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parody,

mocking imitation in verse or prose of a literary work. The following poem by Robert Southey was parodied by Lewis Carroll:
"You are old, Father William," the young man cried;
  "The few locks which are left you are gray;
You are hale, Father William—a hearty old man;
  Now tell me the reason, I pray."
"In the days of my youth," Father William replied;
  "I remembered that youth would fly fast,
And abused not my health and my vigor at first,
  That I never might need them at last."
Southey, "The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them"
"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
  "And your hair has turned very white,
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
  Do you think at your age it is right?"
"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
  "I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
  Why I do it again and again."
Carroll, "Father William"
Parodies have existed since literature began. Aristophanes brilliantly parodied the plays of Euripides; Cervantes's Don Quixote (1605–15) parodies chivalric romances; Henry Fielding's novel Joseph Andrews (1742) parodies Samuel Richardson's moral novel Pamela (1740); and Max Beerbohm's A Christmas Garland (1912) wickedly parodies such authors as Kipling, Conrad, and Henry James. Noted 20th-century parodists include Ogden Nash, S. J. Perelman, Robert Benchley, James Thurber, E. B. White, and Woody Allen.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Parody

 

in literature and, more rarely, in music and the representational arts, a comical imitation of an artistic work or group of works. Usually, parody depends on a deliberate disparity between the stylistic and thematic levels of an artistic form.

There are two classic types of parody (sometimes referred to as special genres): the burlesque, in which a vulgar subject is presented in a lofty style (A. Tassoni’s The Rape of the Bucket and V. I. Maikov’s Elisei…), and the travesty, in which a lofty subject is presented in a vulgar style (L. Pulci’s Morgante maggiore and N. P. Osipov’s Vergil’s Aeneid Turned Inside Out). Ridicule may be focused on both the style and the theme—on techniques of poetry that are hackneyed and remote from real life, as well as on aspects of reality that are vulgar or unworthy of poetry. It is sometimes very difficult to distinguish parodies of style from parodies of theme. For example, Russian humorous poetry of the 1850’s and 1860’s exposes and condemns the system of that period, using stylistic devices borrowed from A. S. Pushkin and M. Iu. Lermontov. The poetics of a specific work is open to parody, as are genres, entire literary schools, and world views. (Examples of each of these types of parody are found in the works of Koz’ma Prutkov.) Depending on the character of the comic element, parody can be humorous or satiric, or it may belong to one of many gradations between these categories. Usually, parodies are short; however, longer works may contain many parodic elements (for example, Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel, Voltaire’s The Maid of Orleans, M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin’s The Story of a Town, and Joyce’s Ulysses).

The first examples of parody date from antiquity (the Battle of Frogs and Mice, sixth century B.C.). During the Middle Ages, parodies of biblical and liturgical texts were common. Later, the transition from one literary period or school to another (Renaissance, baroque, classicist, romantic, realist, modernist) was usually accompanied by a flurry of parody on both sides.

In Russian literature of various periods, the most characteristic examples of parody were created by A. P. Sumarokov, A. A. Shakhovskoi, N. A. Polevoi, I. I. Panaev, V. S. Kurochkin, D. D. Minaev, V. S. Solov’ev, and A. A. Izmailov. The most famous parodies in Soviet literature were written by A. G. Arkhangel’skii, A. M. Argo, and A. B. Ruskin. Similar to parody, but lacking a direct, comical tone, are works marked by a disparity between style and theme. For example, Pushkin’s “southern poems” are thematically similar to Eugene Onegin. However, such phenomena have not been sufficiently studied and are rarely referred to as parodies.

In the theater, the circus, and estrada (the variety stage), parody depends on the audience’s familiarity with the parodied subject. There have been special theaters of parody, such as the Krivoe Zerkalo (Distorting Mirror). Among the many operatic parodies is J. Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. Nineteenth-century operettas, especially works by F. Hervé and J. Offenbach, are outstanding for their brilliant parodic and satiric tone. In the Soviet estrada, A. I. Raikin, S. V. Obraztsov, G. M. Dudnik, and E. A. Arnol’dova have presented parodies. Among the outstanding performers of parody in the Russian and Soviet circus are V. E. Lazarenko, S. S. Al’perov and Bernardo, B. P. Viatkin, D. S. Al’perov and M. P. Kaliadin, Eizhen and Lepom, and Karandash. A number of parodic motion pictures have been made (for example, Lemonade Joe, 1964, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic).

TEXTS

Russkaia literaturnaia parodiia. Edited by B. Begak, N. Kravtsov, and A. Morozov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1930. (Contains a bibliography.)
Mnimaia poeziia. Edited and with an introduction by Iu. N. Tynianov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
Russkaia stikhotvornaia parodiia. Introduction and notes by A. A. Morozov. Leningrad, 1960.

REFERENCES

Tynianov, Iu. N. Gogol i Dostoevskii (K teorii parodii). Petrograd, 1921.
Tomashevskii, B. V. Teoriia literatury: Poetika, 6th ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
Berkov, P. N. “Iz istorii russkoi parodii 18–20vv.” In the collection Voprosy sovetskoi literatury, vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.
Morozov, A. A. “Parodiia kak literaturnyi zhanr.” Russkaia literatura, 1960, no. 1.
Rassadin, St. “Zakony zhanra.” Voprosy literatury, 1967, no. 10.
Freidenberg, O. M. “Proiskhozhdenie parodii.” In the collection Trudy po znakovym sistemam, vol. 6, fasc. 308. Tartu, 1973.

M. L. GASPAROV (literature)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

parody

a musical, literary, or other composition that mimics the style of another composer, author, etc., in a humorous or satirical way
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
reference, a proxy, which will allow the parodist to convey his message
(55) Many Jewish comedians in the United States such as Lenny Bruce and Woody Allen have been excellent parodists. I have already discussed Mickey Katz as a parodist.
While these rather commercial parodies usually limit themselves to one text and exploit its plot and characters mainly for profit--BotR even explicitly states that "[this] book is predominantly concerned with making money" in its introduction (5)--Pratchett's texts quickly evolved from their initial parodist outset.
Fallon's ace in the hole is that he's an inspired sketch artist--why do you think SNL was so happy to have him?--and an unusually gifted musical parodist. That part of the job clearly energizes him in ways its increasingly vestigial main event doesn't, and he does better with (and by) his guests when he can induce them to join the fun.
Beyond this, however, what comes over more powerfully is Mahon's ability as a parodist of other poets, particularly his contemporaries.
His music video Gangnam style, a parodist depiction of the affluent gangnam suburb in seoul, features wild horse-riding dancing.
Manley, "Waugh the Parodist," EWNS 41.3 (Winter 2011).
Comparing the two poets' depictions of satan, Samuel suggests, "Milton's Satan is an even more obvious parodist of God" (124-25).
"Instead of using his celebrated gifts as a parodist in these pages, Mr.
While a commercial parodist such as the makers of South Park may be willing to engage in those costs, parodists and copyright users of more modest or nonprofit means may forgo or withdraw their use, particularly when learning that they are threatened with an infringement claim.
As David Cowart has suggested, DeLillo is certainly "an adept parodist of the specialized discourses that proliferate in contemporary society--in sport, business, politics, academe, medicine, entertainment, and journalism." But Cowart adds that DeLillo's "interest in these discourses goes beyond simple parody, and it is the task of criticism to gauge the extra dimensions of DeLillo's thinking about language" (2).