What’s ironic in literature?
By MICHAEL KARELL, AP Writer The Washington TimesA young woman is a hero.
An elderly man is a fool.
A man is an idiot.
A woman is an angel.
And a man is just a baby.
That’s how the titles of nearly two dozen books describe the characters in the stories that have made the best-selling titles of the literary canon: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Wrinkle in Time, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The story’s theme is innocence.
But that theme has also been the source of some controversy among readers and critics.
In particular, critics say the titles are too “ironic” and “obnoxious” for the 21st century.
In the book’s acknowledgements, the author of Uncle Tom, Arthur Miller, says, “Some of my favorite books are those that make us laugh.
Others, I find very disturbing.”
Miller, a longtime critic of the “ironical” tone of many of the bestsellers, said the books were meant to be fun and uplifting, but that some have been “obnoxiously ironic.”
“I would love to say that I am not a big reader of books, but I am definitely a fan of them,” he said.
“In the best cases, a book that has been written with a satirical edge, it has always been funny,” he added.
Miller said he believed some authors had created books with a humorous tone that they wanted to make the point that the characters were not always as serious as they appeared.
“I think they’ve had the freedom to write as funny as they wanted,” Miller said.
“I don’t know if there’s any way that that’s not true.
There are many instances where it is.”
Miller said the characters have all been “humorous” and that “some of them are not very funny.”
“A man named Franklin is the worst of them all,” Miller wrote in a letter to The Washington Book Review.
“He’s a moron, a complete and utter fool, and a sadistic murderer.
And I don’t care if he’s been in a coma for two years.”
In the acknowledgements for Uncle Tom and A Wrinkly Green Country, the book that first drew Miller’s ire, the writer of the book title says, “[Huckleberry] is not funny, and he is not a good man.
He is just an old, fat, balding, dumb, drunk, dumbass, and I mean that in the nicest way.””
But he’s still funny,” the author writes.”
It was really just my pleasure and my pleasure is that it’s not funny anymore,” Miller says in the acknowledgments.
Miller was a critic of Miller’s for years, calling him “a big fat liar” who “got a bad rap in the literary world.”
“It’s true that some of the humor in Uncle Tom was not so funny,” Miller told The Washington Review last year.
“And that’s why it’s a lot harder to get people to read those books now.”
In response to Miller’s criticisms, Miller said, “It’s all very funny and it’s all a very good book, and it should have been called Uncle Tom.
But I don, I don.
I think that it would have been funnier if I had not done it.”
Miller also wrote in response to an article in The Washington Star that he has found “a lot of humor in the books that are written by those who are not humorless.”
“The best humor in books is not in the characters,” Miller added.
“The great thing about humor is that you can always find something funny in them,” Miller continued.
“When you read about the world of the rich, the rich are always laughing and always laughing at you.
That was the humor of my book.
If you look at that world, you can’t really laugh at the rich because they are always joking about you and laughing at your misery and your stupidity and your misery.
And that’s all good.”
The books’ title is a reference to the book of the same name, written in 1820 by the Irish writer Arthur Conan Doyle.
Doyle is considered the father of the detective fiction genre.
His novel, The Adventure of the Black Dog, was published in 1876.