Wayne C(layson) Booth Kenneth Burke - Essay

Kenneth Burke

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

It is gratifying to read so calm and academically mellow a book [as A Rhetoric of Irony] in days like these when so much is hurried and harried and always going awry. But A Rhetoric of Irony is hard to review. For besides its saying so much so well, the appeal of the subject matter makes the reviewer, like Jimmy Durante's everybody, want to get into the act….

By "rhetoric" [Booth] has in mind the ways whereby the use of irony establishes a bond of "communion" between writer and reader. When a sentence would be interpreted one way if taken straight, quite as it says on its surface, and a wholly different way if read with the proper ironic discount, then ironic writer and ironic reader...

(The entire section is 558 words.)