The absurd in literature

By Neil Cornwell

The absurd in literature


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7410-3
  • Pages: 368
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: August 2006
  • BIC Category: Literature, Literature: history & criticism, LITERARY CRITICISM / General, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: general


Neil Cornwell's study, while endeavouring to present an historical survey of absurdist literature and its forbears, does not aspire to being an exhaustive history of absurdism. Rather, it pauses on certain historical moments, artistic movements, literary figures and selected works, before moving on to discuss four key writers: Daniil Kharms, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett and Flann O'Brien.

The absurd in literature will be of compelling interest to a considerable range of students of comparative, European (including Russian and Central European) and English literatures (British Isles and American) - as well as those more concerned with theatre studies, the avant-garde and the history of ideas (including humour theory). It should also have a wide appeal to the enthusiastic general reader.


PART 1: Introductory
1. The Theoretical Absurd: An Introduction
2. Antecedents to the Absurd
PART 2: Growth of the Absurd
3. The Twentieth Century: towards the absurd
4. Around the Absurd I: Twentieth-Century Absurdist Practice
5. Around the Absurd II: The Theatre of the Absurd
PART 3: Special Authors
6. Daniil Kharms as Minimalist-Absurdist
7. Franz Kafka: Otherness in the Labyrinth of Absurdity
8. Samuel Beckett's Vessels, Voices and Shades of the Absurd
9. Flann O'Brien and the Purloined Absurd
10. Beyond the Absurd?


Neil Cornwell is Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at the University of Bristol

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