Dr Serge Larocque

Supervised by

  • Adam Roberts First/primary/lead supervisor


Research interests

My critical and creative work are set in the field of absurdist fiction.  I aim to revive this genre, and adapt it for a contemporary audience. I studied Albert Camus's L'étranger and pinpointed the elements of his style that he used to convey his absurdist philosophy, and modified these elements to adhere to the needs of a contemporary audience. In a sense, I observed Camus's mechanics of style in L'étranger, and modified them to be relevant for contemporary readers. My creative work, Smoke Rings, stands as a testament to the practical application of my contentions.

Personal profile

Thesis Abstract:

Questions about consciousness, existence and where one fits in the world are perennial. Literary fiction has long been associated with such philosophical notions, but it was philosophers turned writers who have managed to address these issues directly. This thesis considers the communication and appropriation of Albert Camus’s philosophy of the Absurd through works of literary fiction, and addresses two questions: What elements of style did Camus use in L’étranger to facilitate the understanding and appropriation of his absurdist ideas, and how can these elements be applied or modified to suit a contemporary audience?

This thesis argues that this literary mode transcends historical boundaries, and that the philosophical ideas which are at the forefront of absurdist fiction can help readers navigate the turmoil of their lives. This thesis also argues the importance of following a particular literary style when writing in this genre, which champions the use of a stream of consciousness-style narration, short and simple prose, and establishing a lack of emotion throughout the text. Lastly, this critical piece argues for the use of a specific type of main character, who embodies or represents the philosophical notion of Camus’s revolt through his behaviour and beliefs, as well as through his physical and psychological profile. To exemplify my contentions, I have produced a work of absurdist fiction which adheres to the arguments and ideas presented in this thesis.


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