Existentialism: Philosophy and Literature

Course code PHIL3015
Not available in 2017


Students will engage with the philosophy and fiction of Jean-Paul Sartre. The texts studied will include the following English-language translations: Being and Nothingness (London: Routledge, 1993), Nausea (London: Penguin, 2000) and The Wall (New York: New Directions, 1975).

Students will learn to analyse philosophically and negotiate critically various aspects of the Sartrean account of human existence; they will also reflect on Sartre's position within the main movements of twentieth-century French literature, including Modernism, Surrealism and Postmodernism.


Not currently available.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2015.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of existentialist thought

2. Analyse both philosophical and literary texts

3. Challenge their understanding of existence;

4. Reflect on the broader philosophical and literary contexts into which Sartre's writing fits;

5. Perform textual criticism, challenging existing meanings and understandings of canonical texts and offering their own interpretations of primary material;

6. Develop research skills by engaging with secondary material;

7. Analyse the ways in which world-views are moulded by society's control structures.


The Philosophy of Existentialism, including:

  • the notions of absurdity, contingency and freedom, being for itself, authenticity & bad faith.

Sartre's seminal novel 'Nausea' as embodying existential and phenomenological themes.

The fictional representations of Existentialism in 'The Wall' and other works;

Consideration of the literature of Existentialism in relation to Surrealism, Modernism & Postmodernism.

Replacing Course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): ENGL3015. Students who have successfully completed ENGL3015 are not eligible to enrol in PHIL3015.


This course replaces ENGL3015 If you have successfully completed ENGL3015 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed Knowledge

20 units of Philosophy at 1000 level.

Assessment Items

Essay: 3 x Essays

Contact Hours