Challenges traditional scholarship on absurdist literature, privileging the reader and the genre’s stylistic achievements.
What is the literary absurd? What are its key textual features? How can it be analysed? How do different readers respond to absurdist literature? Taking the theories and methodologies of stylistics as its underlying analytical framework, Reading the Absurd tackles each of these questions. Selected key works in English literature are examined in depth to reveal significant aspects of absurd style. Its analytical approach combines stylistic inquiry with a cognitive perspective on language, literature and reading which sheds new light on the human experience of literary reading. By exploring the literary absurd as a linguistic and experiential phenomena, while at the same time reflecting upon its essential historical and cultural situation, Joanna Gavins brings a new perspective to the absurd aesthetic.