Examine the use of irony in The Floating Opera giving suitable examples from the novel.
Irony becomes the chief literary mode for the experimental writer whose immediate target is not so much the absurd universe but the absurdity of the literary forms and conveentions. Tracing the growth of literature in a creative use of parody by Cervantes, Fielding and others, Barth believed that an ironic use of the exhausted literary forms alone would rejuvenate the stultified literary forms.
While the original parodies did not parody the literary form as such but parodied the narrative action to give it its own perspectives, experimental novelists choose to parody not so much the narrative action but the way human reality is represented in the fictional mode Irony for the European absurdists was a metaphysical statement, whereas for the experimental novelists, it is a generic endeavour to map up the post war realities and absurdies. Writing about Barth’s The Sot- Weed Factor that imitates Tom Jones. Carles Harris writes:
Barth reflects this view of an ordered universe ironically in The Sot Weed factor. Like Tom Jones, it possesses a highly structured plot. one carefully conceived. The Sot Weed Factor is a “formal farce” the order reflected in its highly structured plot becomes an object of parody rather than affirmation. The novel turns back upon itself, rejecting the very order reflected in its form.