Guide to Literary Terms

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What is Absurdism?

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After various literary and art movements that concentrated on the "real" and the "logical" (for example, Modernism, Realism, etc.), artists and writers began to explore non-logical possibilities by moving away from the "real" (such as Surrealism, which means "above logic" , and Dada, which simply ignored logic); one movement away from the logical was Absurdism, the expression of man's impulses not controlled by reason.  By exploring the "absurd," the writers could describe something more than simply a three-dimensional existence, and could combine parts of "being a human being" connected only by proximity and imagination.  The underlying premise is that the universe itself is absurd, despite the illusion of order given to it by rational beings or science; thus, Absurdism helped the existential argument that we are not "designed," but in fact design ourselves.

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