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Author: Neil Cornwell

This book offers a comprehensive account of the absurd in prose fiction. As well as providing a basis for courses on absurdist literature (whether in fiction or in drama), it offers a broadly based philosophical background. Sections covering theoretical approaches and an overview of the historical literary antecedents to the ‘modern’ absurd introduce the largely twentieth-century core chapters. In addition to discussing a variety of literary movements (from Surrealism to the Russian OBERIU), the book offers detailed case studies of four prominent exponents of the absurd: Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Daniil Kharms and Flann O'Brien. There is also wide discussion of other English-language and European contributors to the phenomenon of the absurd.

Towards the absurd
Neil Cornwell

is essentially a hastily assembled theatrical set. This novel has been read metaphysically, socio-politically and metaliterally; more particularly, it has been termed: ‘the most overtly “modernist” and antirealistic of Nabokov’s works’; a novel whose depicted world falls ‘within the perimeter of surrealist art’; a spectacle of ‘Chaplinesque pratfall comedy’; and, not least, ‘a classic work of absurdist literature’.65 However, as D. Barton Johnson affirms (in Connolly, 123), Cincinattus’s prison is ‘double’: not only a ‘prison fortress’ of the ‘Communazist state

in The absurd in literature