Divine Irony

Divine Irony

Divine Irony

Divine Irony

Synopsis

"This study argues that irony arises when an author or speaker assumes the divine perspective on human events, viewing them from the point of view enjoyed by the gods. The literary-critical evaluation of irony since the mid-twentieth century has concentrated on the attempt to "stabilize" irony and thereby restrict ironic interpretations of literary works. This attempt is part of a larger argument in literary studies over who controls the meaning of a literary work, the author or the reader/critic. Ultimately, irony appears to be a term with no definitive meaning, the product of a critical enterprise that over time identified particular literary devices and perspectives a irony." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This study had its origins in a graduate seminar on 2 Corinthians 10–13 led by Hans Dieter Betz at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago in spring of 1983. It first took on concrete form, however, in two presentations made to the first and third international conferences on rhetorical criticism, in Heidelberg in 1992 and London in 1995. I am indebted to the fine scholars who participated in those conferences for their friendship and their reactions to my presentations, reactions that spurred me to investigate further the nature of irony and its rhetorical uses.

As this book began to take shape, I benefited from the kindness of a number of friends and colleagues. My colleagues in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, especially Carl Olson and James F. Sheridan, provided support on a regular basis and were always ready to offer insightful opinions on whatever ideas I might present to them. Another colleague, Eric Palmer, provided a pair of apt terms when I needed them. Douglas M. Lanier of the Department of English at the University of New Hampshire read early drafts of the first few chapters and provided a thorough critique that has guided my thinking in innumerable ways. His enthusiasm and support for the project have been invaluable. His wife, Susan Walsh, also a professor of English at unh, has offered both support and hospitality when they were most needed. My friend and former student Katherine Burkett early on offered advice on style and approach, and many of my former and current students have offered reactions to portions of my work while it was in progress. I am indebted to all of them for their interest and support.

I am also deeply grateful for the contributions made to my work by the members of my family. My sister, Nancy J. Holland, professor of philosophy at Hamline University, read and critiqued the chapter on Socrates and Kierkegaard, asking questions and offering suggestions that have greatly improved that portion of . . .

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