Publication Year

1974

Keywords

literature, Sartre, Camus, comparative literature, existentialism, critical thinking

Disciplines

Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature | Philosophy

Abstract

Existentialism is a mode of inquiry which lends itself conveniently to literary utilization. In its communication of static and dramatic patterns, its ordering of capricious experience, some aspect of the human situation is revealed for critical examination. "Becoming," with its subject of experience, solidifies into "Being," with experience made linguistically accessible. Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, finding such possibilities attractive, dealt with the despairing, anguished elements of the human situation which may be graphically portrayed through the indirection of literature which re-creates in readers the same existential awareness which their authors thought vital. When Camus observed, "feelings and images multiply philosophy by ten," he implied that one play may easily communicate what vapid, philosophical discourse might never make "existentially" cogent. Thus those of an existential bent, in order to communicate the nature of an experience which arises from a confrontation with false, traditional value, seek literature as a means of expression.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

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