According to Goethe, “irony” is “ein gewagtes Wort” (“a risky word”, Die Farbenlehre, [Theory of Colors], Preface 1808), especially combined with the vague designation “romantic”. Although romantische Ironie (romantic irony) is considered a key concept of romantic literature and gained wide currency among critics and philosophers of the last two centuries, surprisingly the term itself does not occur in the publications of the German romantics – only in Friedrich Schlegel’s private notes (Literary Notebooks, ed. Hans Eichner, 1957). It was Hermann Hettner who disseminated “romantic irony” as a theoretical term (Die …
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Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Romantic Irony". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 August 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=576, accessed 19 August 2017.]