Existentialism is a philosophical movement that emphasizes individual freedom and choice. It deals with the fundamental questions of existence, such as the meaning of life and the purpose of our existence. If you are new to existentialism and want to understand it better, you should start by reading some of the key texts in this field.

The Stranger by Albert Camus

The Stranger is a classic existentialist novel that tells the story of Meursault, a French Algerian who kills an Arab man on a beach in Algiers. The novel explores themes such as absurdity, alienation, and moral responsibility. It is a great introduction to Camus’ philosophy of the absurd.

Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

Nausea is another classic existentialist novel that explores themes such as freedom, authenticity, and identity. The protagonist, Antoine Roquentin, experiences a sudden feeling of nausea while sitting in a park one day. This leads him on a journey of self-discovery as he grapples with his existence and the meaning of life.

Existentialism Is A Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre

Existentialism Is A Humanism is a famous lecture given by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1945. In this lecture, Sartre explains the basic principles of existentialism and defends it against various criticisms. He argues that existentialism is not pessimistic or nihilistic but rather emphasizes human freedom and choice.

Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre

Being and Nothingness is one of the most influential works in existentialist philosophy. In this book, Sartre develops his theory of consciousness and being-in-itself versus being-for-itself. He argues that humans are fundamentally free but also burdened with responsibility for their choices.

The Myth Of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

The Myth Of Sisyphus is an essay by Albert Camus that explores the theme of absurdity. In this essay, Camus argues that life is inherently meaningless and that the only way to deal with this is through rebellion and acceptance. He uses the myth of Sisyphus, who was doomed to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity, as a metaphor for the human condition.

Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard

Fear and Trembling is a philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard that explores the theme of faith and its relationship to ethics. The book tells the story of Abraham, who is called upon by God to sacrifice his son Isaac. Kierkegaard uses this story to explore the nature of faith and its place in human existence.

In Conclusion

These are just a few examples of books that can help you understand existentialism better. There are many other texts in this field that are worth exploring, such as works by Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Simone de Beauvoir. By reading these texts, you can gain a deeper understanding of existentialist philosophy and its relevance to our lives today.