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Chapter I

Existentialism: Theory, Text and Context

Chapter I

Existentialism: Theory, Text and Context

Existentialism is a modern philosophical movement which is concerned with the meaning of man's existence. But, according to Margaret Drabble, the editor of The Oxford Companion to English Literature, it is "somewhat loosely associated philosophical doctrines and ideas which found expression in the work of such men as Sartre, Heidegger, Marcel, Camus and Karl Jaspers (1883-

1969)."1 She further adds, "Though the theories advanced by

different existentialist writers diverge widely in many important respects, so that it would be misleading to speak of a philosophical 'school' or 'movement', certain underlying themes can be singled

out as characteristic."2 Existentialists tend, for example, to

emphasize the unique and particular in human experience; they place the individual person at the centre of their pictures of the world, and are suspicious of philosophical or psychological ' doctrines that obscure this essential individuality by speaking as if there were some abstract 'human nature', some set of general laws or principles, to which human beings are determined or required by their common humanity to conform. Margaret Drabble discusses that in Existentialism, each person is "what he or she chooses to be or become, and cannot escape responsibility for character or deeds by claiming that they are the predetermined consequence of factors beyond one's power to control or resist; not can we justify what we


do in terms of external or 'objective' standards imposed upon us

from without."3 The exponents of Existentialism are the European philosophers like Dane Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980) and Albert Kamus (1913-1960). In United States, Paul Tillick and Rollo May also propounded the existential thought. Though the movement flourished after World War II, yet its origin can be traced in the past. The old existentialism counts among its thinkers and exponents like Socrates. St. Augustine and Pascal and their centre of philosophy is the individual man. He has a strange nature which moves like a pendulum between earth and heaven that Hamlet says in his famous soliloquy, 'what a strange piece of work is man', at once so great and so helpless, a compound of noble and ignoble impulses, warring within him, an image of God yet born with the taint of original sin, on immortal soul, yet 'the quintessence of dust'. The very nature of his existence is a burden, a mystery which is woven into the fabric of tension, fear, anxiety and is always questioning about his 'self' or 'being' like Hamlet, 'to be or not to be' that becomes the burden of every man. Ralph Harper traces the beginning of existentialism in Judaism and in the Christian Bible and the sanctity of individual's being was protected for several centuries by Christian Humanism. According to Indian philosopher, S. Radhakrishnan, we can trace the roots of existentialism in Buddhism and Indian Upanishads. Buddhism conceptualises that man should realize his responsibility


to transcend his temporal existence. Lord Buddha emphasizes to "work out your own salvation with diligence." Dr. Radhakrishnan, therefore, remarks, "Existentialism is a new name for an ancient method. The Upanishads and Buddhism insist on a knowledge of the self 'atmanam viddhi."4 Emmanuel Mounier traces the origin of

existentialism in the stoic message of Socrates, "Know thyself" and emphasizes that "there is no philosophy which is not existentialist."5 Maurice Freidman defines existentialism as "a

movement from the abstract and general to particular and concrete."6 M.W. Heinemann treats existentialism in all its forms as

"a philosophy of crisis. It expresses the crisis of man openly and directly."7 Roily May and others observe, "Existentialism is

immersed in and arises directly out of western man's anxiety, estrangement and conflicts and is indigenous to our culture."8 Existentialism is, in fact, a comprehensive philosophy which includes the atheism of Sartre, the Protestantism of Kierkegaard, the Roman Catholicism of Marcel and Judaism of Buber. But all these philosophers may be broadly divided into two main groups— Christian as well as theistic. In general terms, existentialism concentrates on human existence in a concrete and individual manner. It highlights the significance of individual freedom which leads to faith in God in context of religious existentialists and to faith in man's self in the case of atheistic existentialists. John Paul Sartre declares that if God does not exist, there is at least one being "whose existence precedes essence,"9 and a being which exists before it can be defined. Heidegger calls that man as "a being" and


associates it with "human reality". F.H. Heinemann disagrees with Emmanuel Mounier who believes that existentialism is a return of religious elements into the world and holds that "the way of existentialism has led from religion through agnosticism and atheism back to religion." 10

We can discuss the general features of existentialism as a protest against rationalism as well as against such views which considers man as a thing or against the patterns of human organization which kills the naturalness and spontaneity of man as an individual. Democratic and capitalistic society also cultivates the unnecessary regimentation of a totalitarian ordering of life. It generates a distinction between objective and subjective truth and also regards man as an ambiguous and contradictory creature who becomes an episode in the vast process of nature from the outside but man is universe in himself from inside. Tragic alienation is a theme of existentialist writers from Kierkegaard to Marcel and Barret rightly remarks that "the themes that observe both modern art and existentialist philosophy are the alienation and strangeness of man in his world, the

contradictoriness and contingency of human existence." 11 Existentialists display the predicament of modern man whose life is hopelessly tragic, lonely, alienated and full of despair and anxiety which arises from his loss of self and loss of his world. Camus in The Stranger and Kafka in The Castle depict a man as a stranger to his world. He feels himself homeless and is disconnected from the people and the society and like an outsider, he wanders in despair


and pessimism. Kierkegaard is preoccupied with self which is lost in the masses. Marcel treats man as a machine in the present society and when a man dies, the company replaces him like a worn-out machinery. It reflects the meaninglessness and purposelessness of man which is the root cause of his suffering, anxiety, fear and despair. Sartre believes in the dimension of self and considers man as a conscious being who suffers from a sense of emptiness within. He is free to make his choice but he is measured by what people think of him. One of the characters of No Exit aptly remarks, "Alone, none of us can save himself, we are linked together inextricably." 12 Man is the corner stone of Sartre's philosophy who

after the total denial of God, becomes his own salvation and the creater of his own values. He is committed to choice and action but his choice stands not for himself but for all men in society. He is overburdened with social responsibility as his choice becomes the choice of mankind because nothing can be good for him without being good for others. Man's experience of the absurd is another important theme of existentialist writings. The term 'absurd' means 'out of harmony' and in common usage, 'absurd' may simply mean 'ridiculous'. In an essay on Kafka, Ionesco defined the term as follows: 'Absurd is that which is devoid of purpose .cut of from his religious, metaphysical and transcendental roots, man is lost, all his actions become senseless, absurd, useless." 13 The term 'absurd' was used for first time by Kierkegaard who described Christianity as absurd because no man could comprehend or justify it according to rational


principles. Sartre used it as the pointlessness of life and the terrors of non-being. He maintains that universe is purposeless, it is neither good nor bad, neither moral or immoral. The working of universe is mysterious, so is man's existence. Human life is absurd because "there's nothing, nothing, absolutely no reason for existing." 14 Albert Camus believes that absurdity is a widespread emotional experience which expresses the disparity between man's intention and the reality he encounters. According to Camus, individual consciously or unconsciously experiences anxiety, disappointment, estrangement or horror of death. There are only two ways of solving the dilemma—suicide or leap of faith. Death is, thus, one of the features of the absurd. Suicide means a voluntary moving forward and anticipation of death in time. Existentialism is thus a modern philosophical movement of human existence living through a period of crisis which is multi­ dimensional phenomenon. It deals with psychological, sociological, philosophical, psycho-pathological concerns of man. We can witness the great existentialists in literature and philosophy like Gabriel Marcel who expresses his philosophy through his plays; Sartre through his plays and novels; Kafka, Dostoevsky and Camus through novels. We can also find existentialist themes in the plays of Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Jean Anonith and Henric Ibsen. Other existentialist writers are T.S. Eliot, Samuel Becket, Eugene Ionesco, Harold Pinter, Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Graham Greene, Thomas Hardy, Iris Murdoch, Earnest Hemingway, Norman Mailer and Carson McCullers. Other literary celebrities in


India figure as Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, Mulk Raj Anand, R.K. Narayan, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Nissim Ezekiel, Keki N. Daruwalla, Asif Currimbhoy, Girish Karnad and O.P. Bhatnagar who have presented the struggle of man for his existence in their works.


The present chapter will highlight the tenets of existentialism from the period of Socrates to present time and will concentrate on its characteristics as a modern philosophical thought. Existentialism is one of the most influential philosophies of the twentieth century. Etymologically, the term 'existentialism' is made by adding the suffix 'ism' to the word 'existential' which is an adjective and whose substantive is 'existence'. The Latin'existential', the German 'existenz', the French 'existence' and the Sanskrit 'asti' are its equivalents. The word 'existence' means the 'state of existing

or being." 15 But for the existentialists the term refers to 'the act of

existing' rather than to 'state of existing'. Existence, therefore, is an act, the actual transition from possibility into reality16 and, thus is a

living, changing concrete fact.17 'To be' is 'to live' and 'to live' is 'to act' and 'to act' is 'to choose' and 'to choose' is 'to invent values' and 'to invent values' is to be 'morally responsible'. Man, thus becomes a moral which is being by necessity. Existentialism deals with a philosophical movement of man's disillusionment and despair. Certain thinkers present a gloomy picture of it by describing it as "the shocking, the sordid or the obscene." 18 They take the term as "nearly meaningless" 19 and


