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ID number:357901
Published: 04.01.2006.
Language: English
Level: College/University
Literature: 33 units
References: Used
Table of contents
Nr. Chapter  Page.
  Introduction    3
Chapter 1  Postmodernism    7
  Postmodern irony    8
Chapter 2  J. Irving’s humor    17
Chapter 3  Critical aspect of irony    20
  Conclusion    54
  Theses    55
  Bibliography    57

In the second half of the 20th century a new movement called Postmodernism came to replace Modernism in American and English literature. Time passes, centuries replace one another, and it is usual and very evident that every movement in literature has its peculiar features and terms in accordance with changing times. The more civilization is developing, the more new and modern tendencies and terms occur in literature. The main features of the new movement Postmodernism are “metafiction”, “self-reflexivity”, “deconstruction”, “pastiche”, “parody”, “bricolage”, “playfulness”, and “irony”, (6; 873) which are of a great interest for many researchers. Almost in every postmodern novel we can find the manifestation of one or another feature of the new movement. But among postmodern writers there are only few in the novels of which we come across mainly irony. After World War II there was formed a group of American writers who later were called the Black Humorists. One who is not concerned with modern American literature of the last decades of the 20th century, of course, does not know why they were called that way. The matter of fact is that they had their own world outlook and they depicted the dangerous uncertainty of human life and the erosion of conventional values in modern society in the light of irony. John (Winslow) Irving, one of the followers of Black Humorists, is a popular postmodern novelist whose unusual blend of dark humor with traditional values has established him as a significant ironist. Born and reared in Exeter, New Hampshire, Irving early developed interests in wrestling and writing. After short stints at two American colleges, he went to Vienna to study in 1963; the strange old city captivated him so that it became an important setting in most of his novels. He returned to US in 1963 and later took degrees from the University of New Hampshire and the University of Iowa, where he studied under Vincent Bourjally and K. Vonnegut Jr. whom he imitated in his first novel “Setting Free the Bears”. His first three novels "Setting Free the Bears" (1969), a tale of two young men’s adventures motorcycling through Austria; "The Water-Method Man" (1972), about an Iowa graduate student’s fantastic misadventures; and "The 158 - Pound Marriage"(1974), presenting two couples who engage in mate – swapping, which was generally considered his darkest novel, reveal the influence of black humorists as well as Irving's search for his own artistic voice. His next enormously popular novel "The World According to Garp" (1978) is a fanciful story of a wonderfully talented novelist whose life and works are rich and various, but who is murdered at 33 by a disgruntled reader. Then there were written “The Hotel New Hampshire” (1981) and “The Cider House Rules” (1985), which neither achieved the success of Garp, though the latter provoked some controversy in its focus on abortion. “A Prayer for Owen Meany” (1989), about a gnome like figure, Meany, who has the gift of prophecy and a deep belief that he is God’s instrument. Almost totally obsessed with the nature of faith, the narrator, a friend of Meany’s, tells us his tale against the background of America’s war in Vietnam. This novel was followed by “A Son of the Circus” (1994), “Trying to Save Piggy Sneed” (1996) and “A Widow for One Year” …

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