Download A Rhetoric of Irony by Wayne C. Booth PDF

By Wayne C. Booth

Probably 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 ability virtually not anything. during this paintings, Wayne C. sales space cuts in the course of the ensuing confusions by way of studying how we be able to percentage really particular ironies—and why we frequently fail once we attempt to 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 be aware of the place to prevent, as soon as he has launched into the damaging 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 reason. 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 interval.

Professor sales space is usually mockingly acutely aware that not anyone can fathom the unfathomable. yet by means of 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 assistance from Plato—the wry paradoxes that threaten any uncompromising statement that every one statement may be undermined via the spirit of irony.

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None of these could be proved by established methods; most are at least questionable. In spoken ironies, especially in conversation, we are accustomed to from them we build a conclusion that is unshakable. catching a variety of clues that are not in themselves ironic-direct The processes by which I come to my convictions about nudges of the elbow and winks of the eye. In written irony the same intentions of the authors implied by such passages are, then , sufficieu u'f kind of nudge is sometimes given-often to the distress 9f readers who remarkable to justify tracing in detail.

All figurative speech can be seen as a mutual performance in this sense, beyond paraphrase. Any terminology that, like I. A. Richards 's tenor and vehicle, suggests otherwise is misleading. REQUIRED JUDGMENTS In reading stable irony we are always required to make a series of prec ise judgments. Not only must we take the four steps described in chapter 1, which include (1) a judgment against the overt proposition and (2 ) a decision about where the author stands; we now see that it is almost impOssible to escape two additional judgments, about (3) Whether the reconstructed building is indeed a good place to dwell in, 3.

For an interesting and useful distinction between stable irony "put-on"-an "ironic" statement that the ironist does not expect to be structed (and m ay not himself even understand)-see Jacob A. B account in Th e New Yorker, 24 June 1967, pp. 34-73. See also D . C. Muecke distinction between overt and covert irony, on the one hand, and "private i on the other (The Compass of Tron y, esp. pp. 59-60). 4. See Barbara Herrnstein Smith , Poelic Closure: A Study of How End (Chicago, 1968) , p. 254, and Claudette Kemper, "Irony Anew, with casional Reference to Byron and Browning," Studies in English Literature (1967): 705- 19, esp.

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