consider it as the negative, morbidly individualistic philosophy which is devoid of values of any kind. According to them, this branch of philosophy has been charged with extreme subjectivism, pessimism and even nihilism. But after a close analysis of this trend and the circumstances under which it developed, it can be said that existentialism does not necessarily aim at plunging man into despair for a genuine life, a life that has some purpose, sense and meaning. It is worthwhile to observe one of the characters in Camus's play Caligula who says that 'To live one's life is a little thing and I shall have the courage to do so if it is necessary, but to see the meaning of this life dissipated, to see our reason for existing disappear, that is what is unbearable. One can not live without meaning.' The beginning of modern existential thought can be traced back as the Philosophy of Pascal (1623-1662) who took a keen interest in the problems of human existence and emphasised man to know himself. Modern existentialism of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, which became very popular particularly after the two World Wars, owes its origin to two main sources led by Soren Kierkegaard (1913-55), a Danish thinker, and the other by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), a German philosopher who developed two different directions—one Christian and theistic whose exponent is Kierkegaard while the other is anti-Christian and atheistic whose leader was Nietzsche. The German Professor Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) and the French thinker Gabriel Marcel (1889- 1973) adopted the Kierkegaardian line of philosophical faith which


is considered as a 'metaphysic of hope'. On the other hand, the German Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) and the French intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre (1905) cultivated it on the Nietzschean philosophy of atheism and godlessness. Albert Camus (1913-60) has developed a kind of existentialism of the absurd. In his approach, Camus has been described as an anti-theist rather than an atheist Historical background and the genesis of existentialism is very conspicuous in which the two great World Wars had played a vital role in creating the mindset of people of the modern world. The modern world is facing the problem of extinction caused by the fatal nuclear weapons invented by science and people find little hope of the survival and resurrection of humanity. Machines had quickly replaced man and the foundation of love had been shaken and made life mechanical as well as without any context of life. There existed iron in the soul of man which had negated fraternity and had alienated man from his society. It is noteworthy to record the opinion of Sorokin in his book The Crisis of Our Age who said "Red human blood flows in broad streams from one end of the earth to the other. Ever-expanding misery spreads its gloomy shadow over longer and larger areas. The fortunes, happiness and comfort of untold millions have disappeared. Peace, security and safety have vanished. Prosperity and well-being have prevailed in many countries but a memory, freedom a mere myth. A great tornado sweeps over the whole of



The root cause of down-fall and decay of humanity is

untraceable in the existing society outwardly. Its root is lying deep

in the prevailing culture itself.

the main issue of our time is not democracy versus totalitarianism, nor liberty versus despotism, neither is it capitalism versus communism, nor pacifism versus militarism, nor internationalism versus nationalism, nor any of the current popular issues daily proclaimed by statesmen and politicians, professors and ministers. All these popular issues are but small side issues, the sensate form of culture and a way of life versus another in different form.21

The same crisis created by the last two world wars has not only

changed the entire scenario of the world but has also degraded and

demoralised man and has compelled the thinkers to tackle the

problems in a new perspective. An exquisite feeling pertaining to it

is poured out in such words:

In our view the influence of existentialist movement can be understood only as the aftermath of the two world- wars as Trophy events. If material possessions are lost in an instant, if friends and relations are killed every day the only thing left is oneself, one's own existence.22

The entire existential literature is pregnant with the burning

human situations and problems which can be characterised under

five headings: depersonalising, faithfulness, reification, levelling

down, hollowing through constant noise, shame in almost all

spheres and surrender to the instincts. The sincere valuation of

existentialism can be made by looking into the devastating and

sinking culture of the present era. "Existentialism, rather, is an


expression of profound dimension of modern spiritual and emotional temper and is shown in almost all aspects of our

culture/' 23 Further, it is explained with clarity that "existentialism, in short, is the endeavour to understand man by cutting flow the cleavage between subject and object which has bedeviled western thoughts and science, since shortly after the Renaissance." 24

Existentialism is, in fact, a comprehensive philosophy which includes the atheism of Sartre, the Protestantism of Kierkegaard, the Roman Catholicism of Marcel and Judaism of Buber. But all these philosophers may be broadly divided into two main groups— Christian and theistic. In very general terms, existentialism may be described as an attempt to reach the inmost core of human existence in a concrete and individual manner. It stresses the significance of individual freedom which leads to faith in God in the case of religious existentialists and to faith in man's self in the case of ' atheistic existentialists. An awareness of man's inability to manage his life all by himself results in his readiness for faith in God. Sartre declares that if God does not exist, there is at least one being "whose existence precedes essence." 25 A being which exists before it

can be defined. That being is man or what Heidegaar considers as the human reality. The existentialism has produced Christian faith as well as nihilistic self-assertion. F.H. Heinemann does not agree with Emmanuel Mounier who views existentialism as a return of religious elements into the world. However, he holds that "The way of existentialism has led from religion through agnosticism." 26


In existentialism, we can find the undercurrents of revolts which is a fountain-head of several widely different revolts against traditional philosophy. The refusal to belong to any school of thought, the repudiation of the adequacy of any body of beliefs whatever and specially of systems, and a marked dissatisfaction with traditional philosophy as superficial, academic and remote from life can be treated as the heart of existentialism. Facts, whatever may be behind it, certain flowing, flourishing and burning problems alongwith such current of thought, should be studied impartially and sympathetically. Existential thinkers

concentrate on truth which involves a profound self-examination and they produce such plays, novels, journals and meditations. In fact, it condemns all objective philosophies which concentrates on reason instead of polarities like freedom and destiny, anxiety and courage, isolation and community, guilt and forgiveness. It highlights that these polarities should not remain perpetually at the centre of vital thinking.










rationalism, which find it easy to assume that reality can be grasped

primarily or exclusively by intellectual means. Secondly, it stands against mechanism and naturalism; and in the context of social theory, it stands against all patterns of human organizations where the mass mentality strides the spontaneity and uniqueness of the individual. Thirdly, existentialism creates a distinctive feature between subjective and objective truth, and gives priority to the former against latter. In fourth, existentialism regards man as


fundamentally ambiguous as it is closely linked with his predominant stress on freedom. It perceives the human situation which is filled with contradiction and tension that cannot be resolved by means of exact or consistent thinking. In brief, man appears as a contradictory creature. Externally, he looks like an episode in the system of nature, but internally every man is a universe in himself. Finally, when stress surmounts upon freedom of man, it can lead him either towards faith in God or in a state of utter faithlessness leading downright to atheism. "Subjectivism, intuitionism, romanticism and even hyper­ emotionalism of different types find free and spontaneous manifestation in the writings of most existentialists. The existentialists are frankly and consciously opposed to all metaphysical speculations regarding ultimate things carried on through intellectual concepts and symbols, that cann't penetrate beneath the common husk of reality. Like that of all mystics, their honest motto is 'to be' (to exist) rather than 'to know'.27 Thus

"Existentialism", writes H.J. Blackham, "begins as a voice raised in protest against the absurdity of pure thought, a logic which is not the logic of thinking but the immanent movements of Being. It recalls the spectator of all time and of all existence from the speculations of pure thoughts to the problems and possibilities of his own conditioned thinking as an existing individual seeking to know how to live and to live the life he knows." 28


Existentialism is not concerned with points of school doctrine but with the recall of philosophy to the existing individual who is striving to live in the light of reflection. Existentialism, the voice of individuality and freedom is important in his society. The existing individual thinkers realise his possibilities is the real which flows through him in context of his individuality. Where the reality is beyond himself not in an act of thought, but in thoughtful acts. The individual, thus, is not a quite solitary person in the vast desert but he has to maintain his relations with the existing society. According to Sartre, individual is a reflection of society, he not only stands for himself but also for all men who build a society. "And when we say that man is responsible for himself, we don't mean that he is responsible only for his own personality; but that he

is responsible for all men." 29 Sartre's social philosophy can be seen

as a moral one, because man is morally committed to choose. Man is tragic for Sartre because of the extremes he will reach in attempting to seek and maintain conformity. Man as existent is a mystery, a paradox, and his nature and purpose cannot be summed up. It is possible to say of human reality that in each individual case, 'it is but it is not possible to say

'what it is'.30 Man does not live as pure existence but he may

become aware of himself as such in the experience of Nausea. Sartre finds himself "astonished before this life which is given to me— given for nothing." 31


Three theories of motivation have been distinguished within Sartre's theory of man. These three theories can be termed as fundamental desire, original project and authentic existence. All three might be classified as subjective, since they trace the source of value to the individual consciousness. Sartre writes, "Existentialism, in our sense of the word, is a doctrine that does render human life possible, a doctrine also which affirms that every truth and every human action imply both an environment and a human subjectivity."32 He emphatically proclaims that man is the foremost living creature and emphasises, "we mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world and define himself afterwards." 33 Sartre writes, "Existentialism is nothing else

but an attempt to draw the full conclusions from a consistently atheist position." 34 According to Sartre, "man is both the recogniser

of value and the bearer

Life is a selection in different adverse situations, struggles and upheavals. Man shapes up his personality in such opposite circumstances. He defines life himself as Sartre observes: "I am thus responsible for himself and for all men, and I am creating a certain image of man as I would have him be. In fashioning myself, I fashion man." 36 He further suggests, "what I choose is always the

better and nothing can be better for us unless it is better for all."37 The nature of the values which impersonal disharmony promotes and the arguments by which the existentialists support their position, have greatly emphasised human relationship. Sartre says that our "being-for-others" is very fit as fundamental as our "being-

of value." 35


for-ourselves," that the one dimension of our being has "equal dignity" with the other. Sartre says, "My original fall" is the existence of the other shame like pride—is the apprehension of myself as a nature

