Thursday, September 25, 2008

Figures of Irony

The finer-grained figures of irony can be repeated here from lecture today:
  • Antiphrasis: Irony of one word, often derisively through patent contradiction.
    (Referring to a hard slapshot: "No power on that shot, eh?" )
  • Paralipsis: Stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over.
    ("It would be unseemly for me to dwell on Dr. Ogden’s drinking problem, and too many have already sensationalized his gambling habits...")
  • Epitrope: Turns things over the hearer, either ironically, or in such a way as to suggest a proof of something without having to state it.
    (“Go ahead: make my day.” “OK: you win the argument but fail the course.”)
  • Sarcasmus: Use of mockery or taunts.
  • Mycterismus: mockery with an accompanying gesture, such as a scornful look.

There is a delightful use of mycterismus in last weekend's Saturday Night Live opening: indeed, they have a character just to personify that device. (Click the hotlink for the video clip.)