Robert Fenhagen’s Beautiful People is a very short (I would say concise) story that is not concerned at all with beautiful people. Nor is it an essay on beauty, and what beauty may mean to different (beautiful) people, as seen (and perceived) from different (possibly beautiful) angles.
It is rather a minimalist piece of absurd literature that is about beautiful people as much as Eugène Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano (La cantatrice chauve) is about bald sopranos. Truth be told, both beautiful people and bald sopranos (and their equally juxtaposable positions) are only pretexts for the setting in of the absurd in a kind of literature that is absurd only inasmuch as its absurdness does not become an absurdity on its own merits. And the essential difference between the absurdness of a piece of absurd literature and the absurdity that it may fall prey to by all accounts is the optimal gauge of the absurd by which measure one is to know the proper length of a literary text that is edging on the absurd itself.
What is, then, the best length for any literary text to become literature of the absurd? Is there such a textual limit at which the absurd can penetrate literature and make its presence known in the form of the literature of the absurd?
The answer may seem nothing short of absurd itself. Yet, the answer is neither absurd nor possible. The answer is beyond the absurd of the situation that has made it plausible in the first place. In fact, the answer is utterly unknown to the asker except for a few historical hints that, on their own, cannot compose a fully articulate answer.
These hints are simple literary innuendos that should not be taken into consideration unless the asker is willing to do with them as if they were the stuff the optimal gauge of the absurd is made of.
However, these hints do exist and cannot be completely ignored. For what it’s worth, they at least give the asker (whoever it might be) a starting point from which to advance into the nature of something that simply cannot be advanced at all. The optimal gauge of the absurd may as well be a literary chimera, or a fanciful literary device by means of which the asker feigns the knowable by delving into the unknown, but it is also the fixedly known starting point for any (further) enquiry into the ever less known facts among which one is the optimal gauge of the absurd.
I will not prolong this concrete suspense by my theoretical incursions any more. These hints, vague as they may be, are all the asker is left with from studying all the...