The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd

The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd

by Theodore Dalrymple, Francis Kenneth


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The cultural death of God has created a conundrum for intellectuals. How could a life stripped of ultimate meaning be anything but absurd? How was man to live? How could he find direction in a world of no direction? What would be tell his children that could make their lives worthwhile? What is the ground of morality?

Existentialism is the literary cri de coeur resulting from the realization that without God, everything good, true and beautiful in human life is destined to be destroyed in a pitiless material cosmos. Theodore Dalrymple and Kenneth Francis examine the main existentialist works, from Ecclesiastes to the Theatre of the Absurd, each man coming from a different perspective. Francis is a believer, Dalrymple is not, but both empathize with the struggle to find meaning in a seemingly meaningless universe.

Part literary criticism, part philosophical exploration, this book holds many surprising gems of insight from two of the most interesting minds of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943003228
Publisher: New English Review Press dba Wrld Encounter Inst
Publication date: 11/28/2018
Pages: 158
Sales rank: 617,694
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.37(d)

Table of Contents


Introduction 13

1 - The Book of Ecclesiastes (Dalrymple) 21

2 - Book of Ecclesiastes II (Francis) 25

3 - Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (Dalrymple) 32

4 - Poe’s ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ (Francis) 37

5 - Camus’ L’Étranger(Dalrymple) 46

6 - Sartre’s Nausea (Francis) 51

7 - Chekhov’s ‘A Dreary Story’ (Dalrymple) 57

8 - Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (Francis) 63

9 - Waiting for Godot (Dalrymple) 70

10 - Q&A on Waiting For Godot (Francis and Dalrymple) 76

11 - The Catcher in the Rye (Francis) 79

12 - Ionesco’s Le Roi Se Meurt (Dalrymple) 83

13 - Ionesco’s The Lesson (Francis) 88

14 - Philip Larkin’s ‘Aubade’ (Dalrymple) 97

15 - Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life

of Ivan Denisovich (Francis) 103

16 - Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Dalrymple) 112

17 - Nietzsche’s ‘Parable of the Madman’ (Francis) 117

18 - Yeats’ ‘The Second Coming’ (Dalrymple) 123

19 - Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (Francis) 128

20 - Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych (Dalrymple) 135

21 - Joyce’s ‘The Dead’ (Francis) 141

22 - Matthew Arnold’s ‘Dover Beach’ (Dalrymple) 148

23 - Georges Arnaud’s The Wages of Fear (Francis) 153

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