although that very nature escapes me and is unknowable as such." 38

Conflict is the original meaning of being-for-others. Being-for- itself strives for freedom from the hold of the other, the other also strives for a similar freedom. Both seek to enslave one another. As being-for-itself exists by means of the other's freedom, he has no security, he is in danger in this freedom. Love is a mode of being- for-others. In its being-for-others, love holds the seed of its own destruction. The beloved, in fact, apprehends the lover as one other as object among others. The other's awakening is always possible at any moment he can make the lover appear as an object, hence there remains the lover's perpetual insecurity. Love does not demand the abolition of the other's freedom but rather his enslavement as freedom, that is freedom's self-enslavement. Sartre too recognises the significance of interpersonal relationship. Intersubjectivity in Sartre, like that of Heidegger, is a dimension of the self. Man is a conscious being. He has a sense of emptiness within. The awareness of this emptiness within leads him from inauthentic to authentic existence. For Sartre, as for Heidegger, human being is a being with unrealized potential. He has no essence. He is, therefore, not wholly determined, but is free to fill the internal gap in his nature in whatever way he chooses. There are three modes of being according to Sartre—'for itself' pour-sai 'in-


itself en sai and 'being-for-others—pour autrui. Man is free to make his choice. But he exists in the eyes of other people and his estimate of himself comes from what other people think of him. The other is indispensable to his existence. The others are as real to us as our own self. One of the characters of 'No Exit' aptly remarks: "Alone, none of us can save himself or herself, we're linked together inextricably."39 We reach our own self in the presence of others. "Hence, let us at once announce the discovery of a world which we shall inter-subjectivity, this is the world in which man decides what

he is

In circle of intellectuals, Existentialism and so called existentialists are viewed with an eye of doubt, if not with contempt. It happens so as the world goes round and every treatise dooms man to destruction. Therefore, every novel whose characters are made or every play that cultivate depression without elevation is labelled as so called existentialist. Literature unfolds the manifold aspects of human life and existentialist literature views life in a different perspective. It declares that human life is led with meaninglessness and that of the bleak sterility of human existence. Though existentialism deepens the shadows and blots out the light yet it can be said to be a vision of the long darkness or a bleak philosophy of life. According to Professor Radhakrishnan, Indian philosopher, holds that existentialism is nothing but new name for our ancient philosophical vision which can concentrate on the Upanishads and Buddhism 'a knowledge of the self' on Atmanam Viddhi. The

and what others are." 40


Upanishads tell us that man is a victim of ignorance (avidya), which breeds selfishness. Such feeling of distress is universal. A sense of blankness overtakes the seeking spirit, which makes a world a waste and life a false drama of feelings. Man is, after all, not a final resting-place and he has to be transcended which is the ultimate goal of life. Man can free himself from sorrow and suffering by becoming aware of the eternal. This awareness and enlightenment is known as jnana or bodhi. A1 According to Reinhart in the Greek

philosophy, the seeds of existentialism were present in the philosophy of Heraclitus and Socrates. In 1870, Nietzsche said that every philosophical speculation, however imaginative and superfluous, contains some elements of truth which reveals some important aspects of philosopher's personality. For Heraclitus, human heart is a centre of powerful feelings and activities in which all the potentialities of creation emerge and merge. Plato and Aristotle are the two main pillars of Greek philosophy. Any philosophical system is not untouched and unnoticed by the thoughts and eyes of these two great philosophers. They emphasise on 'essence' and 'existence' as the two heart centres of philosophical enquiry. Plato attached great importance to 'essence' while Aristotle laid stress on 'existence'. The existentialist view, is in a sense, similar to that of Plato as they held that the particular existents are in no way connected with universal essence. They project the world of existence into the exclusion of that essence. Aristotle points out that it is not justifiable to consider ideas or essences as to be 'those existing' the particular


existents. According to Aristotle, 'form' divorced from "matter' is

inconceivable. The form of a table, for instance, is inseparable from

its matter i.e. something of which it is made of. It is, thus, a

complexity of form and matter, which is concrete. Such substance is

in each individual. Aristotle, therefore, says:

In the animate world, the form or soul which combines with the body to produce a living being as individual. It is not a mere general concept, like humanity or caninity, and so the question, whence comes the residue of personal characteristics does not arise.42

Thus the every living being as man is a concrete individual and his

soul is embodied as a complex of form and matter. Aristotle speaks

about pure forms (i.e. forms devoid of matter), existing in the

heavenly region, but so far as his view about the sublunary region

is concerned, it seems that he, like the existentialists, lays a

considerable emphasis on the concrete individual's existing in the

physical world.

Aristotle's view about the sublunary things has some direct

bearing on the existential conception of man. Existentialists, like

Aristotle, emphasises on concrete individual existence and in nature

it is complex of form and matter which are inseparable from one

another. The existentialists maintain that man as an existing being

cannot be a mere concept. He is concrete individual, a

psychophysical being; he is consciousness embodied.

Thomas Acquinas elaborates the philosophical view of

Aristotle that every physical object is constituted by form and

matter which are inseparable, though different in thought.


Humanity exists not in a state of abstraction, but in an individualised state. In short, for St. Thomas Acquinas, as for Aristotle, the universal exists as embodied in each and every member of a class, and matter is the principle of individuation. He also maintains about the concept of Aristotle that there is an indeterminate 'matter' (formless matter) capable of acquiring any form, while the form inherent in it is the principle determining the class it belongs to matter which is the foundation of all changes that St. Thomas calls 'prime matter'. St. Thomas thus accepts the Aristotlian doctrine of the hypomorphic composition of material substance, defining prime matter as pure potentiality and substantial form as the first act of a physical body. "First act meaning the principle which places the body in its specific class and determines its essence." 43

So far as relationship between 'existence' and 'essence' is concerned, St. Thomas holds that none of them is prior to other. They are result of creating together and they determine each other. "Existentialism determines essence in the sense that it is act and through it the essence has being; but on the other hand existence as act, is determined by essence, as potentiality to be the

existence of this or that kind of essence."44 In this way, it is clear that

for St. Thomas, the essence is 'the form potential', a 'substance- material' or immaterial. The form, again, is the act 'which makes possible actualization of potentiality that St. Thomas calls 'existence'. Now, God being the 'pure form' or 'pure act', has no essence potential in Him; therefore he is existence as such and is the


unchangeable reality. He makes all change possible in the finite world by creating essence and existence simultaneously. "In God alone, insists St. Thomas, are essence and existence identical; God exists necessarily because His essence is existence; all other things receive or participate in existence and that which receive must be

distinct from that which

is received." 45 The existentialists, however,

differ with the Thomist in respect of his view about 'essence'; for him the essence is never creation of God, it is rather made up by the person concerned. Unlike St. Thomas, the existentialist don't admit that 'existence' and 'essence' are created together and that none of them is prior to the other. 'Existence precedes essence' is the foundation of existentialism. One more thing about Thomist's view is 'existence' and 'essence' has no direct bearing on existentialism. Gilson and M. Merritan went to the extent of saying that "only Thomism is the authentic existential philosophy."46

Kant is another great existentialist. His view of existentialism can be seen in his philosophy. Kant said that, instead of being a machine, man is primarily a conscious being. His practical reason is a kind of intuition. Bertrand Russell, Kant and Leibnitz replanted the uprooted tree of Christianity. According to Kant, the concept or the essence can not be the same existence. For him, it is impossible to derive 'existence' from 'essence' or concept. It virtually makes no difference between the concept or thought of the something as that of existing. Thus the concept of a hundred real dollars is not anything more than that of a hundred possible dollars; because each of them is obviously a concept having no existential import


whatever. There can, then be no mental picture of the existence of a thing. Existence, in other words, can in no way be mentally represented. Sartre is almost an apostle of existentialism, what Frank

Kermode says of Beckett could also be said of Sartre: "

meditates much more upon the desert in which we normally dwell than upon the delicious oasis."47 Sartre leaves us with the injunction

to create value in valueless world.48 In What is Literature? Sartre

delivered the theory that literature and any other kind of art is a social phenomenon. Sartre recognises that the author guides the mental activity of readers and spectators but "all he does is to guide

him. The landmarks he set up are separated

invite them

mental and emotional activity of the reader or spectator as a "reinvention" and reader which brings upon the scene that creates:

an imagination object which is the work of the mind. There is no art except for and by for and by others." 50 Croce had pointed out that in order to have aesthetic experience, the spectator or reader must be actively creating. "Every one of us is something of a painter, something of a sculptor, something of a musician, something of a poet but how little in comparison with those who are so-called because of the higher degree in which they possess the most common disposition and

of human nature." 51 To Sartre Literature is "the subjectivity


of a society in permanent revolution" which is constant renewal of its institutions and orders whenever they show a tendency to


The reader must


short, reading is directed creation."49Sartre calls his



petrify. "This conception corresponds to that ideal of fluidity and

creative evolution which, according to Bergson, is one of the

features of life, and which existentialism tries to stimulate in

everything touching human existence."52

Sartre has taken existentialist's revolt as the epoch-making

maxim which is the foundation of existentialism. He specifically

asks: "What do we mean by saying that existence precedes

essence?" "We mean" as he himself answers, "that man first of all

exists encounters himself, surges up the world—and defines himself

afterwards."53 The meaning behind existence is to establish value.

