By Wayne C. Booth
Maybe 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 potential virtually not anything. during this paintings, Wayne C. sales space cuts in the course of the ensuing confusions through examining how we be capable to percentage rather particular ironies—and why we frequently 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" that means? and the way does any reader comprehend the place to forestall, 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 bargains with the workings of what he calls "stable irony," irony with a transparent rhetorical purpose. He then turns to meant instabilities—ironies that withstand interpretation and eventually result in the "infinite absolute negativities" that experience obsessed feedback because the Romantic interval.
Professor sales space is usually sarcastically conscious that not anyone can fathom the unfathomable. yet through having a look heavily at volatile ironists like Samuel Becket, he exhibits that a minimum of 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 every one statement could be undermined by way of the spirit of irony.
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Extra info for A Rhetoric of Irony
On the other hand , those who we re already mov ing toward Cicero's extreme position would be given a strong additional boost toward it by their admiration for his cleverness, such as it is, and by their pride in joining him; if he is "right" in his wit he is probably " right" in his judgment. And of COurse their pleas ure in their own shrewdness and vitality is all transferred to the judgment aga inst Clodius. ~Bclieve I t is hard to think of any stable irony that does not, for the proper reader, add this kind of complex intellectual force to whatever other ctlects are at work.
J. " Every clue thus depends for jts validity on tive statements" convey no knowledge. In literary criticism the notion norms (generally unspoken) which the reader embraces and which he has been stated and resisted again and again. v But belief in the distincinfers, rightly or wrongly, that his author intends. Rhetorically speaktion underlies many efforts to make the humanities and social studies ing, it makes no difference whether we think of these norms as being quantitative and hence, presumably, scientific.
He is a very frank, a very earnest, a very conscientious man, in whom one should place slight confidence .... I can say nothing in his favour except that he is busy .... If you can reconstruct that passage into explicit guidance about much acceptance or rejection to grant Burke's hero, you are a subtle reader indeed, perhaps the very reader that the young Burke hoping for. t" 1'"" .. years later: I have found that the title of this work can be misleading, if the words are read without ironic discount.
A Rhetoric of Irony by Wayne C. Booth