Existentialism and Literature


The connection between philosophy and literature goes back at least to Plato, who has a well reputed fame in philosophy as well as literature. Schopenhauer, Russell, Bergson and … are the other philosophers whose philosophical works, according to critics, are comparable to the best literary works. In order to express their philosophical viewpoints they have had access to an appropriate language. But as for the existentialists, and their attitude to literature and genre this is not the case; their phenomenological approach, lyric, and sentimental thought and their viewpoint of man as 'Being-in-world', are the main reason why their philosophical thought was colored with literature. The priority of Existence to Essence and the determining role of human situations, connect this philosophy (for French existentialist) with the novel, fable and drama. And believing in the ability of poetry to the disclosure of Being (for German existentialist and especially for Heidegger) was the medium connecting poetry with existentialist philosophy.