He further observes:

Man simply is. Not that he is simply what he conceives

himself to be, but he is what he wills, and he conceives

Man is nothing else but

that which he makes of himself. That is the first

principle of existentialism.54

himself after already existing

By 'essence' Sartre means "what has been" that considers as 'man's

past'. Since there is no pre-established pattern for human nature

"each man makes his essence as he lives."55 According to Sartre

man is maker of himself. Sartre has no confidence in traditional and

outworn meaning and value of human existence. He attaches

importance to the dignity of human activities. According to him, a

person appears before us exactly as what he makes of himself. His

appearance is his essence. "The appearance does not hide the

essence, it reveals it, it is the essence. The essence of an existent is no

longer a property sunk in the cavity of this existent; it is the


manifest law which presides over the succession of its appearance;

it is the principle of the series." 56

Existentialism also is approach of human life. Though

existentialism advanced by different existentialist writers differ

widely in many important respects, yet it would be misleading to

speak of a philosophical 'school' or 'movement', or certain

underlying themes which can be singled out as its characteristics.

Margaret Drabble in Oxford Companion to English Literature

has, thus, observed about existentialism:

Existentialists tend, for example, to emphasize the unique and particular in human experience; they place the individual person at the centre of their pictures of the world and are suspicious of philosophical or psychological doctrines that obscure this essential individuality by speaking as if there were some abstract humans, nature some set of general laws or principles to which human beings are determined or required, by their common humanity, conform. Each person is what he or she choose to be or to become and can not escape responsibility for character or deeds by claiming that they are the predetermined consequence of factors beyond one's power or to control resist: nor can we justify what we do in terms of external or objective standards imposed upon us from without.57

Existentialism presents the indefinable nature of man who

despite his freedom of choice, is a bundle of contradictions.

Existentialism defines that man is alone in a meaningless indifferent

world. He is completely free to choose his actions and is held

responsible for his own destiny. His actions determine his nature

rather than life governed by human nature. Man, thus, cannot be


defined by a common feature of human nature. What he conceives and wills of himself that he becomes after his "thrust toward existence".

Many existentialists rely on fiction, drama and poetry to expound and elucidate some major existential concerns. But "one should not expect to find in a particular writer all the characteristics

Some of the most striking expressions of

existentialism in literature and the arts come to us by indirection, often through symbols or through innovations in unconventional

form." 58 The Existential concerns of these thinkers

quite close to their breast and brain which are impoteney, existence before essence, alienation, estrangement; fear, dread and anxiety; encounter with nothingness, freedom, choice and responsibility, finitude and temporality; emotional life of man; authentic existence; failure of communication; death, etc. No single existentialist thinker had dealt with all these concerns in their entirety. The writers who deal with these concerns may not be conscious of existentialist theorizers or even aware of the writings of such theorizers. Above lines, in brief, reveal the living issues of existentialism. What is noteworthy in the existentialism is that the feeling of pathos is not due to his involuntary divorce from divine reality. Therefore, however, lost or derelict human existence in the world may be, there is always a hope that it will at last unite with its original source and deliver itself from all finiteness. Man's life, for Kierkegaard, is not 'une passion absurde' of Sartre or 'a frightful maze' of Kafka, but is full of glory. Hopelessness, absurdity and

of existentialism

and writers are


limitations would fade away when the being of existential comes across the purity of God.

as the

depth of knowledge, a place where I could throw the anchor. I have felt the most irresistible force in me with which one pleasure extends its hand to another; I have also felt a kind of false exaltation

and experienced boredom and anguish as its consequences."59 The

path towards transcendence is so complex that while feeling a moral disposition of man's inwardness is already pierced by religious fervour. Thus, the father of the theistic existentialism does not seem to maintain that there ought to be a stereotyped order among the stages of existential living, in case an individual wishes to make religiosity as the ultimate goal of the aesthetic and the ethical. According to Kierkegaard, "Despair brings about the

are despairing animals." 60 He

further adds, "Despair over the earthly or over something earthly is really also doubt the eternal and over oneself, in so far as it is

despair, for this formula is for all despair." 61 We, as human beings,

are facing a consciousness of crisis. "When I despair," speaks Kierkegaard, "I see.myself to despair of everything; but when I do this, I cannot by myself come back. In this moment of decision it is

that the individual needs divine assistance 62 It expresses the

spiritual element in man; and the more pathetic a man's expression, the more natural is its manifestation. There is a profound

Kierkegaard writes, "The expanse of Sea to its bottom

shipwreck of aestheticism. All men



awakening of some sort of 'spiritual bashfulness' which brings the

experience of anxiety in its realisation.

Anxiety is transformed into despair and despair is the

sickness unto death. "Despair", says Kierkegaard:

as the misproportion in the relation of the self to self, or every disturbance in the process of becoming a self, a sort of self-consumption, a specific illness of man as a spiritual being, arising from his attempt to separate himself from the power which created him, or from the fact that he neglects what is eternal in him and forgets his spiritual nature. Whoever has no God, has no self, and who has no self is in despair. If one is unconscious of having a self, the despairing subject remains unconscious of his state, then he is either in despair at not willing to be himself, or in despair at willing to be oneself is the despair of weakness, the despair of willing desperately to be oneself is defiance. Here one has lost selfhood and one attempts desperately to become again


Kierkegaard has little use for the crowd or the 'public' and

summons the individual to come out from the crowd and take the

burden of his being upon himself: "A crowd in its very concept is

the untruth, by reason of the fact that it renders the individual

completely impenitent and irresponsible or at least weakens his

sense of responsibility by reducing it to a fraction." 64

The despair of finitude is due to the lack of infinitude. All the

lack of infinitude means to be desperately narrow-minded and

mean-spirited. The act of man's profound longing for the infinite

which is responsible for his struggle against the finite.


'Encounter with nothingness' is conceived as a crisis in existentialism and is the central point of Sartre's existentialism. The word is used in two senses. In the first sense, nothingness is a kind of gap or separation which lies between a man and the world. The second sense of nothingness is that of futility. An awareness of nothingness in this sense, leads man from inauthentic to authentic existence. He seeks to fill the inner void by his actions and thoughts. Man is anguished to find that nothingness exists within himself and he is free to do whatever he chooses. The City of Argas, in 'Sartre:

The Flies' is a place where the dead are more alive than the living. Its usurper king Aegisthus, expresses the experience of estrangement:

"It is neither sad and nor gay, the desert, the innumerable nothingness of sand under the luminous nothingness of the sky. It is sinister, Oh, I wonder give my kingdom for being able to shed

one tear." 65

Estrangement involves loneliness which holds the individual in solitary confinement within the impervious walls of his individuality. Kierkegaard has an untranslatable term as "reservedness" which means "being locked up within ourselves" but literally it means "being locked up within oneself." Such inwardness of despair communication presents it as an impossible achievement which leads to a mindset full of dilemmas. Estrangement also involves a disintegration not only of individual but also of society. Not the hermit in the African desert is the symbol of solitude in an estranged world but:

The desert is squeezed in the tube-train next to you

The desert is in the heart of your brother. (T.S.


Whereas the Existentialists 'Encounter with Nothing' is "the

opposite". There is, however, in the experience of the Dark Night of

the soul another element which is very close to the Existentialist's

affection. With his negations, the mystic expresses the inability of

the human intellect to grasp God. Passing through the Dark Night,

the soul is in deep distress. It suffers from a sense of God, and this

primal privation is followed by the loss of all its previous

possessions. Its joy is turned into dull helplessness and ennui, its

Godward advance into a sense of importance and disintegration, its

sense of shelteredness into desolation that Evelyn Underhill writes:

"Even the power of voluntary sacrifice and self-discipline is taken

away." 66

Twentieth-century is interested no less than Genesis in the

question of original sin and man's reason for being. Unlike Darwin,

it persists in regarding the human race as qualitatively different

from the rest of creation, and it is obsessed with the necessity of

arriving at a new definition of man. Now, let us take up the novel

'You Shall Know Them' in support of the present issue. 'Man is

separate from the rest of the nature' is the central theme of Vercor's

"You Shall Know Them".67 This novel, a clear example of the

literature of situations, is concerned directly and almost exclusively

with arriving at a definition of man. There are a lot of points of

interest in Vercor's resolution. First, the jury agrees with the counsel

for the defence that 'humanity is not so much the possession of


certain biological potentialities as a particular use of these. It is not something strictly determined by biology but a quality defined by men themselves, "No one is human being by a right of nature Man resembles a very exclusively club, what we call human is defined by us alone. The rules within the club are valid for us alone. Hence the need for a legal basis to be established, as much for the admission of new members as for setting up rules and regulations

to all." 68 Vercor's attitude towards man as defined in

Novel You Shall Know Them in support of the present issue which is essentially that of Pascal who declared that man as a "thinking reed", a greater than the storm which breaks him, for man can

reflect on the situation which the storm cannot. Frances says, "Humanity is not a state we suffer. It's a dignity we must strive to win. A dignity full of pain and sorrow, won; no doubt, at the price

