Irony fuels critical debate

ironyWhat is it about irony–as both an object of philosophical reflection and a literary technique—that fuels critical debate? Boston College Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Kevin Newmark examines this question in Irony on Occasion: From Schlegel and Kierkegaard to Derrida and de Man (Fordham University Press, 2012). Critically hailed as “timely, provocative, carefully reasoned and argued, and unique in its scope,” it focuses on key moments in German Romanticism and its afterlife in 20th-century French thought and writing. Chapters focus on Friedrich Schlegel, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, Jean Paulhan, Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man. Neither a historical nor a thematic study of irony, the book examines occasions of ironic disruption and offers an alternative model for conceiving of historical occurrences and their potential for acquiring meaning.

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