The lasting appeal of Existentialism as a literary, philosophical and artistic movement has much to do with its overall approach to basic human questions, such as: how to live in a seemingly absurd world full of incomprehensible forces and events. For example, when one lives during a time of war, it becomes tempting to conclude that life is absurd, that justice is an impossible ideal, and that beauty is only a temporary distraction. This course is an investigation of some of the central themes in the Existentialist tradition, including some of the most famous late 19th and early 20th Century writers in that tradition. We will be focusing on the writings of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, and Beauvoir.