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

By Wayne C. Booth

Possibly no different severe 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 capacity virtually not anything. during this paintings, Wayne C. sales space cuts throughout the ensuing confusions via interpreting how we be ready to proportion particularly particular ironies—and why we frequently fail after we try and achieve this. 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 comprehend the place to forestall, 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 bargains with the workings of what he calls "stable irony," irony with a transparent rhetorical motive. 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 satirically conscious that nobody can fathom the unfathomable. yet by means of taking a look heavily at risky ironists like Samuel Becket, he exhibits that not less than 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 might be undermined by way of the spirit of irony.

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Sample text

We can see from this again that even flat contradictions of and in great number- cannot always by themselves prove to a I t irony is present. His estimate of what kinds of ignorance or error or l~sjudgment are humanly probable is always called into play, a very ~fferent thing from judging what is true. It is clear that in the passage by Lancaster with which we began this chapter, we do not depend very much on plain, "demonstrable" historical inaccuracy-whatever that might be-in deciding that the "great towns of the Midlands" with their "large hou sing estates" and "cheerful" inhabitants are to him miserable, inhu man, and unnatural blights.

Hemingway began The Sun Also Rises with two epigraphs, quoting Gertrude Stein, "You are all a lost generation," and the quoting Ecclesiastes to explain the title of the novel. The author ~ read~ 54 Is It Ironic? ppea red again directly; having warned the reader that he perhaps saw :hese characters as in some sense lost he then left them to speak entireJy for themselves. Or rather one should say that he ' pretended to. lo c) Other direct clues. " There are two important points to remember about such direct warnings-whether in titles, epigraphs, or supplementary statements: it is foolish to ignore them when they are offered, but it is dangerous to take them at face value.

When there are two contradictory statements like this, there is no way of knowing in advance Whether the firs t Or second voice will be repudiated; but usually one or the other must be, and the probability is that the final voice will triumph, as it does here, unless we are given explicit evidence against it. The process of decision may be easy, as in most of Pope's undertnlnlOgs, or hard, but it will always be complex when viewed closely, as 16. Alexander Pope, The Rape oj th e Lock , lines 15-16.

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