about the genre

Philosophical literature is the genre of fiction (or highly stylized non-fiction) that uses its stories to explore larger philosophical concepts. According to Wikipedia, "[p]hilosophical novels are works of fiction in which a significant proportion of the novel is devoted to a discussion of the sort of questions normally addressed in discursive philosophy. These might include the function and role of society, the purpose of life, ethics or morals, the role of art in human lives, and the role of experience or reason in the development of knowledge. Philosophical novels would include the so-called novel of ideas, including a significant proportion of science fiction, utopian/dystopian novels, and Bildungsroman.

Authors including Sartre, Huxley, Goethe, Dante, Faulkner, Joyce, O'Connor, and countless others can be considered philosophical authors due to their engagement of deeper ideas that go beyond what is normally involved in literature.


Some classic examples of philosophical literature include:

  • Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
  • "The Metamorphosis," Franz Kafka
  • Candide, Voltaire
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The Fall, Albert Camus
  • Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  • Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
  • "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," Flannery O'Connor
  • Labyrinths, Jorge Luis Borges