A Rhetoric of Irony (Phoenix Books) by Wayne C. Booth

By Wayne C. Booth

Might be no different serious 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 capacity nearly not anything. during this paintings, Wayne C. sales space cuts throughout the ensuing confusions by way of studying how we have the capacity to percentage relatively particular ironies—and why we frequently fail after we attempt to accomplish that. How does a reader or listener realize the type of assertion which calls for him to reject its "clear" and "obvious" that means? and the way does any reader recognize the place to prevent, as soon as he has launched into the damaging and exhilarating direction of rejecting "what the phrases say" and reconstructing "what the writer means"?In the 1st and longer a part of his paintings, sales space offers with the workings of what he calls "stable irony," irony with a transparent rhetorical purpose. He then turns to meant instabilities—ironies that face up to interpretation and eventually bring about the "infinite absolute negativities" that experience obsessed feedback because the Romantic period.Professor sales space is usually paradoxically acutely aware that not anyone can fathom the unfathomable. yet by means of taking a look heavily at volatile ironists like Samuel Becket, he indicates that at the very least a few of our commonplaces approximately meaninglessness require revision. ultimately, he explores—with the aid of Plato—the wry paradoxes that threaten any uncompromising statement that each one statement will be undermined by means of the spirit of irony.

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Extra resources for A Rhetoric of Irony (Phoenix Books)

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43 Stable Irony ing any irony worth bothering about, we read life itself, and we work on our relations to others as they deal with it. We read character and value, we refer to our deepest convictions. For this reason, irony is an extraordinarily good road into the whole art of interpretation. Though ironic statements are only a small part of all that men say to each other-even in this highly ironic age-they bring to light the hidden complexities that are mastered whenever men succeed in understanding each other in any mode, even the mos~ flat and literal.

See Barbara Herrnstein Smith , Poelic Closure: A Study of How End (Chicago, 1968) , p. 254, and Claudette Kemper, "Irony Anew, with casional Reference to Byron and Browning," Studies in English Literature (1967): 705- 19, esp. pp. 708- 11. 48 Considering how much has been written about irony, one finds surprisingly little about how we manage to understand it. The first problem is how we recognize that we should even begin reconstruction. Quintilian went about as far as anybody until recently, when he said that irony "is made evident to the understanding either by the delivery [assuming a speaker, not a writer], the character of the speaker or the nature of the subject.

LLCm English literature, as distinct from American English literature, more remote from even his very blight students in each because the community of knowers sharing anyone such shrinks from generation to generation. It is true that an int"lJle,vul reader ignorant of the Xantippe convention can reconstruct from passage itself (using other steps that I shall describe) the essen inference that Mrs. Partridge is not noble and that she is "in fact" virago. But this will still not give the precise ironic shade to the s that is given if the historical convention about Xantippe is al known.

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