Professor of Philosophy Marianne Janack was an invited speaker at “After Irony: Discourse, Forms of Life and Politics,” an international conference held May 25-28 in Madrid. Her paper was titled “Was David Foster Wallace Wrong about Irony?” and drew from an essay by Wallace in which he argues that irony is corrosive, and though it can serve a subversive function, it has been co-opted and now threatens to undermine the possibility of a literature of sincerity.
In her paper Janack, distinguished the kind of irony that Wallace was worried about from the kind of Socratic irony that Kierkegaard thought essential to the project of self-knowledge. Janack said that though she thinks Wallace was “right to be worried about the dangers of irony, he should also be worried about the dangers of credulity.”
Janack also attended a Kenyon Review Writers Workshop on creative nonfiction June 13-20 at Kenyon College. The intense workshops are designed to push writers beyond what they thought they were capable of as they generate and revise new writing.
This was Janack’s third participation in a Kenyon Review workshop. The previous two workshops led to the publication of her stories “Ducati Vasectomy” and “Behold, I tell you Mystery.”