The 1990s were an age of irony, the origin of the hipster zeitgeist. In response, 21st-century writers and critics have issued a call for renewed sincerity and postironic belief. Does this mean that irony has forfeited its connection to the ethical 'good life'? The lecture will address this question by reference to a division between philosophical irony and irony as detachment. The division will be mapped onto a range of contemporary novels in order to explore what role irony still has to play in the ancient struggle to know ourselves.
Tim Personn is a PhD candidate in English and CSPT (Cultural, Social and Political Thought) at the University of Victoria. He has worked as a writer, translator, and musician in Germany and North America. His dissertation on philosophy and affect in David Foster Wallace, Richard Powers, Bret Easton Ellis, and Zadie Smith is funded by a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.