Download e-book for kindle: A Rhetoric of Irony (Phoenix Books) by Wayne C. Booth

By Wayne C. Booth

ISBN-10: 0226065537

ISBN-13: 9780226065533

Might be no different serious label has been made to hide extra floor than "irony," and in our time irony has come to have such a lot of meanings that on its own it capability virtually not anything. during this paintings, Wayne C. sales space cuts during the ensuing confusions by means of studying how we have the capacity to proportion fairly particular ironies—and why we frequently fail after 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 recognize the place to prevent, as soon as he has launched into the harmful 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 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 period.Professor sales space is often mockingly conscious that nobody can fathom the unfathomable. yet by way of taking a look heavily at risky ironists like Samuel Becket, he indicates that at the least a few of our commonplaces approximately meaninglessness require revision. eventually, he explores—with assistance from 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 resources for A Rhetoric of Irony (Phoenix Books)

Sample text

Our pride is more engaged in right about irony than about many matters that might seem more portant-being logical or consistent, for example. If I am wrong irony, I am wrong at deeper levels than I like to have exposed. When am "taken in," my profoundest beliefs and my most deeply rooted tellectual habits are under judgment. But is it not also true that I equally under judgment, if not by my fellow men then by the mocklU~ spirit of irony, when I see ironies that are not there? 7. , esp. pp. 91 , 165, 206.

2. The metaphor also dramatizes the possibility of an unlimited variety of "distances" between the dwelling places. " What is up for some ironists will of course be down for others; when ironists pretend, as they sometimes do, to invite us downward, it is downward only on their victim's scale but still upward on the ironist's own. An atheist satirizing the naive piety of a believer- "It almost broke my heart to have to undeceive him, dragging him down from the heights to grovel with me in the facts of life as it is lived"-is inviting us to look down on the rejected position just as much as God is when he says to Job: Where were you when I laid the earth 's foundations?

Partridge, in Tom Jones, that she was "a professed follower of that noble sect founded by Xantippe of old," it was of no importance to him or his readers to ask whether Socrates' wife was in fact a "Xantippe," a virago; what was important was whether readers in general could be assumed to believe so. le~ge not so much of historical fact ~~~I notlo~f valId Judgment. If he can ass ume that Fielding would assume that he would assume Fielding's assu mption of such knowledge in all readers-our old circularitythe n the ironic interpretation is certain.

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