The edge of irony, says Linda Hutcheon, is always a social and political edge. Irony depends upon interpretation; it happens in the tricky, unpredictable space between expression and understanding. Irony's Edge is a fascinating, compulsively readable study of the myriad forms and the effects of irony. It sets out, for the first time, a sustained, clear analysis of the theory and the political contexts of irony, using a wide range of references from contemporary culture. Examples extend from Madonna to Wagner, from a clever quip in conversation to a contentious exhibition in a museum. And the stakes are high - many radical artists and cultural activists consider irony to be usefully subversive; others see it as one of the more negative aspects of postmodern discourse. Can irony be a strategy, a way of undermining relations of power? Irony's Edge outlines and then challenges all the major existing theories of irony, providing the most comprehensive and critically challenging theory of irony to date. Linda Hutcheon is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto.
She is the author of a number of related books including The Politics of Postmodernism (1989); A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction (1988); A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms (1985); and Narcissistic Narrative: The Metafictional Paradox (1984).