Cover: A Case for Irony, from Harvard University PressCover: A Case for Irony in PAPERBACK

A Case for Irony

Add to Cart

Product Details


$24.00 • £19.95 • €21.50

ISBN 9780674416888

Publication Date: 10/06/2014


224 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

The Tanner Lectures on Human Values


Lear’s book provides intellectual pleasure of a very high order: its distinctions are careful, its prose lucid and elegant, and its examples suggestive and well chosen… You should read this book.—Paul J. Griffiths, Commonweal

Lear performs a valuable service. He shows us just how far the contemporary usage of irony diverges from an older, far more appealing meaning, according to which irony is a portal to self-knowledge.—Andrew Stark, The Wall Street Journal

Before we can claim to live a truly examined life, says Jonathan Lear, we need to pass the test of ironic self-scrutiny at something approaching the level set by Socrates and Kierkegaard. Following the contours of the subtle case for radical irony Lear makes turns out to be an intellectual adventure in its own right.—J. M. Coetzee

Jonathan Lear’s re-reading of the significance of irony for getting the hang of a genuinely human existence is an unheimlich maneuver that brings religion and psychoanalysis into productive conversation with philosophy, and induces characteristically sharp and creative responses from his interlocutors: an exemplary instance of the virtues of the Tanner Lectures format.—Stephen Mulhall, University of Oxford

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene