At the edge of being : absurdity and instability in the works of Franz Kafka and Harold Pinter

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Adam Cheshire (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Paula Kamenish

Abstract: The thematic similarities between the works of Franz Kafka and Harold Pinter have become a fruitful topic for critical discussion over the last few decades. In this essay I discuss what I see as one of the most important themes of Kafka and Pinter?s writing: the instability of the human condition. Through the depiction of absurd interactions between characters, as well as the fragmented and distorted environments that pervade their works, Kafka and Pinter create a tension that resonates deep within the reader and the audience. My analysis of the techniques employed by Kafka and Pinter to create this unnerving tension is intended to illustrate the unique artistry these two writers share, and show why they have come to be seen as the literary representatives of the fractured and uncertain world of modern times. Using a definition of the literary absurd as that which challenges the expected notions of human action and interaction, I delve into the way Kafka and Pinter depict the absurd in their works, and how it reveals the instability of the human condition.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Absurd (Philosophy) in literature, Kafka Franz 1883/1924--Criticism and interpretation, Mental illness in literature, Pinter Harold 1930- --Criticism and interpretation
Absurd (Philosophy) in literature
Kafka, Franz, 1883-1924 -- Criticism and interpretation
Pinter, Harold, 1930- -- Criticism and interpretation
Mental illness in literature

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