The word absurdist became fashionable as a literary term after its consistent use by the French novelist and essayist Albert Camus (1913-1960) to describe fictions set in worlds where we seem at the mercy of incomprehensible systems. These systems may work as metaphors of the human mind - outward manifestations of what J.G.BALLARD means when he uses the term INNER SPACE - or they may work as representations of a cruelly arbitrary external world, in which our expectations of rational coherence, whether from God or from human agencies, are doomed to frustration, as in the works of Franz KAFKA. In this encyclopedia we cross-refer works of Absurdist sf to the blanket entry on FABULATION, but do not thereby wish to discount the usefulness of Absurdist sf as a separate concept, especially when we are thinking about some sf written between about 1950 and 1970. During this period Brian W.ALDISS, Ballard, David R.BUNCH, Jerzy KOSINSKI, Michael MOORCOCK, Robert SHECKLEY, John T.SLADEK, Kurt VONNEGUT Jr and many other writers tended to create metaphorical worlds shaped externally by a governing PARANOIA, and internally tortured by the psychic white noise of ENTROPY. Kafka haunted this work, of course - because Kafka can easily be transposed into terms that suggest a political protest. Most Absurdist writers were also indebted (a debt they tended freely to acknowledge) to the 19th-century Symbolist tradition, as exemplified by figures like Jean-Marie VILLIERS DE L'ISLE-ADAM, and to its 20th-century successors, from the 'pataphysics of Alfred JARRY to the Surrealism of Andre Breton (1896-1966) and many others. In the end, however, it might be suggested that Absurdist writers - as they did with Kafka - translated the Symbolist and Surrealist traditions into political terms: in the end, Absurdist sf can be seen as a protest movement. The world - they said - should not be absurd.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • absurdist — [ab sʉr′dist, abzʉr′dist; əb sʉr′dist, əbzʉr′dist] adj. 1. designating or holding the belief that human existence is absurd, irrational, meaningless, etc. 2. of, relating to, or associated with the theater of the absurd n. an absurdist thinker,… …   English World dictionary

  • absurdist — adjective Date: 1946 of, relating to, or characterized by the absurd or by absurdism ; absurd < absurdist literature > < an absurdist sense of humor > • absurdist noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • absurdist — [[t]æbsɜ͟ː(r)dɪst[/t]] ADJ: usu ADJ n An absurdist play or other work shows how absurd some aspect of society or human behaviour is. ... La Peste , the last volume in the absurdist trilogy …   English dictionary

  • absurdist — /ab serr dist, zerr /, adj. 1. of, pertaining to, or dealing with absurdism or the absurd. n. 2. an adherent of absurdism, esp. a writer whose work is characterized by absurdist ideas. [1950 55; ABSURD + IST] * * * …   Universalium

  • absurdist — I. də̇st noun ( s) Etymology: absurd (herein) + ist (I) : a proponent or adherent of absurdism ; especially : a writer who deals with absurdist themes …   Useful english dictionary

  • absurdist — 1. noun An advocate of absurdism 2. adjective Of, or relating to absurdism …   Wiktionary

  • Absurdist — Ab|sur|dist der; en, en <zu ↑...ist> Vertreter des Absurdismus …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • absurdist — É™b sÉœrdɪst /É™b sɜːd n. advocate of absurdism, one who believes that the universe is irrational and meaningless …   English contemporary dictionary

  • absurdist — ab·surd·ist …   English syllables

  • absurdist — ab|sur|dist sb., en, er, erne (tilhænger af absurdismen) …   Dansk ordbog

  • absurdist — s ( en, er) KONST …   Clue 9 Svensk Ordbok

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