Irony in the Eye of the Beholder. Review of "Irony's Edge: The Theory and Politics of Irony" by Linda Hutcheon
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Hutcheon's fundamental principle, and the point which sets her work apart from the mass of formalist and intentionalist analysis of irony that has gone before, is that irony is an event which is inferred by the reader/watcher/listener, rather than a formal trope of language or a deliberate message from the artist. Wisely, she does not claim that form or intention are irrelevant to irony, but she carves out her territory in "the theory and politics of irony" in the zone of reader-response and the pragmatics of reception.