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 capacity virtually not anything. during this paintings, Wayne C. sales space cuts during the ensuing confusions via examining how we be capable to proportion rather particular ironies—and why we regularly fail once 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 understand the place to prevent, as soon as he has launched into the dangerous 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 cause. 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 interval.
Professor sales space is usually paradoxically conscious that nobody can fathom the unfathomable. yet by way of having a look heavily at risky ironists like Samuel Becket, he indicates 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 may be undermined by means of the spirit of irony.
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Additional info for A Rhetoric of Irony
321- 24. H ere of All aCes (New York, 1958), p . 88. 51 1 Stable Irony Is It Ironic? turn all philosophical questions into scientific or logical q\lestions, or intend irony, it would be odd, or outlandish, or inept, or stupid of him 'I A. 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.
4. "Les avaient la premiere a rm ee du monde. " 18. In Jean Cayrol's Les corps eli'angers (Paris, 1959) , for example, the rator tells one contradicto ry story after another about his life ; there is s' no way that I can discover to accept anythin g he says as valid. The final graph starts again , with one more unreliab le version of a life that pe recedes from us: "Je vais tout te dire. Je te jure que je ne vais pas arranger petite vie. Tout. Je suis ne dans un petit village de Seine-et-Mal11e, un soir d'h dans une famille d'une grande noblesse.
They may even have seen the irony as a sign of desperation or dull-wittedness_ one usually does not think ironic attacks are clever if they are made agai nst objects that do not deserve attack. 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.
A Rhetoric of Irony by Wayne C. Booth