Schlegel coined the term These days, the concept of "romantic irony" is particularly difficult to grasp for a number of reasons. In the first place, the phrase was coined by Friedrich Schlegel, the German romanticist, who was vague and aphoristic in defining the concept. The Meaning of "romantic" Additionally, what Schlegel meant by "romantic" is a subject of debate. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy : What Schlegel meant by the term “romantic” and its apparent cognate "Roman" (usually translated as “novel,” but having among the Romantics a much wider sense) has long been disputed. [ . . .], Schlegel saw the historical origins of “the romantic” in the wide mixture of forms and genres that characterized medieval literature and took it as the point of departure for a genre-transcending notion that allows even Shakespeare's plays or Dante's Commedia to be Romane . Romantic Irony From a present-day perspective, "
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What is irony? Irony is the interruption or disruption of an established or expected discourse. (This definition might not seem immediately helpful, but bear with me.) Let's begin with a simple example of verbal irony. You and a friend are looking out the window on a cold and rainy day. Your friend says, "Beautiful weather." Your friend is being ironic. In the context, the "expected discourse" is "what terrible weather!" You assume that what your friend "really" means is that the weather is terrible because that is what you would expect him to say. In fact, some people claim that "saying the opposite of what you mean" is a definition of verbal irony. However, it is rare that the intended meaning of an ironic statement is exactly the opposite of what is said. Irony is almost always ambiguous (see Do No Harm: Avoid Irony ). Verbal, situational and dramatic irony There are three different kinds of irony: verbal ir