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

By Wayne C. Booth

Might be 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 skill nearly not anything. during this paintings, Wayne C. sales space cuts throughout the ensuing confusions via interpreting how we have the ability to percentage rather particular ironies—and why we frequently 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 be aware of the place to forestall, as soon as he has launched into the dangerous 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 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 period.Professor sales space is usually satirically conscious that not anyone can fathom the unfathomable. yet via having a look heavily at risky ironists like Samuel Becket, he indicates that at the least 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 each one statement might be undermined by means of the spirit of irony.

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Extra info for A Rhetoric of Irony (Phoenix Books)

Example text

But note again that the rejected meaning is, in all metaphor and simile, so uninviting or irrelevant that there is really no contest. "Business is a rat-race. " "My love is like a red , red rose. " The strictly literal meanings are so obviously unlikely that only the metaphoric meaning has sufficient appeal to be considered seriously. Though a literal image of rat-races, elephants, or roses may remain part of our final reconstruction, insofar as they do they in no sense cancel or subtract from the non-literal views that the reader has come to.

Logically there is one further possibility in any conflict of facts claims to fact: both voices may be false. It is comforting to find that rcalms of irony are sometimes actually inhabited by the creatures logic would predict. Muecke cites some splendid examples of what calls "Double Irony," a form "in which two equally invalid points view cancel each other out": The penguins had the most powerful army in the world. So had the porpoisesY Reading the first sentence, we might think for a moment that we hearing the author's voice conveying a plain fact.

S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" a\yare that much of what I shall say on this score may seem obvious -these all give us quite directly information that we can immediat~ly some readers . But this does not trouble me : in a sense the greater use in suspecting "secret" intentions behind the narrator's words. "My obviousness the stronger the demonstration that we haJe overstres narrator-hero is a con-man, and I invite you to stand up here with me "failures of communication" and disagreements and undervalued (somewhere, somewhere up here, a new place that you'll have to agreements.

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