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The Politics of Irony in American Modernism$
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Matthew Stratton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823255450

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823255450.001.0001

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Irony and How It Got That Way

Irony and How It Got That Way

An Introduction

(p.1) Irony and How It Got That Way
The Politics of Irony in American Modernism

Matthew Stratton

Fordham University Press

This chapter shows how invocations of “the death of irony” running from World War I through September 11, 2001 illuminate the specific conceptual and rhetorical role played by “irony” before, during, and after American modernist aesthetics and politics. Analyzing examples from many different centuries, writers, genres, and places, the chapter delineates the primary conceptual and methodological parameters for the book as a whole by drawing upon theoretical and literary vocabularies that understand irony as the controversial means of representing relationships between facts and values. The chapter establishes the continuing relevance of a long tradition that simultaneously deploys irony in a variety of contexts and uses the keyword “irony” as a concept to describe and debate intersections between aesthetics and politics.

Keywords:   irony, politics, aesthetics, modernism, postmodernism, American literature, novel

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