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

By Wayne C. Booth

ISBN-10: 0226065537

ISBN-13: 9780226065533

Maybe 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 capability nearly not anything. during this paintings, Wayne C. sales space cuts during the ensuing confusions by way of examining how we be capable of percentage rather particular ironies—and why we regularly fail once 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" that means? and the way does any reader understand the place to prevent, as soon as he has launched into the harmful 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 bargains with the workings of what he calls "stable irony," irony with a transparent rhetorical rationale. 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 paradoxically acutely aware that nobody can fathom the unfathomable. yet by way of having a look heavily at risky ironists like Samuel Becket, he indicates that not less than 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 will be undermined by means of the spirit of irony.

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See also Blake's couplets: Thank God, I never was sent to school ... To be Flog 'd into following the Style of a Fool. The Errors of a Wise Man m ake your Rule Rather th an the Perfections of a Fool. (B lake: Complete Writings, ed. p. ) 39 Stable Irony and (4) whether the ironist was justified in forcing us to go to all of this trouble-is he, finally, writing or speaking well? The last three of these are shared with the reader of non-metaphorical passages, but irony transforms even these. The first is shared in some degree with readers of other figurative writing, but again irony dramatizes and heightens the choices until they are scarcely recognizable.

Others that do not in themselves look clearly ironic become so when one understands the general run of Kierkegaard's arguments against Hegel's reading of Socrates: "One statement of Hegel expresses quite simply but with much pregnancy of thought how the daimonic is to be understood" (p. 189) . But there are vast numbers of passages in this as in other books by Kierkegaard about which even experts are in disagreement, though they are never in disagreement about whether Kierkegaard intended vast numbers of stable (and unstable) ironies.

They mayor may not be reliable clues as to what the work achieves. The author, for all we can know in advance, may turn things upside down once more. Why not, then, give real help? " Such a blatant clue, as Muecke says, would almost always reduce the val ue of the irony. ll Just how confusing a warning network can become, in the conscious thought of the author himself, is shOwn in the two prefaces Kenneth Burke wrote for his novel Towards a Better Lije. " They are a kind of fictive moralizing wherein, even though the dogmas are prior to the events, these dogmas are 10.

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