The Critical Mythology of Irony

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9780820313092: The Critical Mythology of Irony

A theoretical work that ranges from the age of Socrates to the late 20th century, this book traces the development of the various concepts of irony within the history of Western literary criticism. Its purpose is not to promote a universal definition of irony, whether traditional or revisionist, but to examine how such definitions were created in critical history and what their use and invocation implies. It is Joseph Dane's premise that the diverse, supposed forms of irony - Socratic, rhetorical, romantic, dramatic, to name a few - are not so much literary elements imbedded in texts and awaiting discovery by critics as they are notions used by critics of different eras and persuasions to manipulate texts in various, often self-serving ways. Dane contends that the history of irony cannot by strictly chronological. Socratic irony as understood today is heavily influenced by theories of romantic irony and by earlier ideas originating during the Renaissance. Chaucerian irony, he says, has less to do with Chaucer than with critical concepts that developed between the late 1800s and the advent of New Criticism in the late 1920s and 1930s. And dramatic irony, despite the critical insistence on its origins in Sophocles, is best understood as a product of such 19th-century commentators as Adam Muller and Connop Thirlwall. The history of irony, Dane suggests, runs parallel to the history of criticism, and the changing definitions of irony reflect the changing ways in which readers and critics have defined their own roles in relation to literature. Probing and provocative, "The Critical Mythology of Irony" should appeal to a broad critical audience, particularly those literary scholars concerned with the historical basis of critical language and the political and educational implications of that language. Joseph A. Dane is the author of "Res/Verba: A Study in Medieval French Drama" and "Parody: Critical Concepts vs. Literary Practices, Aristophanes to Sterne".

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About the Author:

Joseph A. Dane is a professor of English at the University of Southern California. He is the author of many books, including most recently "The Long and the Short of It: A Practical Guide to European Versification Systems," and "Out of Sorts: Typography and Print Culture."


Dane provides the reader with a clear framework and a historical background against which an understanding of irony in all its shades and nuances begins to form.

(Modern Language Review)

Irony exists only in the eye of the ironologist, argues the author of this sweeping, deconstructive survey. . . . Dane is certainly right that the strategies for identifying and dealing with ‘what cannot be taken at face value’ have varied from age to age and school to school.

(Virginia Quarterly Review)

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Dane, Joseph A.
Published by Univ of Georgia Pr (1991)
ISBN 10: 0820313092 ISBN 13: 9780820313092
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Univ of Georgia Pr, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110820313092

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