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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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Gendering Irony and Its History

Gendering Irony and Its History

Ellen Glasgow and the Lost 1920s

(p.53) 2 Gendering Irony and Its History
The Politics of Irony in American Modernism

Matthew Stratton

Fordham University Press

This chapter analyzes irony as a specifically gendered figure with political implications by showing the role played by irony in the work of G.W.F. Hegel and Richard Rorty, which subsequently reveals a 1906 short story titled “The Birth of Irony” as a central example of irony’s gender politics. The chapter does so to reveal American novelist Ellen Glasgow’s immensely popular novel The Romantic Comedians (1926) as emblematic of a cultural and political context that includes the pragmatism of William James and key episodes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned (1922) and Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926). While irony re-emerged as a central analytical term for 1990s feminist theorists, Glasgow offers a radical feminist riposte to the persistent myth of the “unironic woman” from within popular modernist culture itself.

Keywords:   Irony, gender, feminism, American literature, Ellen Glasgow, Hegel, Kant, Katherine Holland Brown

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