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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Ironie et dissimulation dans la nouvelle et dans la comédie : réflexions sur les œuvres de Des Périers, Marguerite de Navarre, Molière et Mme de Lafayette Edinger, Monika G. B.


Irony, in its common sense, is a linguistic phenomenon (a rhetorical device or a literary technique such as verbal irony), a philosophical concept (Socratic or Ciceronian irony), the intentional disguise of an utterance in order to convey a meaning different from what has been said to what is implied, or the result of unintentional actions (such as situational irony). Although there are connections between verbal and situational irony, between literary and philosophical principles, the complexity of irony still gives rise to numerous questions. Consequently, this dissertation examines the functions of verbal and situational irony in a corpus of 16th- and 17th-century texts with respect to the affinity between the genres of the nouvelle and the comedy. Our principal objective is to present a comparative and structural analysis which shows the interplay between the poly-functional uses of irony, along with the phenomenon of laughter, and the theme of marital infidelity in the following works: the Nouvelles Récréations et joyeux devis of Bonaventure Des Périers, the Heptaméron of Marguerite de Navarre and the Dames galantes of Brantôme (pertaining to the nouvelles and discussed in the first chapter); the Comédie des quatre femmes of Marguerite de Navarre and Dom Juan by Molière as representatives of comedy (discussed in the second chapter); conversely, Madame de Lafayette’s Princesse de Clèves is a hybrid text analysed in the third chapter. To complement our corpus, we also consider classic concepts of irony as established by Socrates and Cicero, early principles of laughter as defined by Laurent Joubert, as well as critical theory of key figures such as Henri Bergson, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Philippe Hamon. The framework for this study arises from the fact that the affinity between the novella and the comedy with respect to the concept of verbal irony remains relatively unexplored. While the contrastive mechanisms of ironical utterances often turn the communication of truth into theatrical performances, we argue that the intertwining of narrative and drama unfolds the problems of conflicting realities and thus, constitutes the medium that ultimately unites our corpus and theme while offering new aspects of interpretation.

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