That’s precisely what Houston explores in the chapter on irony and sarcasm, beginning with a historical and linguistic backdrop:.
More than a mere linguistic diversion, however, Houston argues the concept bespoke the era’s growing concern with information overload:.
The Renaissance had generated an explosion of information, with knowledge and ideas spreading like wildfire among an increasing literate and scientific populace.
Whether or not Wilkins was aware of Erasmus’s musings is subject to speculation, but Houston commends the Englishman’s effort:.
And yet Wilkins’s was only one of many proposed irony marks — and the first of many famous failures to make one stick:.
Beneath the article, throughout which the glyph appeared several more times, a footnote (1) explained: “This is an irony point.”
Three centuries earlier, Henry Denham dreamt up the “percontation point” — a reversed question mark used at the end of rhetorical questions, of which Brahm’s later character was strikingly reminiscent. »