Irony's Antics

Paper Text – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3360-0
Publication Date
October 2015
Trim Size
6 x 9

Irony's Antics

Walser, Kafka, Roth, and the German Comic Tradition
Erica Weitzman

Irony’s Antics marks a major intervention into the underexplored role of the comic in German letters. At the book’s heart is the relationship between the comic and irony. Weitzman argues that in the early twentieth century, irony, a key figure for the German Romantics, reemerged from its relegation to “nonsense” 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, as well as theorists of the comic such as Freud, Schlegel, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Jean Paul, Irony’s Antics traces the development of a specifically comic irony, a play with irony that is itself the condition for all play. It thus constitutes a significant advance in German literary history and shows how the question of the comic has been and continues to be decisive for modern thought.

About the Author

ERICA WEITZMAN is an assistant professor of German at Northwestern University.

"Weitzman's theoretical knowledge is staggering . . . Summing Up: Recommended." —CHOICE

"Weitzman's knowledge of her subject is compelling. She demonstrates thorough familiarity with the theory and history of irony and the comic, as well as with the concepts of wit, play, and jokes. Moreover, as should be evident by now, she is impressively conversant with the German philosophical tradition that informs her eminently theoretical arguments. Irony's Antics is, in short, a high-caliber, innovative addition to the literature on comedy in a cultural tradition that is reputed to be lacking in it." —Monatshefte

"Weitzman has written a thoughtful, thorough, and challenging work of criticism, which should be of great value to scholars of irony and comedy within and beyond the walls of German and Austrian studies, as well as scholars of the three primary authors in question." —The German Quarterly