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 (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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


the belief that life is meaningless and that all attempts to understand the universe are doomed to fail
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
It could be said that the so-called New Absurdists have splintered off into their own territory, just as their predecessors did decades before.
It is propelled by artists who share a kind of absurdist impulse and deviant sense of humor that plays out in disjointed character-driven vignettes set in hand -built alternative realities.
Meyer's selections set modernists against postmodernists, absurdists against realists, and popular fiction against classics.
(5.) Harris explains that the affirmation proposed by the absurdists does not invalidate the basic premise that "the world is absurd.
Althou gh Castillo experiments with generic form in each novel, she explores the same aesthetics of confrontation: the "masculinized politics of power"; "the ineffectuality of racism specific to minorities under capitalism"; and "the complex nature of romantic love, its sexual expression, and its relation to the prevailing ideologies of social power" (Candelaria 1993, 147).The aesthetics of confrontation continue within the third novel, So Far From God (1993), the work analyzed in this study, yet in this novel, Ana Castillo uses the strategies of the absurdist author to confront and explore identity transformations of the characters.
The return of America's champion absurdists Mickey Melchiondo and Aaron Freeman - aka Dean and Gene Ween - with another 12 scatalogical outings mixing up everything from country instrumental (Ice Castles) to punk-thrash (Stroker Ace) to Led Zep-grunge (Pandy Fackler) to fop-pop (Stay Forever).
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." This contention is repeatedly borne out by the stories in the collection, which are both bizarre and varied in their subject matter.
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. Kharms (1905-42) published during the 1920s and 1930s and was under constant surveillance by Soviet authorities, who finally imprisoned him.
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.
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.
Steven Dietz's Lonely Planet, with its explicit references to Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs, is self-consciously absurdist. In a shop that sells maps and globes but has never had a customer, Jody and Carl discuss questions of geography and destiny, their conversations imbued with irony (the "penicillin of the modern world," according to Carl) and always casting about for connection in a cosmos that only offers up alienation.