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ColoradoGuy
10-02-2010, 03:40 AM
I've been reading a wonderful new collection, The Oxford Book of Parodies. It made me realize that the best parodists really understand their subject, and many of them parody out of love, not disgust. It's high criticism, when done well.

The collection starts with parodies of medieval and Anglo-Saxon works and romps from there to the present. There are so many wonderful bits that I can only encourage you to go read the book. You can open it anywhere and start reading, since the items are quite short. So it's great for bus rides and bathrooms. Among all the prose items, my favorite (although it's really hard to choose), is the Hemingway parody by E.B. White entitled "Across the street and into the grill."

"I love you," he said, "and we are going to lunch together for the first and only time, and I love you very much." [And when the girl makes a phone call] "She dialed true and well, using her finger."

And the poetic parodies are wonderful. Here's one of Walt Whitman, if he were writing "Jack and Jill went up the hill."

I celebrate the personality of Jack!
I love his dirty hands, his tangled hair, his locomotion blundering.
Each wart upon his hands I sing,
Paeans I chant to his hulking shoulder blades.
Also Jill!

Priene
10-02-2010, 03:20 PM
Funnily enough, I read a good article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/02/craig-brown-lost-diaries-parody) on parodies this very morning.

whacko
10-02-2010, 09:21 PM
Mark Twain did a great parody of Sherlock Holmes - The Case of the White Elephant, or something. It's been a while. Funnily enough, I read it in a collection of Great Detective Stories. I wonder if that was the editor's joke.

rugcat
10-02-2010, 09:34 PM
Those are hysterical.

In modern day, I think Jon Stewart's parodies of Glenn Beck, though probably not inspired by fondness, carry on the grand tradition.

ColoradoGuy
10-02-2010, 10:31 PM
Funnily enough, I read a good article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/02/craig-brown-lost-diaries-parody) on parodies this very morning.

The article in your link begins with a Max Beerbohm parody of Henry James. There are several other Beerbohm contributions in the Oxford collection, all of them funny.

ColoradoGuy
10-02-2010, 10:45 PM
For Medievalist -- a snippet from a piece in the collection called "Beoleopard, or the Witan's Wail":

Whan Cnut Cyng the Witan wold enfeoff
Of infangthief and outfangthief
Wonderlich were they enwraged
And wordwar waged
Sware Cnut great scot and lot
Swinge wold ich this illbegotten lot.

Wroth was Cnut and wrothword spake
Well wold he win at wopantake.
Fain wolde he brake frith and cracke heads
And than they shold worshippe his redes

Swinged Cnut Cyng with swung sword
Howled Witane helle but hearkened his word
Murie sang Cnut Cyng
Outfangthief is Damgudthyng

(You've gotta love the "Damgudthyng" part)

TerzaRima
10-02-2010, 11:20 PM
Each wart upon his hands I sing,
Paeans I chant to his hulking shoulder blades.
Also Jill!

Hee. I need to look for this book.

Torgo
10-11-2010, 04:41 PM
I recommend the Faber Book of Parodies as well. It contains, IIRC, Richard Curtis' Skinhead Hamlet, which for many years was a highlight of our family Christmas:


Ghost: Oi! Mush, get on with it!
Hamlet: Who did it then?
Ghost: That wanker Claudius. He poured fucking poison in my fucking ear!
Hamlet: Fuck me!