Irony's Antics: Walser, Kafka, Roth, and the German Comic Tradition

Irony's Antics: Walser, Kafka, Roth, and the German Comic Tradition

2014 | 272 Pages | ISBN: 0810129833 | PDF | 2 MB

Irony's Antics marks a major intervention into the underexplored role of the comic and its relationship to irony in German letters. Combining theoretical breadth with close textual analysis, Erica Weitzman shows how irony, a key term for the German romantics, reemerged in the early twentieth century from a postromantic relegation to the nonsensical and the nihilistic in a way that both rethought romantic irony and dramatically extended its reach. Through readings of works by Robert Walser, Franz Kafka, and Joseph Roth against the rich history of comic theory (particularly Hegel and Freud), Weitzman traces the development of a specifically comic irony in modern German-language literature and philosophy, a play with the irony that is itself the condition for all play. She thus provides a crucial reevaluation of German literary history and offers new insights into the significance of irony and the comic from the Enlightenment to the present.

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