[Beckett]:  Absurdity, and the Theater of the Absurd
"In a universe that is suddenly deprived of illusions and of light, man feels a stranger.  His is an irremediable exile. . . .  This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, truly constitutes the feeling of Absurdity."  (Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus).
Absurd: "In contemporary literature and criticism, a term applied to the sense that human beings, cut off from their roots, live in meaningless isolation in an alien universe.  Although the literature of the absurd employs many of the devices of expressionism and surrealism, its philosophical base is a form of existentialism that views human beings as moving from the nothingness from which they came to the nothingness with they will end through an existence marked by anguish and absurdity.  They live in a world in which there is no way to establish a significant relationship between themselves and their environment. . . .  Extreme forms of illogic, inconsistency, and nightmarish fantasy mark the literature expressing this concept." (Holman's Handbook to Literature)
Theater of the Absurd:  "As the term suggests, the function of such theatre is to give dramatic expression to the philosophical notion of the 'absurd', a notion that had received widespread diffusion following the publication of Albert Camus's essay Le mythe de Sisyphe in 1942.  To define the world as absurd is to recognize its fundamentally mysterious and indecipherable nature, and this recognition is frequently associated with feelings of loss, purposelessness, and bewilderment.  To such feelings, the Theatre of the Absurd gives ample expression, often leaving the observer baffled in the face of disjointed, meaningless, or repetitious  dialogues, incomprehensible behavior, and plots which deny all notion of logical or 'realistic' development."  (Oxford Companion to English Literature)

Theater of the Absurd:  "Conceived in perplexity and spiritual anguish, the theater of the absurd portrays not a series of connected incidents telling a story but a pattern of images presenting people as bewildered beings in an incomprehensible universe."  (Holman)

Grotesque: "The interest in the grotesque is usually considered an outgrowth of interest in the irrational, distrust of any cosmic order, and frustration at humankind's lot in the universe.  In this sense, grotesque is the merging of the comic and tragic, resulting from our loss of faith in the moral universe essential to tragedy and in a rational social order essential to comedy. . . .  Thomas Mann sees it as the 'most genuine style' for the modern world and the 'only guise in which the sublime may appear' now." (Holman)

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