Absurd, Prose

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

The “absurd”, according to Chris Baldick’s

The Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms

(OUP, 1990), is “a term derived from the existentialism of Albert Camus, and often applied to the modern sense of human purposelessness in a universe without meaning or value”. Baldick goes on to single out the works of Kafka, and to stress the “theatre of the absurd” phenomenon, highlighting Beckett’s

Waiting for Godot

. Indeed, it is largely through Theatre of the Absurd, and in particular Martin Esslin’s study bearing that title (first published in 1961) that the “absurd”, as a label, has achieved widespread currency through the second half of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, the citing here of the names of Kafka and Camus suggests a strong presence of the absurd in prose…

2684 words

Citation: Cornwell, Neil. "Absurd, Prose". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 February 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=11, accessed 15 June 2024.]

11 Absurd, Prose 2 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.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.