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Abstract


A Comparative Study: Existentialism in No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre and Shadowless by Hasan Ali Toptaş
Existentialism has influenced a lot of literary works throughout history. Existentialism can be studied in literary works by means of foregrounding the existential themes and techniques. Some of these themes are being, change, freedom, self-cognizance, isolation, responsibility, free-will, and alienation. Traversing the boundary between philosophy and literature, this essay aims to analyse the existential themes of Jean Paul Sartre’s No Exit or Huis Clos (1944) and Hasan Ali Toptaş’s Shadowless or Gölgesizler (1993) with an intertextual and comparative approach. This essay considers Sartre’s No Exit and Toptaş’s Shadowless as postmodern texts. Before exploring the existentialist themes and techniques in No Exit and Shadowless, this study aims to discuss the tradition of existentialism in literature. After presenting an introductory review on such existentialist concepts in literature as existence, essence, freedom, angst, and absurd, some recurrent themes in Sartre’s and Toptaş’s works will be highlighted and analysed. After a brief exploration of the influence of existentialism on Turkish literature, the essay will focus on the textual analysis. No Exit will be analysed from the perspective provided by such concepts as “being-for-itself”, “being-for-other”, “isolation and claustrophobic existence”; as for Shadowless, “being and nothingness” and “anxiety of uncertainty, emptiness and meaninglessness” will serve as the existential themes reflected in the novel. Within the framework of existentialism, an intertextual approach to and a comparative analysis of Shadowless from Turkish Literature along with No Exit from French Literature is an attempt of situating Modern Turkish Literature within the broader regional and global context. As a last point, this paper also aims to contribute both to critical studies on Sartre’s work and scholarship on the woks of Hasan Ali Toptaş work whose works of fiction have rarely been discussed from a comparative or world literature studies perspective.

Keywords
Sartre, Toptaş, existentialism, the absurd, Turkish Literature



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