Digital Commons@RISD Home > Division of Liberal Arts > Contemporary Aesthetics (Journal Archive) > Vol. 5 (2007)
In this paper I take up anew the suggestion recurrent in the work of Kierkegaard and Lukács, among others, that literature is fundamentally ironic. Literary creations, I argue, are ironic because they convey the real world, even though the worldhood of this world is ineffable. In creating a world from words in a novel or poem, the author confronts his or her own skepticism about the possibilities of written expression. Literary creations are only completed when the reader is able to engage with the world of words that is constituted in the work, and to realize that what is said in the writing does not exhaust the literary creation as a whole.