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World Philosophy Day 2019: 5 Philosophical Novels One Must Read

On World Philosophy Day, here's looking at 5 works of fiction that have philosophical undertones.

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Updated:November 21, 2019, 12:35 PM IST
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World Philosophy Day 2019: 5 Philosophical Novels One Must Read
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Observed on November 21 every year, World Philosophy Day was introduced in 2002 by UNESCO to renew national and international commitment to philosophy as well as to foster philosophical analysis and raise public awareness of the importance of philosophy among other objectives. According to the UN website, the 2019 edition aims to highlight the importance of philosophy in different regional contexts.

Philosophy has always been an integral part of literature with authors going back to it time and again to question a lot of realities in life, the role of society, the purpose of life itself or ethics and morals.

On World Philosophy Day, here's looking at 5 works of fiction that have philosophical undertones.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka: The 1915 novella, one of his best-known works, tells the story of salesman Gregor Samsa who wakes up one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a huge insect. Much discussed, one of the main philosophical undertones of the novel is that the book provides an example of a deprived existence and a functionalistic professional life.

The Stranger by Albert Camus: The 1942 novel is often cited for being an example of Camus's philosophy of the absurd and existentialism. While on the surface it seems like a simple read, the book deals extensively with existentialism and contemplates human nature and its role in the universe.

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse: The 1951 novel about a man named Siddhartha during the time of Gautama Buddha traces the philosophy of the best way to understand reality and attain enlightenment. Set in the ancient Nepalese kingdom of Kapilavastu, the novel tries to put forward the view that understanding is not attained through intellectual means or other experiences, but rather it is the sum total of all experiences that brings understanding to man.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding: The 1954 novel focuses on a group of boys who are stranded on an island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves. An allegorical novel, the book focuses on conflicting human impulses towards a social organisation and civilisation at large. It also hints towards man's craving for power and its disastrous consequences.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: The 1988 novel, originally written in Portuguese, is known for its allegorical undertones and highlights the philosophy, "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true."

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