Irony in the Middle Ages


The book offers an interdisciplinary approach to a phenomenon which has been mostly neglected in learned studies concerned with the Middle Ages. The authors clarify theoretical ideas about irony medieval scholars took especially from antique rhetoric literature and give a vivid impression of possibilities and borders the use of irony had in different fields of communication. Several chapters with case-studies allow an overview about the quality of ironical writing and speech especially in medieval literature and in political contexts. A convincing result is that a society with a strict rank-order and extreme limitations to critical argumentation likes to use irony as a weapon in fictions as well as in situations of wishful thinking.

Literature: Katrin Beyer, Witz und Ironie in der politischen Kultur Englands im Hochmittelalter. Interaktionen und Imaginationen, Würzburg: Ergon-Verlag, 2012. ISBN: 978-3-89913-882-5, 304 Seiten, 42,00 Euro.