The Oxford Book of Parodies

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-09-10
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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"Writing a parody is hard. In the 1940s, a competition in the New Statesman invited readers to parody Graham Greene. Greene himself entered under a pseudonym and only came second. Get it right, though, and you have a withering form of criticism and an immortal entertainment rolled into one. John Gross's new anthology of parodies in English (with a few foreign titbits) has samples both high and low of this diverse genre." -- The Economist "The critic FR Leavis disliked parody on the grounds that it the writer being held up to ridicule. A moment or two in the company of John Gross's sparkling new compendium demonstrates how wrong Leavis was. Gross's book passes the first great anthologist's test -putting in everything the reader expects to find, and a whole lot more besides-with flying colours." --DJ Taylor, The Financial Times Parodies come in all shapes and sizes. There are broad parodies and subtle parodies, ingenious imitations and knockabout spoofs, scornful lampoons and affectionate pastiches. All these varieties, and many others, appear in this delightful new anthology compiled by master anthologist John Gross. The classics of the genre are all here, but so are scores of lesser known but scarcely less brilliant works. At every stage there are surprises. Proust visits Chelsea, Yeats re-writes "Old King Cole," Harry Potter encounters Mick Jagger, a modernized Sermon on the Mount rubs shoulders with an obituary of Sherlock Holmes. The collection provides a hilarious running commentary on literary history, but it also looks beyond literature to include such things as ad parodies, political parodies, and even a scientific hoax. The collection includes work by such accomplished parodists as Max Beerbohm, Robert Benchley, Bret Harte, H. L. Mencken, George Orwell, James Thurber, Peter Ustinov, and Evelyn Waugh. And the "victims" include Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Poe, Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, Conan Doyle, A. A. Milne, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Allen Ginsberg, Martin Amis, and many others. The first and longer of the book's two parts is devoted to English-language authors, arranged in chronological order, along with parodies that they have inspired. The second part includes sections on more general literary topics, on aspects of individual authors which transcend the format of the first part, and on a handful of foreign writers. Parody can be the most entertaining form of criticism, and one of the most delicate, erudite, and allusive. The Oxford Book of Parodies captures a genre that is comical, scornful, witty, and subtle--and always a joy to read. "John Gross has compiled a historical anthology that is something to treasure." -- John Sutherland, Literary Review "Superb. This is an anthology with something for everyone." -- Simon Griffith, Mail on Sunday "This collection of parodies does not disappoint. A deliciously funny book." -- Bevis Hillier, The Spectator "It is a mark of the range and depth of this collection of spoofs, skits and lampoons that the editor John Gross gives, that...it is impossible to read it without smiling, smirking or laughing out loud." -- Mark Sanderson, London Evening Standard "Excellent introduction to this superb smorgasbord of mimicry and literary mutilation." -- Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald "The best pastiches, burlesques and spoofs have a magical wit that transcends mere mimicry, as this wide-ranging anthology shows. Gross has very sensibly put together an anthology that aims to gives pleasure on at least two levels. At best, his entries have enough comic vigour or elegance to be amusing even when one does not know the author being spoofed, and hilarious when one does." -- Kevin Jackson, The Sunday Times "The art of parody has long occupied a pleasingly subversive place in

Author Biography

John Gross was editor of the TLS from 1973-80 and a staff writer for the New York Times from 1983-9; he was theatre critic for the Sunday Telegraph from 1989-2005. He is the author of books including The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters (1969; revised 1991), Shylock: A Legend and its Legacy (1992, winner of the Heinemann Prize of The Royal Society of Literature), and a memoir, A Double Thread (2001). He has edited Oxford anthologies of Aphorisms, Essays, Comic Verse, English Prose, and After Shakespeare. His most recent is The New Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes (2006, pbk 2008).

Table of Contents

Parodies of individual authors by parodists including: Max Beerbohm
Parodied authors include: Chaucer
From the Wider World [foreign authors]
Nursery Rhymes
Tories and Radicals
The Young Jane Austen
Alice [Lewis Carroll]
James Joyce as Parodist
Stage and Screen
Artistic Endeavours
The Written Word
Affairs of State
The Sokal Hoax
Two Tributes
A Mixed Assembly
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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