Absurdist fiction is a genre of fictional narrative, most in the form of a novel, poem, or film, that focuses on the experiences of characters in situations where they cannot find any inherent purpose in life, most represented by meaningless actions and events that call into question the certainty of existential concepts such as truth or value. Common elements in absurdist fiction include satire, dark humor, the abasement of reason, controversy regarding the philosophical condition of being "nothing." Works of absurdist fiction explore agnostic or nihilistic topics. A great deal of absurdist fiction may be irrational in nature; the absurdist humor is described as a manner of comedy that relies on non-sequiturs, violation of causality, unpredictable juxtapositions. However, the hallmark of the genre is neither comedy nor nonsense, but rather, the study of human behavior under circumstances that appear to be purposeless and philosophically absurd. Absurdist fiction posits little judgment about their actions.
The "moral" of the story is not explicit, the themes or characters' realizations — if any — are ambiguous in nature. Additionally, unlike many other forms of fiction, absurdist works will not have a traditional plot structure; the conventional elements of fiction such as plot and development tend to be absent. Some scholars explain. There is the case of the questioning of the validity of human reason, from which perceptions of the natural laws arise; the absurdist fiction does not seek to appeal to the so-called collective unconscious as it is fiercely individualistic and exclusively focuses on exploring an individual's or a being's subjective feelings of its existence. The absurdist genre grew out of the modernist literature of the late 19th and early 20th century in direct opposition to the Victorian literature, prominent just prior to this period, it was influenced by the existentialist and nihilist movements in philosophy, the Dada and surrealist movements in art. Psychologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of British Columbia published a report in 2009 showing that reading absurdist tales improved test subjects' ability to find patterns.
Their findings summarized that when people have to work to find consistency and meaning in a fragmented story, it increases “the cognitive mechanisms responsible for implicitly learning statistical regularities.” Examples of notable absurdist fiction writers include: John Swartzwelder Edward Albee Samuel Beckett Albert Camus Fyodor Dostoyevsky Jean Genet Nikolai Gogol James Kelman Franz Kafka Haruki Murakami Jean-Paul Sartre Philip K. Dick Kurt Vonnegut Kōbō Abe Daniil Kharms Osamu DazaiIndividual absurdist works include: Dino Buzzati's The Tartar Steppe Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man Joseph Heller's Catch-22 Thomas Pynchon's V. John Irving's "The World According to Garp" Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove Plays by Eugène Ionesco Some early plays of Harold Pinter D. Clark Gill’s “So Special in Dayville” Some works by Tom Stoppard Witold Gombrowicz's Cosmos The Netflix T. V. show Bojack HorsemanExamples of notable absurdist filmmakers include: Ingmar Bergman Luis Buñuel Coen brothers Yorgos Lanthimos Absurdism Absurdist humor Existentialism Literary nonsense Theatre of the Absurd List of genres Fiction of the Absurd Absurdist Monthly Review Magazine
The Unfortunates is an experimental "book in a box" published in 1969 by English author B. S. Johnson and reissued in 2008 by New Directions; the 27 sections are unbound, with a first and last chapter specified: the 25 sections between them, ranging from a single paragraph to 12 pages in length, are designed to be read in any order, giving a total of 15.5 septillion possible combinations that the story can be read in. Christopher Fowler described it as "a straightforward meditation on death and friendship, told through memories." Jonathan Coe described it as "one of the lost masterpieces of the sixties". Johnson said of the book "I did not think and do not think now, that this solved the problem completely… But I continue to believe that my solution was nearer. A sportswriter is sent to a city on an assignment, only to find himself confronted by ghosts from his past; as he attempts to report an association football match, memories of his friend, a tragic victim of cancer, haunt his mind. The city visited remains unnamed, however the novel contains an accurate description of Nottingham landmarks, its streetscape, its environment in 1969, with additional recallings of 1959.
The football ground in the novel is Nottingham Forest's City Ground, from whence the fictional football club'City' comes. New Directions Publishing BBC Radio 3 reading of The Unfortunates Éva Zsizsmann. "Mapping Memory in B. S. Johnson's The Unfortunates". Theory and Practice in English Studies 4: Proceedings from the Eighth Conference of British and Canadian Studies. 4. ISSN 1805-0859. Henry Hitchings. "Back in print: The Unfortunates". New Statesman. Chris Bench. "B. S. Johnson, The Unfortunates. New York: New Directions, 2009". Chicago Review. 55: 230–233
Paula Dunn, is an English former sprinter who competed in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 x 100 metres relay. She represented Great Britain in all three events at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, she is a five-time Commonwealth Games medallist, including winning silver and bronze in the 100 metres. During the 1990s, she competed as Paula Thomas, her personal bests of 11.15 secs in the 100 metres and 22.69 secs in the 200 metres, were the fastest times run by a British female sprinter during the 1990s. Born Paula Dunn in Bradford, West Yorkshire, she was a member of the Trafford Athletics Club, she finished sixth in the 100 metres at the 1985 AAA Championships, before making rapid progress in 1986, improving her 100 m PB from 11.67 to 11.25 secs, winning both the AAAs and UK National 100 metres titles. At that year's Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, she won a silver medal in the 100 metres, just one one-hundredth of a second behind the winner Heather Oakes but ahead of the Canadian Olympic finalists Angella Issajenko and Angela Bailey.
She teamed up with Oakes, Kathy Cook and Joan Baptiste to win gold in the 4x100 metres relay. That year she placed seventh in the 100 metres final at the European Championships in Stuttgart. In 1987, Dunn competed at the World Championships in Rome, reaching the semi-finals in the 100 metres. At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, she reached the semi-finals of the 200 metres, competed in the 100 metres and 4x100 metres relay, she placed fourth in the 60 metres final at the 1989 European Indoor Championships, before going on to finish second at both 100 & 200 metres at the 1989 European Cup in Gateshead, finishing behind the East Germans Katrin Krabbe and Silke Moller respectively. In 1989, she won her fourth consecutive AAAs 100 metres title. Between August 1986 and January 1990, Dunn was unbeaten at 100 metres by another British woman. In January 1990, she won relay silver at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, with Stephanie Douglas, Jennifer Stoute and Simmone Jacobs. In the summer, competing under her married name of Paula Thomas she won a relay bronze medal at the European Championships in Split, along with Douglas Bev Kinch and Jacobs.
She competed at the 1993 World Championships. In 1992, she had missed the entire year due to pregnancy. Dunn reached her peak in 1994, achieving her lifetime bests at that years Commonwealth Games in Victoria. In the 100 metres she won a bronze medal in 11.23 secs, having run her pb of 11.15 secs in the semi-finals. In the 200 metres, she narrowly missed a medal running another lifetime best of 22.69 secs. These times would remain the best sprint times of the decade by a British woman, she added another bronze in the sprint relay. In 1995, she competed at her fourth World Championships in Gothenburg, reaching the semi-finals in the 200 metres, she was forced to withdraw due to illness. As of 2019, Dunn ranks 10th on the UK all-time list at 12th at 200 metres. Dunn began working for UK Athletics in 2001 and was appointed Paralympic performance manager in 2009. After London 2012, she was promoted to the position of Paralympic head coach, replacing Peter Eriksson, she is the first female head coach appointed by UK Athletics.
6 Times AAAs National Champion – 100 metres 200 metres 5 Times UK National Champion – 100 metres 200 metres 2 Time AAAs Indoor Champion – 60 metres Dunn was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to Athletics. Paula Dunn at World Athletics UK All-Time Lists