In seeking a key term for the pattern of thought underlying the works of Anatole France, Mr. Chevalier (in The Ironic Temper: Anatole France and His Times holds that an insistence upon France's irony as a central fact makes possible "an organic account of the contradictory elements in the man himself." By his interpretation ... France's irony is "explained" as a pattern peculiar to the author as a person, manifesting itself in emergent forms long before he could have accurately gauged the isues of the day; yet the issues of the day were also such as to encourage an ironic stressing.
Burke discusses irony as a trope in Grammar of Motives, but here gets into a particular example of French irony from a Mr. Chevaliar and his work. Burke highlights Chevaliar's definition and how it is unique to France, as well as a particular time, as part of a setting. Yet it is Burke's critique, explaining how Chevalier's emphasis of French irony being separate, being a part of a specific situation, being "peculiar" which lends itself to the contextual basis of irony which makes whatever form irony comes out as, a reflection of a set of circumstances. That irony, at least for France, is almost a kind of demarcation of a symbol or events that aren't "proper" or well-defined before the irony was pointed out. This makes for an interesting look at irony not only as a trope and it's connections to metaphor, but also what this says about the multiple levels of irony as it comes into focus before or around definition (or absolutism?).
Also, upon first glance at this section (Mainsprings of Character), there was some confusion with Burke's reference, the author of The Ironic Temper. The surname Chevalier holds relation in general to France, but also was made popular by a singer in the 1950s. Haakon's middle name even happens to be Maurice, the singer's first name (not uncommon, but still). While Haakon Chevaliar was located in America and is linked to academics, his scholarship was on French literature. Another seemingly random association to the article was Danny Kaye's impression of Maurice Chevaliar in a segment of the 1947 version of the short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, about the Anatole of Paris.