Ways With Words 2010

From The Telegraph:

Mcewan_1640441c 'Something is missing in our culture,” Ian McEwan proclaims. “We can’t quite celebrate the scientific literary tradition.” And then a little later: “We overvalue the arts in relation to the sciences.” McEwan is taking questions at the end of a lecture he has given to the Royal Society of Literature on Darwin and Einstein and the ways in which notions of “originality” might relate to the sciences compared with the arts. “I want to try and usefully blur the distinctions between the two realms,” McEwan tells me the next morning. “On the one hand there is a scientific tradition. Scientists do stand on the shoulders of giants, just as do writers. Conversely, in the arts we do make discoveries. We do refine our tools. So I am arguing with, or at least playing with, the idea that art never improves.”

McEwan is rare among his peers in taking an active interest in the sciences — and in welcoming scientific ideas into his fiction. “I’m not interested in a form of modern intellectual who has no interest in science,” he says. Since he wrote Black Dogs (1992), which used a failing marriage to dramatise the argument between rationalism and faith, rationalist ideas have won out, and have often been the driving force of his novels.

More here.