By Simon Dentith

Parody is a part of all our lives. It happens not just in literature, but in addition in daily speech, in theatre and tv, structure and flicks. Drawing on examples from Aristophanes to The Simpsons, Simon Dentith explores:
* where of parody within the background of literature
* parody as a subversive or conservative mode of writing
* parody's pivotal function in debates approximately postmodernism
* parody within the tradition wars from precedent days to the present
This energetic advent situates parody on the middle of literary and cultural reviews and provides a remarkably transparent advisor to this occasionally advanced subject. Parody will function an important source, to be learn and re-read by way of scholars of all degrees.

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Extra info for Parody (The New Critical Idiom)

Example text

Thus it is certainly true, even taking familiar literary examples, that parody does not have to have a polemical relation to the texts that are ‘quoted’. For example, in section III of The Waste Land, Eliot makes a parodic allusion to Spenser’s ‘Prothalamion’: The river’s tent is broken; the last fingers of leaf Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed. Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song. The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers, Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends Or other testimony of summer nights.

However, the cultural situation of a Greek writer five hundred years after Aristophanes or Plato was very different from his Athenian forebears. Lucian was writing in a period known as the Second Sophistic, a period of conscious revival of Greek culture, where the practice of mimesis or imitation of great literary predecessors formed a staple of education. Parody here becomes almost a manner of learning; certainly this was a period which was very conscious of its belatedness in relation to a past golden age.

As for that tradition of literary parody, for the most part it surely justifies that suspicion of parody as an essentially parasitic mode—a bearer of ‘pleasant liberties’, in Quiller-Couch’s phrase—whose polemical direction remains to be specified but which does not fundamentally enter into the creative energies of any of the major writers of the period. So, with the possible exception of Thackeray, the nineteenth century, while being the Golden Age of a certain kind of parody, is not a period in which the mode contributes to any of its major cultural achievements.

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