[...] To illustrate that A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is 'truly a work from "the Age of Irony", Korthals mentions that the work is 'full of postmodern games with typography, expanding footnotes et cetera', and asks, rhetorically: 'How post-ironic can an author with such a media-conscious and self-conscious main character be?' However, the elements that Korthals mentions (further on, she also adds 'polyphony' and 'ambiguity') are not necessarily even expressions of verbal irony (compare the aforementioned pop references in Wallace); they might just as well be regarded--perhaps even more plausibly--as normal aspects of the portrayal of contemporary reality. Above all, the mere presence of these elements in the book, even as potential verbal ironies, does not automatically undercut its critique of existential irony. Also, how could one then ever critique contemporary reality, if just describing that reality would by definition imply ironizing one's critique of it?
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