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The Absurd in Literature$
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Neil Cornwell

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719074097

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719074097.001.0001

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The theoretical absurd: an introduction

The theoretical absurd: an introduction

Chapter:
(p.2) 1 The theoretical absurd: an introduction
Source:
The Absurd in Literature
Author(s):

Neil Cornwell

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719074097.003.0001

This chapter introduces the concept of the absurd, which is frequently used in literature and is defined as something applied to the modern sense of human purposelessness in a universe with no meaning or value. It studies the connections the absurd has to nihilism, existentialism and ontology, and then takes a look at ‘negative theology’, which is relevant to practitioners of the absurd. From there, the discussion considers the problems related to the perception of inherent absurdity and the deconstruction of a philosophical system into nonsense, contradiction and absurdity. The chapter also considers the concept of the socio-linguistic absurd, as well as the nature of jokes and humour.

Keywords:   absurd, nihilism, existentialism, ontology, negative theology, inherent absurdity, philosophical system, nonsense, socio-linguistic absurd, jokes

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