But now I know, I know that all this is not "a tale told by

an idiot, signifying nothing." 69

Major existentialist writers deal with the existence of man which is temporal and finite. Man has to make his existence meaningful in these fleeting moments, and engages himself in a heroic existential struggle. He ventures on the journey of his life, confronting the abrupt situations of freedom, ennui, fear, dread, despair, anxiety, indecisiveness and alienation from man. He finds his platform in life crumbling with the awareness that the life he had been living it is nothing. In this state of despair he wishes to die but cannot. At the same time, he finds it impossible to stay,

of tears



impossible to go back and impossible to close his eyes to the

yawning abyss before him. Alienation is another feature which is essential to existentialism. The problem of 'outsider' springs from alienation which culminates into absurdity. Alienation is used in the sense of mental attitude and mental malady. It stands for the symbolic fall of man from divinity. It is known as self-alienation. It means that the alienated person loses his selfhood. Perhaps, he tries to identify himself with his pristine form; and he feels alienated when he fails to do so. His personality is divided and the feeling of alienation ultimately precipitates mental malady and the external world appears hostile to him. The term 'absurd' means 'out of harmony', its dictionary definition is: "out of harmony with reasons or propriety,

incongruous, unreasonable, illogical." 70 In common usage, 'absurd'

may simply mean 'ridiculous'. In an essay on Kafka Ionesco defined the term as follows: "Absurd is that which is devoid of purpose Cut of from his religious, metaphysical and transcendental roots,

man is lost, all his actions become senseless, absurd, useless." 71 The

absurd expresses a sense of meaninglessness of the human condition and inadequacy of rational approach. The disproportion of things has been fundamental problem of all literature. The confrontation of intention and reality is man's dilemma, and is powerfully focused in existentialist writings. John Cruickshank has aptly remarked: "Tragedy for writers like Malraux, Sartre and Camus lies in a disturbing separation, a cleavage between man and


the world."72 Absurd is used by Sartre to characterize the apparent

pointlessness of life and the terrors of non-being. Sartre maintains that universe is purposeless, it is neither good nor bad, neither moral nor immoral. The working of the universe is mysterious, so is man's existence. Human life is absurd because "there's nothing,

nothing, absolutely no reason for existing." 73 The term 'Absurdity'

was first used by Danish Philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. He described Christianity as absurd because no man could comprehend or justify it according to rational principles. In world according to Marx, we can witness the spiritual alienation on the material basis. He holds that man's alienation is result of his religious feeling. Marx believes that alienation originates from state which confers duality on man: the real man and the citizen. He thinks that man's alienation is physical, political and economic rather than spiritual. The material alienation of Marx manifested itself in institutional alienation. Human organizations, State Government, bureaucracy, political parties are all nameless impersonal powers which have suppressed the individual. Man is making fruitless efforts to liberate himself from the bondage of these powers and his failure has resulted in wars, frustration, despondency and Angst. We come across numerous instances of unhappy situations in the celebrated works of T.S. Eliot which culminate alienation as a literary style. Eliot sees the world around him as a rock on which he is being tortured. He wrote in a symposium. Faith that illuminates (1935): "The world of modern literature is corrupted by what I call



meaning of the primacy of the supernatural over the natural life: of

something which I assume to be our primary concern." 74 Eliot,

overwhelmed with his contemporary world, finds solace in the past

literature. In The Waste Land the images of past memories reflect

It is simply unaware of, simply cannot understand the

man's loneliness and alienation in the modern world:

But at my back in a cold blast I hear The rattles of the bones and chuckle spread From ear to ear.

And on the king my father's death before him.

Eliot comes close to genuine feeling when he expresses directly his

own terrible loneliness and anguish. A glaring example can be

borrowed from Four Quartets:

O dark, dark, dark, they all go into the dark.

Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about

When existentialism takes a romantic view of the world it

becomes 'absurd'. Eliot's view turns "classical". Humanism, love of

life, care for grievances of others, belief in progress are

sentimentalities that have nothing to do with religion, but with

truth. Consequently, he demands the abandonment of empty hope,

shaking love and feeble thought. He writes in East Coker:

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love For love would be love of wrong thing; there is yet faith But the faith and love and the hope are all in the Waiting Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought.


His "classicism", moreover, has nothing to do with the

traditions and achievements of classical literature and art. Eliot's

classicism comes closer to "neoclassicism" which can be reckoned

as the achievement of rhetorical clarity and order. His world view is

summarised in the speech of Thomas Beckett in The Murder of the


We do not know very much of the future Except that from generation to generation The same things happen again and again The fool, fixed in his folly, may think He can turn the wheel on which he turns.


The common existentialist preoccupation with death is a

significant feature of Eliot's poetry. The Spanish Catholic

existentialist thinker Miguel De Unamuno makes the consciousness

of death and the human craving for immortality. The basic themes

of his book entitled The Tragic Sense of Life deals with man's tragic

predicament which lies in the "feeling of uncertainty and the

inward struggle between reason on the one hand and faith and the

passionate longing for eternal life on the other." 75 This realisation

that "tragedy is at the heart of life," 76 expresses itself as the sense of

disillusionment in Eliot's poetry, especially in The Waste Land.

Anita Desai is a famous existentialist novelist of Indian

English literature. As an existentialist, she is much drawn towards

Kierkegaardian philosophical faith i.e. 'metaphysic of hope' which

is very much akin to Hindu thought that is basically optimistic as in

its spirit lies the concept of “Aa no bhadra yaniu vishwatah" (Let all

the noble thoughts come to us from every side) which is basically


Christian and theistic and its exponents are the German Professor

Karl Jaspers and the French thinker, Gabriel Marcel. It may be

because of her German roots as her mother named Antionette Nime

was a German woman who was brought up as a Christian but Anita

Desai now seriously thinks of "the possibility of her having had

Jewish blood."

But Anita Desai is more interested in 'the individual' than the

'anonymous multitude'. She was more 'particular' than the

'general'. She is rightly considered as an existentialist. Madhusudan

Prasad finds out the themes of boredom and of human condition in

her works which reflects her existential temperament. She herself,

in an interview with Yashodhara Dalmia agrees that she is chiefly

preoccupied with the

Howsoever bitter and poisonous the cup of life is, one has to

take it, willingly or unwillingly. There is no way out and Anita

Desai is never in favour of escape or exile. She affirms:

I don't think anybody's exile from society can solve any problem. I think basically the problem is how to exist in society and yet maintain one's individuality rather than suffering from a lack of society and a lack of belonging that is why exile has never been my theme.78

"essential human

condition." 77

In her probings, however, Anita Desai finds out modern

Indian women's sensibility ill at ease in the upset set-up of life. In

this regard she may be said to have developed a kind of

existentialism of the 'absurd' as propounded by Albert Camus.

Most of her characters and protagonists or even women are Indians

in origin, well-rooted in the soil. We will now discuss how in novel


after novel Anita Desai has tried to render life in existentialist frame and to present life situations in light of existentialism. Her female characters struggle with their hard destinies and come to know that there is no escape from the "absurd" which is a reality of meaninglessness. They seek freedom through their actions but boredom is always conditioned in response of others. They make efforts on the paths of existence and "choose" the three ways of dealing with the absurd: "First, committing suicide and homicide, secondly hoping for the better, and thirdly, living with it." 79 In Cry, The Peacock, Mrs. Desai presents the story of a young sensitive girl obsessed by a childhood prophecy of disaster, whose extreme sensitivity is rendered in terms of immeasurable loneliness. Emotional alienation is the central problem of the novel as well as of its chief protagonist, Maya. In the beginning of the novel husband- wife alienation theme by unfolding the relationship of Maya and her husband Gautama is highlighted. Maya lacks "companion life contact, relationship, communion." 80 Their married life is

punctuated all along by "matrimonial silence" 81 and Gautama's

coldness and incessant talk of cups of tea and

philosophy." 82 Having alienated from her husband, she doesn't have any enjoyment in her life. Maya is not able to undergo long loneliness, matrimonial silence, coldness of her husband, his mockery and want of appreciation of her tender feelings. Maya kills herself, too in the end of the novel. In Voices in the City, the human drama of alienation takes place against the background of "the monster city that lived no




normal, healthy, red blooded life but one that was subterranee, underlit, stealthy and odorous of mortality." 83 Bye-Bye Blackbird, Where Shall We Go This Summer?, Clear Light of Day, In Custody, Fire on the Mountain are dealt with existential themes. These novels deal with the theme of the existential problem of alienation of the emancipated, modern woman through maladjustment in marriage. Her novels are "existential in tone, for they deal with the contradictions and predicaments faced by the individuals in the

struggle of life." 84

The allied moods of boredom and melancholy, like those of fear and anxiety, play a significant role in existential philosophy. The writings of Sartre, Chekhov Ibsen are pregnant with the poignant moods of boredom as an escapable phenomenon of human life. Man is overcome by a nameless and growing emptiness and this continues to threat his authentic life-actualization that

Kierkegaard writes, "How terrible tedium is —terribly tedius

only thing I see is emptiness, the only thing I move about in it is emptiness." Boredom and tedium lead to an emptiness in which all meaningful contents of life are threatened. Heidegger distinguishes boredom in two forms—the authentic and unauthentic. "Authentic boredom is still far removed when we are bored with a specific book, a movie, an undertaking, or our idleness. It appears when one


is bored." 85 Only authentic boredom discloses my true situation. Our involvement with books, movies and various Sunday activities only provide us with a momentary escape from authentic boredom. Authentic boredom discloses "the basic phenomena of our being


there." 86 When man is not true to himself and is dominated by unnatural boredom which come out from unnatural desires and impulses. When one is unable to bear social responsibilities and feels much bored that is known as unauthentic boredom. Boredom is revealed as a determinant of existence itself. Sartre elucidates the point in his novel Nausea. Roquentim, the central character, expresses the basic phenomenon when he says: "I am bored that's all. From time to time, I yawn so wildly that tears roll down my cheek. It is a profound boredom, the profound heart of existence, the very matter I am made of." 87 Heidegger speaks of

an "appalling indifference" (merkwirdige Gleichgeil tigkeit) which accompanies the onslaught of boredom. "The profound boredom, vacillating like a mute fog in the abyss of Dasein, draws all things,

people, and one's self together, into an appalling indifference." 88

This theme of emptiness and indifference is vividly expressed in D.H. Lawrence's novel Women in Lave. The central character, Rubert Birkin, in a revealing soliloquy, expresses a profound indifference to life and the world: "Why strive for a coherent satisfied life? Why not drift on a series of accidents-like a picaresque novel? Why not? Why bother about human relationship? Why take them seriously male female? Why form a serious connection at all? Why not casual

drifting alone, taking all for what it was worth?" 89 Schopenhaur has presented illuminating things about man's experience of boredom:

