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Parodies and Satires

aseidman's picture

Our group idea for a syllabus was that we should consider the genre of parody/satire. One can find parodies of multiple genres in multiple genres. There are parodies of mystery novels, parodies of science fiction, etcetera. There are movies which parody other movies, movies which parody books, and books which parody movies.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of "parody" is as follows:

"A literary composition modelled on and imitating another work, esp. a composition in which the characteristic style and themes of a particular author or genre are satirized by being applied to inappropriate or unlikely subjects, or are otherwise exaggerated for comic effect. In later use extended to similar imitations in other artistic fields, as music, painting, film, etc."

For example: The genre of "noir," whether it be hard boiled "noir" detective fiction, or classic "film noir," is characterized by femmes fatales, exaggeratedly masculine, sometimes violent loner heroes, and murder mysteries. The musical "City of Angels" parodies the genre of "noir" by using all of these features in one musical, in a very exaggerated and pointedly cliche sort of way.

We could explore how one genre can be used to parody another genre. For example, the graphic novel "Watchmen" is, in many ways, both a parody and a serious work. It both expands on the genre of the superhero comic, and emphasizes/exaggerates/draws attention to that genre's particularly obvious and sometimes humorous aspects, such as the unexpectedly guady costumes worn by the heroes.



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