Absurdist or modernist literature is a new phenomenon to take over the literary world. Its creation dates back to merely a century ago when writers chose to define their work with the help of ideas which baffled and confused their audiences. The prose was styled in a fashion that could be understood by few and it was only the deciphering reader who could understand the undertones behind the writer’s work.
The best literary piece was considered to be one which could imitate reality. Thus, the most realistic of works sought immediate fame, be it their reflection as works of satire, drama or romance. Absurd or modernist literature strayed far away from such concepts. Instead, it chose to dwell in a place where logic and sense were non-existent. The fantastic was portrayed as the real and the continuous contradiction of events depicted this world’s far-stretch from reality. The heroes were no longer men in armor; instead these new heroes were grotesque and lacked any kind of morality and belief. The world of the absurd allowed for reality to be warped and manipulated into an ugly yet fantastic form.
The beauty of these works lay in the paradox they created. The writer made tremendous use of symbolism to instill his message to the audience. Be it the imagery, scenery or linguistics, each part of the works had a large part to play. It also meant that each writer had their own take on the reason behind the creation of such a play. Be it their desire to inculcate political change or the need to show the sorry state of society, absurd literature culminated from the flaws seen by the writer and placed in an incongruous art form.
Though many feel absurd modernist literature to have taken its roots from the works of Albert Camus, this form existed much earlier than that. Aristophanes used the chorus in his plays to depict this hallowed literary form, where the entire illusion of the play was disrupted by this apparently meaningless singing. However, the formal beginnings of absurd literature arose from the works of Camus and were later followed by more modern writers like Arthur Adamov, Eugéne Ionesco, and Samuel Beckett.
Other men who gained fame as writers of absurdist literature were Nikolai Gogol and Daniil Kharms. However, their works contained an element that other writers lacked. Their ability to comment on reality was deeply infused with the portrayal of society with a number of symbolic meanings. This writing style set them apart from the rest of the absurdist literature group.
Thus, this modernist literature form is one that continues to exist in the world today. It allows the individual to escape from the defined set of laws, determined by society and to enter a world where fantasy and ingenuity are the key to survival.