First published in 1969, The Compass of Irony is a detailed study of the nature, qualities, classifications, and significance of irony.

Divided into two parts, the book offers first a general account of the formal qualities of irony and a classification of the more familiar kinds. It then explores newer forms of irony, its functions, topics, and cultural significance. A wide variety of examples are drawn from a range of different authors, such as Musil, Diderot, Schlegel, and Thomas Mann. The final chapter considers the detachment and seeming superiority of the ironist and discusses what this means for the morality of irony.

The Compass of Irony will appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of irony as both a literary and a cultural phenomenon.

Part One; 1: Ironology; 2: The Elements of Irony; 3: Basic Classifications; 4: The Four Modes; 5: Ironic Situations; Part Two; 6: General Irony; 7: Romantic Irony; 8: Irony and the Ironist; References; Bibliography; Index