Absurdist fiction

Absurdist fiction

Absurdist fiction is a genre of fiction, drama or poetry that centers on the behavior of absurd characters, situations or subjects. While a great deal of absurdist fiction is humorous in nature, the hallmark of the genre is not humor, but rather the study of human behavior under circumstances that are highly unusual. Absurdist fiction posits little judgment about characters or their actions; that task is left to the reader.

Unlike many other forms of literature, absurdist works will not necessarily have a traditional plot structure (ie rising action, climax, falling action). Similarly, the "moral" of the story is generally not explicit, and the characters are often ambiguous in nature.

Due to its non-conformist nature, many readers struggle with Absurdism when they are first exposed to it. Indeed, it would be accurate to describe absurdism and absurdist fiction as an "acquired taste". Conversely, this genre is a favorite among scholars because it lends itself so well to interpretation, discussion, and debate.

Absurdism grew out of the modernist literature of the late 19th and early 20th century as a direct opposition to the Victorian literature which was prominent just prior to this period.


*Douglas Adams - "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (1979)
*Edward Albee - "The American Dream" (1961)
*Samuel Beckett - "Waiting for Godot" (1952)
*Albert Camus - "The Stranger" (1942), "The Plague" (1947), "The Fall" (1956)
*Lewis Carroll - "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1865)
*Joseph Heller - "Catch-22" (1961)
*Franz Kafka - "The Metamorphosis" (1912)
*Daniil Kharms - "Old Woman" (1939)
*Tom Robbins - "Still Life with Woodpecker" (1980)
*Tom Stoppard - "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" (1966)
*Patrick Süskind - "Perfume" (1985)
*Kurt Vonnegut - "Breakfast of Champions" (1973)

External links

* [http://www.SanCairoDiCopenhagen.com/tbpmd.html The Banjo Players Must Die] , humorous absurdist eschatology
* [http://www.absurdist.cc/ The New Absurdist]
* [http://alangullette.com/lit/absurd/ Fiction of the Absurd]
* [http://www.absurdistjournal.com/ Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens - A Journal of Absurd and Surreal Fiction]
* [http://amr.obook.org/index.php Absurdist Monthly Review Magazine]
* [http://www.gonelawn.com The Gone Lawn Excavation Project: contemporary absurdist authors, journals & presses]

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