irony is at times, we may suppose, a merciful alternative to madness

Irony is a form of utterance that postulates a double audience

He [Franzen] recites the line with a practised irony. Evidently he acknowledges no such possibility at all

… of parentheticals in literary texts (by which I mean roughly texts in which irony may be appropriate)

Well, here is the thing about irony: it gets nothing done

Irony: deliberate mental stammering

His [Swift’s] irony is like that of Socrates … Its bitterness and cruelty arise from the fact that his intellect does not, like the intellect of Socrates, have the support of insight

Man it has usually been held should think lightly of himself but should have some conviction for which he is ready to die