"The striving after existence is what occupies all living things and maintains them in motion. But when existence is assured then they know not what to do with it: thus the second thing that sets them in


motion is the effort to get free from the burden of existence, to make

it cease to be felt "to kill time", i.e. to escape from ennui." 90

Loneliness becomes unbearable; for in loneliness man is thrown back upon himself and is forced to gaze into depth of his emptiness. The loss of everyday routine also accounts, says Schopenhaur, for the common "Sunday boredom". "In middle-class life ennui is

repeated by the Sunday, and want of the six week-days."91 The

phenomenon of melancholy is a word closely associated with

boredom. The term 'existentialism', thus represents a philosophy of man

who is involved in life and its problems. "Existentialism postulates no scheme, no method and no formula. It approaches human life as one continuous flow of consciousness, struggling, suffering,

despairing and tending towards death." 92

T.M. Bochanski, writing on the general characteristics of existentialist philosophy remarks: "Existentialism addresses itself to what are to day called the 'existential' problems of man—the

meaning of life, of death, of suffering, to name but these 93 and

"the commonest characteristics among the various existentialist philosophies of the present is the fact that they all arise from a so-

called existential experience." 94 John Wild observes existentialism as

a challenge of modern times and writes, "this current of thought is best understood as a rebellion against the abstract objectivism or essentialism of modem thought with an intensive emphasis on the

concrete subjective existence." 95 Kierkegaard attacked the four

major phases of the essentialism as they are expressed in the



idealism of Hegel. He criticised the non-descriptive, speculative method of modern philosophy, its essentialist metaphysics, its neglect of practical awareness and its repudiation of personal ethics. A considerable treasure of descriptive knowledge of science often leave man's life empty. Man's feeling of estrangement is increasing by leaps and bounds. The industrial solution, technological achievement, the collective trends and mass movements, all have tended towards the depersonalization of man. F.H. Heinemann while talking about the predicament of modern man writes, "Because the very existence of man on this earth is menaced, because the annihilation of man, his dehumanization and the destruction of his humanity and of all moral values is a real danger, therefore the meaning of human existence becomes our problem." 96

The feeling of bereftness and barrenness in existence is increased all the more when man finds himself alienated from himself from his fellow men, from nature, from cosmos and from God; he is left with nothing but nothingness. Man is projected in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man becomes king, but his kingship rules over nothing and his world is a world without values. This is the predicament of modern man where man finds himself. Such an encounter with nothingness generates the emotions of anxiety, concern, dread and makes the existent aware of death and death-in-life. Nevertheless, man's awareness of death has never prevented him from knowing about the meaning of life. Though death is always lurking in the horizon yet it is


unpredictable and unfathomable. This certainty of death fills man

not with nihilistic thought but with a desire to reassess life.

Tain Threshold7 is an expression coined by William James in

his Varieties of Religious Experience. He declares reason behind it:

"Recent psychology


of the threshold of a man's

consciousness in general to indicate the amount of noise, pressure,

or other outer stimulus which it takes to arouse his attention of all.

One with a high threshold will doze through an amount of racket

by which one with a low thresholds, would be immediately


threshold', 'a misery threshold', and find it quickly over passed by

the consciousness of some individuals, but lying too high in others

to be often reached by their consciousness. The sanguine and

healthy minded habitually live on the sunny side of their misery

line; the depressed and melancholy live beyond it, in darkness and

apprehension." 97 We can witness that the nineteenth century in its

last three decades has been characterised by W.B. Yeats as "the

tragic generation". Among the writers a few names may be

mentioned such as Lionel Johnson Dowson, Verlaine, Corbiere and

their immediate forebearers Bauldair, Mallarme, Laureamont and

the Italian Jeopardi. James Thomson's City of Dreadful Night

deserves more space than we can afford to give it here, as being a

so we might speak of a 'pain threshold' a 'fear


sort of nineteenth century forerunner of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land

with its instances on the illusory nature of the world:

For the life is but a dream whose shapes return Some frequently, some wdldom, some by night we learn


While many change and many vanish quite

In their recurrence with recurrent changes

A certain seeming order; where this ranges

We count things real; such is the memory's might.

(City ofDreadful Night)

which invites comparison with:

Unreal city Under the brown fog of a winter dawn

(The Waste Land)

But most of these poets of the late nineteenth century were

only "half in love with careful death; the other half dung very

firmly to life and complained about its futility. Conrado's story in

Heart of Darkness deals with a man who has brought himself to this

point: he dies murmuring: "The horror, the horror." 98

The existential religious idea of human finitude is founded

upon his conception of Sin. Man is free to work upto his own choice

and on account of his desire, he works hard to act upon the voice of

his soul but in doing so, he commits a lot of misdeeds which, later

on, becomes a sin and at the state of realization he feels alienated

even from himself. As a result, man is projected in the state of

anxiety, unhappiness and fear. We can witness the tragic vision and

tragic sense which are perceptible in their lives.

The tragic concept of life in Christianity suffers from serious

objection. For the tragic cannot co-exist with any of the living

religions if we accept such tragic view of human life. Practically, it

is a moving shadow or a changing phase in life of man. But we

come across various glimpses of optimistic trends in Hinduism. The


doctrine of karma yoga embedded in it transcends both evil and

suffering. The following verses of the Gita may be compared with

the essential doctrine of Christianity: "Arjun! You grieve over those

who should not be grieved for, and yet speak like the learned; wise

men do not sorrow over the dead or living/' 99 Krishna further


In fact there was never a time when I was not, or when you or these kings were not. Not is it a fact that here after we shall cease to be.100

And again,

"Surrendering all duties to me, seek refuge in me alone. I shall absolve you of all sins; grieve not."101

In spite of all the tragedies, religions have co-existed since the dawn

of human civilization. It is really a strange paradox.

Albert Camus also acknowledges the significance of

existential communication. He suggests that one can escape

spiritual isolation only through dialogue and intercommunication:

"Yes, it is fear and silence and the spiritual isolation they cause

must be fought today. And it is dialogue and the universal inter­

intercommunication of men that must be defended. Slavery,

injustice and lies destroy this intercourse and forbid this dialogue,

and so we must reject them."102

Karl Jasper is another existentialist thinker who examines the

question of the spiritual reality of existential isolation and stresses

the significance of existential communication. Existential

communication between individuals takes place when one self in its


authentic being enters into relation with another. In existential

communication, an individual feels responsible not only for himself

but also for the other, one stands in the vital relation with other. The

individual cannot reach all human beings. If one tries to do justice

to every body one meets, life becomes very superficial. The process

of realizing one's self does not develop in isolated existing but only

in communication with the other. Communication illuminates itself

through love. It does not originate love, however love is confirmed

in communication. If love is real, communication cannot cease, it

can only transform itself. One can discover his true self if he enters

fully into a relationship of participation with another person. Jasper

aptly observes:

Nobody can win blessing alone. There is no truth through which alone I could reach the object aimed at. I participate in what the others are and am responsible for what exists beside me, because I can speak to it and enter into active relation to it, I am as potential Existenz to other Existenzen. Therefore, I reach the goal of my existence only if I comprehend what is around me. I become myself only when the world with which I can enter into potential communication, has come to itself with me. Freedom is bound to the freedom of the others, authentic Being has its measure in the authentic being of those closest to me and finally of all.103

Influence of Existentialism on modern literature has been very

great because it is a philosophy especially suited to the period of

crisis, of doubt and uncertainty, and when Auden called one of his

poetic collections, the Age of Anxiety, he simply demonstrated the

validity of this philosophy to the contemporary crisis in civilization.


Thus Existentialism is concerned with the meaning of man's existence. The centre of philosophy is the individual man, his strange nature, a pendulum between earth and heaven and as Hamlet says in his famous soliloquy: 'What a strange piece of work is a man', at once so great and so helpless a compound of noble and ignoble impulses. Warring within him an image of God yet born with the taint of the original sin, on immortal soul, yet the 'quintessence of dust'. The very nature of his existence is a burden, a mystery, with tension, fear anxiety, despair and dread woven into its very fabric. The burden of Hamlet's problem: "to be or not to be

is the burden of every man"104—what a strange being a man

becomes. Philosophy of mere finiteness and Temporality, Glimpses of Transcendence as visible in existential thinking, hermeneutic of existence, subjectivity, objectivity and the world around, Ontology of man: Being and Nothingness, Freedom, Guilt and sin, phenomenology of Boredom, Melancholy and Despair, the crisis of human existence: deeadentism and commonplaceness, alienation, pain, threshold, world without true etc. are living issues and characteristics of existentialism. In this way existentialism as a philosophy presents a definite attitude of looking at life. "It expounds man's search for himself and his potentialities to create his own values in the world. It paves the way for social analysis of problems facing mankind and promotes their solutions towards achievement of social realism. It derives its contents from everyday

human experience and creates facts of human life."105 Existentialism


as a philosophy of existence has been understood in several ways. Opponents of this trend give a gloomy picture of it by disparaging and describing it as "the shocking, the sordid, or the obscene."106 It has made many positive contributions to promote the understanding of human existence amidst sufferings and insecurities."107 We are not merely living through a period of crisis, but human existence, in its very nature is a permanent crisis. It is, thus, a philosophy symptomatic of the troubled times we are living through which has become the themes and issues of modern existential society and that of contemporary literature of the world.


