Absurdist Literature


Absurdist Literature

Absurdist Literature (def.) - works of drama or prose fiction which subvert traditional assumptions or depictions of the human condition. Absurdist literature typically views the human condition as fundamentally absurd, and the universe as irrational and nonsensical. As a rule, absurdist literature is itself absurd, as most writers of absurdist literature believe that this is the only way to adequately represent the absurdity of mankind itself.

Absurdist literature not only subverts tradition ideas about the human condition but also traditional ideas about dramatic and literary structure. The plots of such works are often rambling and meaningless, with little character or plot development. The characters themselves may attempt to make sense of their meaningless existence through nonsensical dialogue or meaningless action, but ultimately, the pointlessness of their existence is only intensified when the plot of the drama or work of fiction reaches no discernible conclusion. 

The structure of absurdist literature - or lack, thereof - is typically a deliberate attempt by an author to illustrate the futility of the human condition, when traditional culture dictates that human beings must have a purpose, and be part of a rational, ordered society. By subverting these traditional values, authors of absurdist literature attempt to protest against such traditional views, and show the absurd reality of human nature, and the world in which they inhabit, often raising questions as to what the human condition truly is, and whether human beings have any true purpose in life.

Although absurdist literature has existed as early as 1896, in Alfred Jarry's French play, 'Ubu roi' ('Ubu the King'), and later in the 1920's by Franz Kafka ('The Trial' and 'Metamorphosis') - who was strongly influenced by the surrealist and expressionist movements - contemporary


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