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domingo, 1 de junio de 2014

Milan Kundera on his definition of Irony (The art of the novel)






Irony. Which is right and which is wrong? Is Emma Bovary intolerable? Or brave and touching? And what about Werther? Is he sensitive and noble? Or an aggressive sentimentalist, infatuated with himself? The more attentively we read a novel, the more impossible the answer, because the novel is by definition, the ironic art: its “truth” is concealed, undeclared, undeclarable. “Remember, Razumov, that women, children, and revolutionists hate irony, which is the negation of all saving instincts, of all faith, of all devotion, of all action,” says a Russian woman revolutionary in Joseph Conrad’s Under Western Eyes. Irony irritates. Not because not because it mocks or attacks but because it denies us our certainties by unmasking the world as an ambiguity. Leonardo Sciascia: “There is nothing harder to understand, more indecipherable than irony.” It is futile to try and make a novel “difficult” through stylistic affectation; any novel worth the name, however limpid it may be, is difficult enough by reason of its consubstantial irony.


-Milan Kundera (The Art of the Novel)  


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