon penned [...]” (805).

3 Similarly, Michael Riffaterre evokes “retroactive reading” (“lecture rétroactive”), which is the process of revising one’s view of former material in the same text: “Au fur et à mesure de son avancée au fil du texte, le lecteur se souvient de ce qu’il vient de lire et modifie la compréhension qu’il en a eue en fonction de ce qu’il est en train de décoder. Tout au long de sa lecture il réexamine et révise, par comparaison avec ce qui précède” (17).

4 See also Guy Larroux (153-156).

5 Yet, even in this apparently closed ending, ambivalence prevails as the last lines evoke a turning-point that illustrates the narrator’s statement at the end of George Eliot’s Middlemarch – “Every limit is a beginning and an ending” (890): “It was the smell of death and destruction and it smelled fresh and lively and hopeful” (507). Indeed, the polysyndeton “and” ensures that references to the end and to beginnings are on the same level and simultaneous.

6 Jean-Louis Chevalier identifies “six moments of a crowning nature [...] before the actual coronation of the epilogue” (126).

7 Dominic Head argues that “[a] very attentive reader [...] may have begun to piece the correct picture together on a first reading; but there will still be a process of confirmation, which means that a full comprehension of the narrative technique is inevitably retrospective” (163).

8 While Anita Brookner refers to “ the ending” (Spectator), Hermione Lee uses the word “coda” (The Observer) when Boyd Tonkin and Frank Kermode use “epilogue” (The Independent, London Review of Books).

9 For instance, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paysage d’été (1873)

10 Considering the postscript as an element of the paratext and distinct from the fictional world previously created, S. Crinquand says that the addendum “trahit [...] un refus de lâcher prise, la volonté de prolonger l’autorité de l’auteur au-delà des limites du texte” (5).

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Armelle Parey, « Unsettling postscripts and epilogues in A. S. Byatt’s Possession and Ian McEwan’s Atonement », Sillages critiques [En ligne], 24 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 juillet 2018, consulté le 15 décembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/sillagescritiques/5751

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Armelle Parey

Université de Caen Normandie (ERIBIA)
Armelle Parey is a senior lecturer at the Université de Caen-Normandie, France. She focuses on contemporary English-speaking fiction and she has co-directed several collections of essays or special issues on the question of endings: Happy Endings and Films (Michel Houdiard, 2010) Literary Happy Endings, Closure for Sunny Imaginations (Shaker Verlag, 2012), L’Inachevé ou l’ère des possibles dans la littérature anglophone, Récits ouverts et incomplets (Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2014); Character migration in Anglophone Literature (E-Réa, revue électronique d’études sur le monde anglophone 13.1, 2015). She is currently working on the co-edition of essays on film and TV adaptations of endings (Last Pages, Last Shots with Shannon Wells-Lassagne). She also co-edited A.S. Byatt, Before and after Possession: Recent Critical Approaches (Book Practices and Textual Itineraries 8, PU de Nancy-Editions de Lorraine, 2017) with Isabelle Roblin and edited Prequels, Coquels and Sequels in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction (forthcoming Routledge).
Armelle Parey est maître de conférences à l’université de Caen Normandie. Elle a co-dirigé plusieurs ouvrages ou numéros de revue sur la question de la fin : Happy Endings and Films (Michel Houdiard, 2010), Literary Happy Endings, Closure for Sunny Imaginations (Shaker Verlag, 2012), L’Inachevé ou l’ère des possibles dans la littérature anglophone, Récits ouverts et incomplets, (PU de Caen, 2014) et Character migration in Anglophone Literature (E-Réa, revue électronique d’études sur le monde anglophone 13.1, 2015). Elle prépare la publication d’un ouvrage collectif sur les adaptions filmiques et télévisuelles des fins (Last Pages, Last Shots with Shannon Wells-Lassagne).
Elle a aussi co-dirigé A.S. Byatt, Before and after Possession: Recent Critical Approaches (Book Practices and Textual Itineraries 8, PU de Nancy-Editions de Lorraine, 2017) avec Isabelle Roblin et dirigé Prequels, Coquels and Sequels in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction (Routledge, à paraître).

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