O.P. Bhatnagar, a poet, critic and editor, is essentially an existentialist poet who explores the physical sufferings, alienation, search for selfhood, crisis of man, dilemmas and predicaments of individual in his poetry. The life of the poet was full of trials and tribulations and in an article, "The Relationship of the Creative Process and Personal Life," he declared that he was "orphaned by living parents, I was gifted with innumerable honours of

misfortunes."108 Temperamentally, his parents were the divided

houses and he led a childhood of conflicts that he calls, "such a life meant strain, anxiety and anguish to me, especially to know the way they were the slaves of their emotions. How I wished they could be free of their sufferings and live in the dignity of reason."109 The prime concern of parental disharmony of the poet was lack of their personal thinking and they lived like fanatics in their ways


without believing in any positive side of life and they "exhausted

themselves and their existence in the blind alleys of religion and

worship of God to the utter ruin of their family/'110 The poet seems

to have locked his emotions which damaged his personality in

many ways and excess of emotion of his parents compelled him to

discard emotions from life especially when he was vocalizing his

ideas in poetry.

Bhatnagar was against superstitions and had accentuated on

human realities in life. He often visited Hardwar at weekends and

saw people bathing to be purged off their sins. He observed, "I

didn't feel cathartic after a dip but strong. It was a pity that man

wandered like a ghost of his own shadow. I always felt that there

was no necessity of making any fad either religion or God."111 He

was influenced by the philosophy of Advait and believes that there

is some unknown power which controls the universe, but didn't

have a blind faith in God. He accepts God rationally and remarks,

"Faith in God for me has always been a tragic irony on man. The

essence of power permeating the universe of man according to me,

is reason."112 Bhatnagar disliked fake spiritualism or dogmatic faith;

Hindu rituals never appealed to him as they lacked reason. He,

therefore, points out:

Emmanuel Kant, therefore had great charm for me. Though our Hindu rituals never appealed to me for their disciplined reason, I held great admiration for the imaginative intellect of our thinkers in containing human instincts in a mechanical order. For me mere action and not reflection was more important.113


His poetry is thus more rational and less emotional or spiritual with

a difference. He had a varied interest in literature and read Indian

as well as western literatures. He was influenced by the poetry of

Pant and Nirala in Hindi literature but it was Tolstoy who

influenced him most during the period of struggle for existence that

he expressed:

The first book I read with interest was David Copperfield, but I found it sentimental and not that powerful for independent struggle. I found English novels poor in struggle. I, therefore, liked Russian Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and the French existentialist writers like Sartre and Camus. And even today I hold that the existential philosophy is the most suited and valuable of all thoughts for Indian conditions today.114

He read almost all great masters of world literature and had shown

a keen interest in the novels of Hardy. Henry James and Flaubert

during his studies of literature. He "came to poetry via novel—a

more open form. That is why I have desired poetry to be an open

form and to be open to ideas."115 In an interview, he declares:

for me there is no difference between life and poetry. Both have to be lived and both have to be perpetually recreated and reformed in an expanding perspective of balance of contrasts.116

He further remarks:

Poetry must explore man, his sufferings, conflicts and predicaments, hopes, dreams, joys more than the possibility of his commitment to ideologies, doctrines, redemption and salvation.117


He is concerned with the perception of man from the humanistic

viewpoint and aspires, "poetry which has no protest or resentment

against injustice and indignity to mankind is not merely surface and

selfish but unsocial and insulting."118 He proceeds ahead that "good

poetry, in my opinion, is direct and simple and devoted to human

concerns in a tender and sensitive way. It is a dialogue between

man and man."119

Bhatnagar is a realist and emerges as a poet of protest. R.S.

Pathak says that "his own poetic quest" inspired him "to discover

truth", and "seek reality" in order to find out "new roads, which

might serve as a viable alternative to the "fossil values",

"striptease" morals and a "cancerous corruption" of our completely

degenerate society."120 In an interview with Narsingh Srivastava, he

points out:

I am for poetry of protest against the injustices and indignities to man as in Neruda, Yevtushenko, Pasternak and Brecht. Protest does not mean an angry disorder but an ordered disdain for what misdemeans and violates the human values and images in life.121 Bhatnagar believes in no God but man that Bhatnagar in

Considerations rightly points out,

Bhatnagar is an atheist. He worships no Gods. If he worships any God, it is man, the greatest of all gods, whose concern is the all-consuming passion with him. His commitment to human values, ideas and concern is no sham.122

He is a poet of commitment and it is comparable with Sartre's idea

of commitment in Existential Concept and Sartre's Creative Writings:


Commitment is inherent in the act of writing; to write is to talk and to talk is to reveal an aspect of the world, in order to change it. Literature is therefore the result of an attitude, conscious or unconscious towards the world. The committed writer is different from others, not because he is involved in the world, because he endeavours to acquire the most lucid, most complete awareness of being involved i.e. because he transfers his commitment from the level of immediately spontaneous to the level of consciousness.123

He is a poet of present but not of past. He is realistic but not

escapist in approach. He denies any influence of any writer though

he was inclined towards the Russian writers like Tolstoy and

Dostoevsky and the French Existentialist writers like Sartre and

Camus. But he experiences that "even today, I hold that the

existential philosophy is the most suited and valuable of all

thoughts for Indian conditions today."124His struggle for existence,

a protest against injustice against man; his commitment to human

values and order of society; the search for self in society necessarily

make him an existential poet.


O.P. Bhatnagar was born in 1930 in Agra and had his early

education in a peaceful and serene environment of Dehradun and

in an interview, he reveals in The Vision and The Voice Vol III: Studies

in the Poetry of O.P. Bhatnagar (The Vision) that "most of my

schooling was done at Dehradun that serene blossom of nature

where one never knew if there grew anything like pain."126 But the


poet was projected into a state of predicaments as his mother died soon and it was a great loss for him. He shifted from Dehradun to Jabalpur which induced a new vitality in the young man and he completed his higher education at Jabalpur under his maternal uncle's guardianship. He postgraduated in English and Economics and started teaching of English at Vidarbha Mahavidyalaya, Amravati which marks the beginning of his poetic career. He retired from Professorship and settled in Delhi where he died in November, 2001. His craftsmanship of poetry in English provided him the international recognition and fame. Bhatnagar was a well-travelled poet and was a delegate to the fourth and fifth world congress of poets held at Korea and USA respectively. He also presided over the Asian Poets Conference in Japan. Bhatnagar has seven volumes of poetry to his credit: Thought Poems (1976), Feeling Fossils (1977), Oneiric Visions (1979), Angels of Retreat (1980), Shadows in Floodlights (1984) and Cooling Flames of Darkness (2001). He has published three anthologies of poetry:

Intercontinental Poetry, New Dimensions in Indo-Anglian Poetry, A Commonwealth Quarterly Anthology, Rising Columns: Some Indian Poetry in English. As a critic, he has contributed to Perspectives on Indian Poetry in English, Studies in Indian Drama in English, Studies in Indian Poetry in English, Essays in Criticism: Indian Fiction in English, Indian Poetry in English: Old and New and Perspectives on Anita Desai. As a poet, he was concerned with human existence and social purpose, therefore, he was critical of Indian poets in English. He feels that it lacked the organic vitality and commitment to human


concerns. He treats Ezekiel as "a tired wit", Shiv K. Kumar as a poet of "laboured Comparison" and Pritish Nandy as a poet of "managed metaphors" (Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, p. 15) But Bhatnagar is a poet of man at the centre of universe which is the heart of existentialism. His first four volumes Thought poems, Feeling Fossils, Angels of Retreat and Oneiric Visions present man's dilemmas and predicaments which lead to sufferings, catastrophes and unimaginable agony. The first poem of Thought Poems entitled "The Crowded Metaphor" focuses the present day reality with a kind of man's isolation: 'Loneliness has an ego / which inflates emptiness / To struggle with silences / Beyond the shadows of restless calm.' (1-4) Man has alienated himself from society due to hypocrisy and indifference. As a result, he is lonely and isolated. Modern man is suffering from loss of sympathy, love and generosity. The poet finds man as "The streets like a crowded metaphor / Are better than the lonely ones." (5-8) Thus loneliness of man externalizes his unhappy and chaotic state of mind which is the face of existentialism. We can witness the various dimensions of human predicaments and catastrophes of man in his last three volumes— Shadows in Floodlights, The Audible Landscape and Cooling Flames of Darkness which display the shades of human suffering and degradation of values and ideals in the life of modern man. His quest is meant for well being of innocents and common men who are victimized by corruption, dishonesty and injustice. As a tragic poet, he experiences the dying spirit of mankind and his quest and


commitment to man and society inevitably establish him an existential poet of Indian English poetry.


1. Margaret Drabble








Literature, New York, Oxford University Press, 2000, p.342.

2. Ibid., p. 342.

3. Ibid., p.342.

4. Radhakrishnan, History of Philosophy, Eastern and Western, Vol.



(London: Allen & Unwin, 1953), p. 443.

5. Emmanuel Mounier, Existential Philosophies, trans. Eric Slow

(Paris: Editions Denod, 1947), p. 2.

