The three major variations of the parodic technique are a snap to grasp:

Children exploit the basic iterations of the parodic technique on the world's playgrounds. The technique couldn't be more accessible, but, on close examination, it is also extremely complex--even when kiddies are creating the parody. Simple mimicry, for instance, is a puzzling, inextricable blend of two voices or two people's mannerisms emerging from a single source.

Parody Reshapes Art

My definition: Parody is not a genre or collection of genres. Instead, parody is a technique, probably hardwired in all of us, that tweaks, re-channels, transforms, or invents artistic conventions by banging, binding, or blending material into paired, unlikely contrasts. The result is art that is wildly dualistic, multistable, and, frequently, reflexive. Because of the upheavals it creates, the parodic technique is the principal source of technical innovation and change in all the arts, the fountainhead of new genres and modes as well as the core of many masterpieces. Parody is the art that plays with art.

This is a multistable image which means that it can be interpreted in radically different ways: multistability in literature, and in all the arts, is the hallmark of parody.


(1) Parody: The Art That Plays With Art;
(2) How to Write Parodies and Become Immortal
Rob Chambers has written two books about parody. The first is a radically new theoretical approach to the subject, and the second is a very light-hearted companion volume that demonstrates how to put that new theory to work.

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