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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

(p.2) 1 The theoretical absurd: an introduction
The Absurd in Literature

Neil Cornwell

Manchester University Press

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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