What is Existentialism in literature?

Existentialism is a philosophical and literary movement that emerged in the 20th century, particularly after World War II. It emphasizes individual existence, freedom, and choice, and explores the meaning and purpose of human life.

Existentialism argues that human beings are fundamentally free and responsible for their own lives and that they must create their own meaning and purpose in a world that has no inherent meaning. It emphasizes the importance of subjective experience and the search for authenticity and rejects the notion of objective truth or universal morality.

Existentialist writers and thinkers often explore themes such as alienation, anxiety, and the search for identity. They also often question the nature of human existence, the meaning of life, and the existence of God.

Some key figures in the development of existentialism include Jean-Paul Sartre, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Albert Camus. Their works, such as Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness” and Camus’ “The Stranger,” are characterized by a focus on the individual and a rejection of traditional philosophical and religious systems.

Existentialism has had a significant impact on literature, film, and other forms of art, as well as on the development of various social and political movements. It remains an important philosophical movement today, continuing to influence the way people think about the human condition and the search for meaning in a complex and often confusing world.

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