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Introduction - On Ludicrous Solemnity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2022

Shane Herron
Affiliation:
Flinders University of South Australia
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Summary

Rather than understanding irony as the simple opposite of earnestness, sincerity, or genuineness, I want to suggest that it represents a mode of playful engagement with the hidden connective tissue that links the various commitments – serious or flippant, affirmative or destructive, quiescent or contentious – of a work, object, or discourse. Irony activates the latent trace of the one in the other, demonstrating how each of these serve ulterior motives beyond their stated purpose. Earnestness in turn can intensify its credibility and seriousness of purpose by confronting and working through the contradictions and tensions that ironic scrutiny exposes. A discourse or ideology is defined not only by what it values but also by what it attacks and rejects, by what it finds beautiful as well as by what it finds amusing, silly, or ridiculous. Irony activates, interrogates, and reorganizes the different possible combinations and permutations of commitments that organize any value system.

Type
Chapter
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Irony and Earnestness in Eighteenth-Century Literature
Dimensions of Satire and Solemnity
, pp. 1 - 17
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • On Ludicrous Solemnity
  • Shane Herron, Flinders University of South Australia
  • Book: Irony and Earnestness in Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • Online publication: 19 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108993227.001
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  • On Ludicrous Solemnity
  • Shane Herron, Flinders University of South Australia
  • Book: Irony and Earnestness in Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • Online publication: 19 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108993227.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • On Ludicrous Solemnity
  • Shane Herron, Flinders University of South Australia
  • Book: Irony and Earnestness in Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • Online publication: 19 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108993227.001
Available formats
×