By Wayne C. Booth
Possibly no different severe label has been made to hide extra flooring than "irony," and in our time irony has come to have such a lot of meanings that on its own it skill nearly not anything. during this paintings, Wayne C. sales space cuts in the course of the ensuing confusions by way of examining how we have the ability to proportion really particular ironies—and why we regularly fail once we try and accomplish that. How does a reader or listener realize the type of assertion which calls for him to reject its "clear" and "obvious" which means? and the way does any reader recognize the place to forestall, as soon as he has launched into the damaging and exhilarating course of rejecting "what the phrases say" and reconstructing "what the writer means"?In the 1st and longer a part of his paintings, sales space bargains with the workings of what he calls "stable irony," irony with a transparent rhetorical motive. He then turns to meant instabilities—ironies that face up to interpretation and at last result in the "infinite absolute negativities" that experience obsessed feedback because the Romantic period.Professor sales space is often paradoxically conscious that nobody can fathom the unfathomable. yet by way of having a look heavily at volatile ironists like Samuel Becket, he exhibits that not less than a few of our commonplaces approximately meaninglessness require revision. eventually, he explores—with the aid of Plato—the wry paradoxes that threaten any uncompromising statement that every one statement should be undermined by way of the spirit of irony.
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Extra info for A Rhetoric of Irony (Phoenix Books)
6. The Compass oj Irony, pp. 57-58. See also Norman Knox, Th e Word Irony" and lIs Context, pp. 141-61. 7. Section IX, "A Digression concerning ... Madness ... " 49 Stable Irony "delivery" when there is no actual delivery? What is in fact "out of keeping" with what? Is it "the words" only? How do we know what "the subject" is if the words belie it? And how do we recognize "the true speaker" if we are given nothing but the words of a fal se representative? Before attempting to construct an adequate description of the clues which we in fact use in making our reconstructions (regardless of our critical theories ), I should like to dramatize once again the curiosity of what we do.
It is clear that if the final voice triumphs, then we have here s' the reverse of "advance warning" (clue no. 1 above). A very great portion of ironic essays could be said to have this essential structure (a) a plausible but false voice is presented; (b) contradictions of voice are introduced; (c) a correct voice is finally heard, repudlati all or most or some of what the ostensible speaker has said. Logically there is one further possibility in any conflict of facts claims to fact: both voices may be false.
How do you know th at Fielding was not being ironic in his ostensibly ironic attac k on Mrs. " If I am answered with a citation of other "ha rd" data in the WOrk, r can of CO urse claim that Fielding was ironic in his use of th em. But how do I know th at he was not really pretending to be ironic in their use, not in fact Ironicall y a ttackin g those who take such data without irony ? And so on. The SP irit of irony, if there is such a thing, cannot in itself answer such questions: PUrsued to the end , an ironic temper can dissolve everything, in an infinite chain of SolVents.
A Rhetoric of Irony (Phoenix Books) by Wayne C. Booth