50 Most Popular Books on Existentialism

Existentialism is a tradition of philosophical enquiry associated mainly with certain 19th and 20th-century European philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject — not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. While the predominant value of existentialist thought is commonly acknowledged to be freedom, its primary virtue is authenticity. In the view of the existentialist, the individual’s starting point is characterized by what has been called “the existential attitude”, or a sense of disorientation, confusion, or dread in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.

“Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable.”
― Albert CamusThe Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

#1 The Stranger by Albert Camus

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed “the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.

#2 Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

The novel takes place in ‘Bouville’ (literally, ‘Mud town’) a town similar to Le Havre, and it concerns a dejected historian, who becomes convinced that inanimate objects and situations encroach on his ability to define himself, on his intellectual and spiritual freedom, evoking in the protagonist a sense of nausea.

#3 The Plague by Albert Camus

The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition.

#4 The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Trial is a novel written by Franz Kafka between 1914 and 1915 and published posthumously in 1925. One of his best-known works, it tells the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority, with the nature of his crime revealed neither to him nor to the reader.

#5 The Fall by Albert Camus

Set in Amsterdam, The Fallconsists of a series of dramatic monologues by the self-proclaimed “judge-penitent” Jean-Baptiste Clamence, as he reflects upon his life to a stranger. In what amounts to a confession, Clamence tells of his success as a wealthy Parisian defense lawyer who was highly respected by his colleagues; his crisis, and his ultimate “fall” from grace, was meant to invoke, in secular terms, The Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. The Fall explores themes of innocence, imprisonment, non-existence, and truth.

#6 The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

#7 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

#8 Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

#9 Existentialism Is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre

#10 Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre

#11 No Exit and Three Other Plays by Jean-Paul Sartre

#12 The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

#13 Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

#14 The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”

#15 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

#16 Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

#17 Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

#18 Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

#19 Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard

#20 The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

#21 The Castle by Franz Kafka

#22 Being and Time by Martin Heidegger

#23 Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

#24 The Age of Reason by Jean-Paul Sartre

#25 The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt by Albert Camus

#26 Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre by Walter Kaufmann

#27 Either/Or: A Fragment of Life by Søren Kierkegaard

#28 No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

#29 The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening by Søren Kierkegaard

#30 Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophyby William Barrett

#31 The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir

#32 The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

#33 A Happy Death by Albert Camus

#34 At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell

#35 The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

#36 Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

#37 The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka

#38 Exile and the Kingdom by Albert Camus

#39 Basic Writings of Nietzsche by Friedrich Nietzsche

#40 The Metamorphosis by Peter Kuper

#41 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

#42 The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy

#43 The Portable Nietzsche by Friedrich Nietzsche

#44 Existentialism and Human Emotions by Jean-Paul Sartre

#45 Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction by Thomas R. Flynn

#46 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

#47 The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

#48 Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

#49 El túnel by Ernesto Sabato

#50 The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka


All images is from Pixabay/Wikimedia. Data is collected from Goodreads.com.Text from wikipedia

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