The burlesque, mockery, witticisms, etc. are used as weapons against bad paintings, pompous and mediocre artists, and the corrupt society that make them possible. But this brand of critical irony, which sometimes takes the shape of the famous 'French gaiety'?, worldly, libertine, occasionally blasphemous, is far from being the only form of irony in the text. For example, Diderot also uses a subtle self-irony to underline some of his more ambiguous positions on art as well as the deficiencies in his own enterprise as a critic. More profoundly, his continuous meditation on the place of art in human life includes both a passionate belief in the value of art and a lucid questioning of its limits. Diderot's fragmentary writing, which can be analytical, critical, and prosaic on the one hand, and sometimes lyrical and aphoristic on the other hand, anticipates what will soon be called romantic irony, without in any way renouncing what is commonly given as its opposite, philosophical irony.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory