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Grant number like: FT-53569-05

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Kevin J. H. Dettmar
Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, IL 62901-4302)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2005 – 7/31/2005

Irony in the Public Sphere: History and Theory

This project traces the very complex and public nature of irony beginning with Browning and Victorian advertising, considering the impasse reached in the texts of high modernism, and explores both the successful and failed ironic projects, in advertising, fiction, film, television, and music, of the contemporary public sphere. Though a great deal of work has been done on irony over the years, the criticism is strangely silent about the consequences of an ironic project whose ironic design is not discerned by its intended audience. With the nervous return of irony after 9–11 as an end-point, I seek to complement our current understanding of the workings of irony by accounting more fully for the role played by an active, intelligent audience.