Charles Bukowski has been a staple of literature for several decades. His works, while praised for their immediacy and humor, have failed to gain prominence in the field of philosophy. This undergraduate honors thesis compares three of his best known novels to assertions set forth by contemporary existentialists in order to place Charles Bukowski among their ranks as a writer who expanded upon ideas set forth by philosophers of the time. This capstone includes references works by Albert Camus, Simone De Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger as the existentialists whose ideas are prominent in areas of Bukowski’s prose. Through exploring many of these philosophers seminal pieces it is uncovered that several facets of Bukowski’s narrator, Henry Chinaski, is a prime example of an existential character through his interactions with others, his perception of existence, and his turmoil within himself concerning his identity. With all of these characteristics combined, the assertion that Bukowski wrote in an existential manner is easily plausible.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-3-2012


Christopher J. Neumann

Mentor Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level




Department Name when Degree Awarded

English and Theatre