(redirected from Absurdists)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


 (əb-sûr′dĭz-əm, -zûr′-)
1. A philosophy, often translated into art forms, holding that humans exist in a meaningless, irrational universe and that any search for order by them will bring them into direct conflict with this universe: "True absurdism is not less but more real than reality" (John Simon).
2. An act or instance of the ridiculous: "This strained conceit never quite locates screen equivalents for the stage absurdisms" (Village Voice).

ab·surd′ist adj. & n.


the belief that life is meaningless and that all attempts to understand the universe are doomed to fail


(æbˈsɜr dɪz əm, -ˈzɜr-)

the philosophic and literary doctrine that humans live essentially isolated in a meaningless and irrational world.
ab•surd′ist, n., adj.
References in periodicals archive ?
A 2008 exhibition series at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art dubbed a variation on this grouping the "New Absurdists.
It could be said that the so-called New Absurdists have splintered off into their own territory, just as their predecessors did decades before.
Meyer's selections set modernists against postmodernists, absurdists against realists, and popular fiction against classics.
Castillo espouses an absurdist vision in order to rebel against essentialist beliefs in culture and literature because for her and for other absurdists, human beings exist in a silent, alien universe that possesses no inherent truth or meaning.
Harris explains that the affirmation proposed by the absurdists does not invalidate the basic premise that "the world is absurd.
The present collection is dedicated to the Russian tradition of the absurd and includes works by mainly contemporary absurdists, such as Genrikh Sapgir, Viktor Pelevin, Valeri Ronshin, Aleksandr Selin, and Grigori Kruzhkov, as well as more realistic works with a pronounced absurdist element by the writers Aleksandr Kabakov, Nikolai Klimontovich, and Liudmila Shtern.
They argue that, "fractured by enormous extremes of wealth and poverty, power and powerlessness, and taste and vulgarity, Russian society provides the absurdist with an ever-flowing fount of material.
Dietz, in fact, dedicated Lonely Planet to two friends (Michael Winters and Larry Ballard, who performed the play at A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle), and stresses that "if absurdists are poets of the stage, these actors have made me more fearless in my poetry.
Granted, there may forever be "no exit" from a genre that is, in Martin Esslin's words, "one of the most representative of Western man," but three new plays in particular--Steven Dietz's Lonely Planet, Nicky Silver's Pterodactyls and David Ives's All in the Timing--capture the absurdist ethos in a manner reminiscent of Paris in the '50s.
Even by their standards Daniil Kharms is an obscure figure here, although he was one of the most outstanding and original of them, the major figure in OBERIU, a group of Soviet absurdists.
As for other precursors and influences: Kharms cites Gogol, Edward Lear, and Lewis Carroll, who could be considered nineteenth-century absurdists, and Velimir Khlebnikov, the great futurist poet (who once advocated raising "edible invisible creatures" in Soviet lakes, so that every lake will be a pot of soup already made, even if uncooked), among his favorite writers.