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

By Wayne C. Booth

ISBN-10: 0226065537

ISBN-13: 9780226065533

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 nearly not anything. during this paintings, Wayne C. sales space cuts throughout the ensuing confusions through reading how we be capable of proportion really 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" which means? and the way does any reader recognize the place to prevent, as soon as he has launched into the unsafe 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 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 eventually result in the "infinite absolute negativities" that experience obsessed feedback because the Romantic period.Professor sales space is often paradoxically acutely aware that not anyone can fathom the unfathomable. yet via having 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. eventually, he explores—with the aid of Plato—the wry paradoxes that threaten any uncompromising statement that every one statement will be undermined by way of the spirit of irony.

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But it is also clear by now why irony causes so much trouble. An aggressively intellectual exercise that fuses fact and value, requiring us to construct alternative hierarchies and choose among them; demands that we look down on other men's follies or sins ; floods us with emotion-charged value judgments which claim to be backed by the mind; accuses other men not only of wrong beliefs but of being wrong at their very foundations and blind to what these foundations imply-all of this coupled with a kind of subtlety that cannot be deciphered or "proved" simply by looking closely at the words: no wonder that "failure to communicate" and resulting quarrels are often found where irony dwells.

14 To sustain the objection about this passage, the objector will have to provide his grounds for stopping along the path at some earlier point. And 1 think that he will always find that his stopping point is in some sense conventional-rhetorical in the sense that it is based on the kind of inferential relationship between readers and intending authors I have described ; hard facts are only as hard, in reading irony, as is allowed by authors' and readers' assumptions about what is hard and what soft.

7-41. 2. "The Theme of Ulysses ," Kenyon Review 18 (Winter 1956) : 36. See my The Rhetoric of Fiction, pp. 325-26, and passim, for examples of controversy about such matters. 47 ~ - I Stable Irony Is It Ironic? " by one prospective victim to other prospective victims. 3 It is sometimes assumed that the effort to clarify or to rule out false interpretations is somehow anti-literary because it is against the spirit of irony. I shall work on the contrary assumption unproved: that with certain kinds of irony the mind's irrepressible desire to be clear is the very source of whatever pleasure or profit is to be found .

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


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