Existentialism is a term applied to the work of certain late 19th- and 20th-century 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. In existentialism, the individual’s starting point is characterized by what has been called “the existential attitude”, or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience.
Søren Kierkegaard is generally considered to have been the first existentialist philosopher, though he did not use the term existentialism. He proposed that each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely (“authentically”). Existentialism became popular in the years following World War II, and strongly influenced many disciplines besides philosophy, including theology, drama, art, literature, and psychology.
Jeanette Winterson on reading, time, and how art creates a sanctified space for the human experience – spectacular 1994 interview.
Sara Bernhardt played Mélissinde in Edmon Rostand’s play La Princesse lointaine at the Théâtre de la Renaissance. Mucha created the poster for a special banquet in 1896. It was reproduced in La Plume magazine, the Edition d’Art, and as a postcard for the department store La Belle Jardinière.