A Rhetoric of Irony by Wayne C. Booth

By Wayne C. Booth

Maybe no different serious 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 by means of examining how we have the ability to percentage relatively particular ironies—and why we frequently fail once 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" 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 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 motive. 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 interval.

Professor sales space is often paradoxically conscious that not anyone can fathom the unfathomable. yet by way of taking a look heavily at risky ironists like Samuel Becket, he exhibits 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 could be undermined by way of the spirit of irony.

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On the One hand we have the rigorous "scientific" search for certainty; On the tw . other hand the doubtful. , Bertrand Russell's early effort to PI 8. Civilisation: A Perso nal View (London, 1969) , pp. 321- 24. H ere of All aCes (New York, 1958), p . 88. 51 1 Stable Irony Is It Ironic? turn all philosophical questions into scientific or logical q\lestions, or intend irony, it would be odd, or outlandish, or inept, or stupid of him 'I A. J. " Every clue thus depends for jts validity on tive statements" convey no knowledge.

And of COurse their pleas ure in their own shrewdness and vitality is all transferred to the judgment aga inst Clodius. ~Bclieve I t is hard to think of any stable irony that does not, for the proper reader, add this kind of complex intellectual force to whatever other ctlects are at work. ceble th e irony, will be stronger than a simple " I love you"- unless it ~s reve rsed because the irony has been mi ssed, or weakened because it IS see n as a hint of blame disguised as disguised blame. "You don't thrill me when you hold me, no , not much"--even this drab stroke, from a rece nt popu lar song, implies an intellectual sharing : we not only love cach oth er, we understand each other.

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.

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