Men practised irony and ironic situations were appreciated long before either kind was called irony. The ironies of ironic situations are, lexicologically speaking, very recent arrivals: it was not until the later eighteenth and the nineteenth century that they were recognized, accepted, and named. Nor, in discussing ironic situations presented by ironists, do authors need to take it into account that the ironist might be simultaneously employing more than one mode of irony. They propose, as a beginning, to distinguish five simple 'kinds' of ironic situations asking the reader to remember that what they distinguish as different kinds may only be different aspects. Since there is incongruity in all ironic situations, the kind of ironic situation that, for want of any other distinguishing characteristic, appears under this unsatisfactory heading must be regarded as, formally speaking, a sort of minimal irony.