6. Maurice Friedman, Introduction to the World of Existentialism: A

Critical Reader (Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, 1964), p. 4.

7. M.W.







(New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953), p. 167.

8. Roll & May, et al. Existence (New York: Basic Books, 1958), p. 19.

9. J.P. Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism, trans. Philip Mairet (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1948), p. 52.

10. Existentialism and Modern Predicament, p.2.

11. William Barret, Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy

(London: Mercury Books, 1960), p. 56.

12. J.P. Sartre, No Exit in no Exit and Three Other Plays, trans. Stuart

Gibret (New York: Vintage Books, 1955), p. 29. 13.Quoted in Martin Esslin, The Theatre ofAbsurd (London: Penguin Books, 1968), p. 23.

14. J.P. Sartre, Nausea, trans.L'Alexander (London: Lehmann, 1949),

p. 162.

15. Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionary, p. 373.

16. Paul Foulquie, Existentialism, p. 49.

17. D.H.B. Hawkins, The Meaning of Existentialism, Aquinas Paper

No. 18, p. 5.

18. Marjorie







University of Chicago Press Ltd., 1970), p.l.

19.Ibid., p. 1.

20.Pitrim A. Sorokin, The Crisis of Our Age (New York: E.P. Dutton

& Co., Inc., 1941), p. 15.

ll.Ibid., p. 22.


22. J. Von. Rintelen, 'Introduction', Beyond Existentialism (London:

George Allen & Unwin Ltd., Ruskin House Museum, 1961), p. 9.

23. Existence, edited by Ernest Angel & Henri F. Ellen Berger, p. 11.

24:.Ibid., p. 11.

25. J.P. Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism, trans. Philip Mairet, p.


26. M.W. Heinemann, Existentialism and Modem Predicament, op.cit,

p. 2.

27. D.M. Datta,


Chief Current of Contemporary Philosophy,


edition (The University of Calcutta, 1970), pp. 509-10.

28. H.J. Blackham, Six Existential Thinkers (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., Carter Lane: Broadway House, 1967), p.2.

29.Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism, trans. Mairet, p. 29.

30. Norman








University of Michigan Press, 1961), p. 25.

31 .Ibid., p.


32. Ibid., p.


33.Ibid., p. 28. 34.Ibid., p. 56.

35. Margarett Chatterjee, Existentialist Outlook, op,tit., p. 60.

36. Quoted by E.L. Allen in Existentialism from Within, p. 81.

37.Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism, op.cit, p. 29.

38.Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. H. Barnes (New York, 1956),

p. 263.

39. J.P. Sartre, No Exit and Three Other Plays, trans. Smart Gibret, p.


40. J.P. Sartre, Existentialism, op.cit, p. 44.

41.Sartre, Being and Nothingness, op.cit, p. 263.

42. D.J. Allen, The Philosophy ofAristotle, p. 42.

43. Frederick Copleston, S.J., A History of Philosophy, Vol. II, Part II (Garden City, New York: Image Books, A Division of Doubleday & Co. Inc., 1962), p. 46.

QA.Ibid., p. 53.

45. Gilson and M. Merritan, Christianity and Existentialism, p. 30.

46.Ibid., p. 30.

47. Frank Kermode, The Existential Outlook, op.cit, p. 155.

48. Margarett Chatterjee, The Existentialist Outlook, op.cit., p. 155.

49.Sartre, What is Literature? Trans. Bernard Frechtman (London), p.



SO.Ibid., p. 43.

51.Croce, Estetics (Bari 1928), p. 14; quoted in Alfred Stern, Sartre —

His Philosophy and Psycho-analysis (New York: The liberal Art

Press, 1953), p. 75. 52.Ibid., p. 97.

53.J.P. Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism, op.cit, p. 28.

54.Ibid., p. 29.

55.Sartre, Being and Nothingness, op.cit., p.772.

56.Ibid., 'Introduction', p. iv.

57. Margaret Drabble (ed.), The Oxford Companion to English Literature, op.cit., p. 342.

58. Rama Kant, Sinari: Reason in Existentialism (Bombay: Popular

Prakashan, 1966), p. 28. 59.Ibid., p. 58. 60.Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death, trans. W. Lawrie (New York:

Doubleday, 1954), p. 97.

61 .Ibid., p. 97.

62.Ibid., p. 60ff. 63.5. Kierkegaard, The Concept of Dread, trans. Walter Lourie (Princeton University Press, 1944), p.55.

64.5. Kierkegaard, The Point of View for My Work As An Author,

trans. Walter Lourie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1939), p. 193. 65.Sartre, "The Flies II.4," quoted in Kuhn Helmet, Encounter with

Nothingness - An Essay on Existentialism (London: Methuen & Co.

Ltd., 1951), p. 34.

66. Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A Study in the Nature, Development of Man's Spiritual Consciousness, 12th ed. (London, 1930), p. 400.

67. Vercors, you Shall Know Them, trans. Rita Barrisse (Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1953), p. 236.

68.1bid., p. 240. 69.Ibid., p. 244.

70. Nartin Buber, "Distance and Relation," trans. Ronald Gregor Smith, Psychiatry, Vol. XX, No. 2 (May 1957), p. 102.

71.Quoted in Martin Esslin,

The Theatre of the Absurd


Penguin Books, 1968), p. 23.

72. John Cruickshank, The Novelist as Philosopher (London: Oxford

University Press, 1962), p. 24.


73. J.P. Sartre, Nausea, trans. L. Alexander (London: Lehmann, 1949), p. 162.

74. T.S. Eliot: Selected Prose, ed. J. Heyword (Harmondsworth:

Penguin Books, 1955), pp. 41-42.

75. Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense ofLife, p. 128.

76. F.O. Mathiessen, Achievement of T.S. Eliot (London: Oxford University Press, 1947), p. 107.

77. Yashodhara Dalmia, "An Interview with Anita Desai," The Times

ofIndia, 29 April, 1979, p. 13. 78. Anita Desai, Interview with Jasbir Jain, Stairs to the Attic: The

Novels ofAnita Desai (Jaipur: Print Well, 1987), p. 15.

79. P.F. Patil, "The Theme of Marital Disharmony in the Novels of Anita Desai," from R.K. Dhawan (ed.), Indian Women Novelists, Set I, Vol. VI (New Delhi: Prestige Books, 1991), p. 142.

80.Anita Desai, Cry, The Peacock (New Delhi: Orient Paperbacks, 1980, this edition 1995), p. 18. 81.Ibid., p. 12.

82. Ibid., p. 9.

83.Ibid., p.9.

84. Anita Desai, Voices in the City (Delhi: Orient Paperbacks, 1965, this edition 1982), p. 150.

85. R.K. Dhawan (ed.), Indian Women Novelists, Set I, Vol. Ill (New Delhi: Prestige books, 1991), p. 181.

86. Heidegger, Was It Metaphysik?, p. 30.

87.Ibid., p. 31.

88.Sartre, Nausea, trans. L. Loyal Alexander, op.cit., p. 210.

89. Heidegger, Was it Metaphysik?, op.cit., p. 30.

90. The Albatross, modem Contented Literacy, 1949, p. 328.

91. Arthur Schopenhaur, The World As Will and Ideas, trans. R.B.

Haldane and J. Kenp (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, n.d.), p. 404. 92.Ibid., p. 404.

93. Ramakant Sinari, Reason in Existentialism, op.cit., p. 4.

94. T.M. Bochanski, Contemporary European Philosophy (California,

1958), p. 151. 9d.Ibid., p. 159. 96.John Wild, The Challenge of Existentialism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1959), p. 28.


97. F.H. Heinemann, Existentialism and Modem Predicament (London:

Adam and Charles Black, 1953), p. 178.


Green, 1903), pp. 132ff.

98. James William,

Varieties of Religious Experience (Longman

99. Conarod, Heart of Darkness, quoted in Collin Wilson, Outsider, p.


100. Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II, verse 11,12.

101.Ibid., Chapter XVIII, verse 66. 102.Albert Camus, Neither Victims Nor Executioners, trans. D. Mac

Donald (New York: Liberation, A Liberation Pamphlet, 1961), p. 22.

103. Karl Jaspers, Philosophie, Vol. Ill, trans. Marga Frank and Arthur

Newton (Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1932), p. 226.

104. William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1981-82, p. 97.

105. M.N. Sinha, A Primer of Existentialism (Delhi: Capital Publishing House, 1982), pp. 1-2.

106. M. Greene, Introduction to Existentialism (London: The Univer­ sity of Chicago Press Ltd., 1970), pp. 1-2.

107. M.N. Sinha, A Premier of Existentialism, op.cit, p. 4.

108. O.P. Bhatnagar, "The Relationship of the Creative Process and Personal Life," Point of View, Vol. VIII, No. 1 (2001), 90-95.

109. Ibid., p. 90.

110. Ibid., p. 91.

111. Ibid., p. 91.

112. Ibid., p. 91.

113. Ibid., p. 90.

114. Ibid., p. 92.

115. Ibid., p. 93.

116. Ibid., p. 93.

117. Hitvada, 26 Sept. 1982.

118. -------, Vol. III.7

119. Ibid., p. 61.

120. R.S. Pathak, op.cit., p.6.

121. Narsingh Srivastava, Poetry, Vol. VII, 1984, p. 15.

122. Cited R.C. Sharma, Considerations, Vol. I, p. 8.

123. Sartre, Existential Concept and Sartre's Creative Writings, p. 111.

. 124. Poetry, Vol. VII, 1984,15.