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The Oxford Book of Parodies [Hardcover]

John Gross
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 13.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

13 May 2010
includes parodies from Chaucer to the present day, ranging from imitations and spoofs to lampoons and pastiches, comical, scornful, witty, and subtle. It also takes in advertisements, legal rituals, political warfare and a scientific hoax.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (13 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019954882X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199548828
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 16.7 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


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, are represented in this stunning new anthology, which provides an unparalleled introduction to the parodist's art. The classics of the genre are all here, from Lewis Carroll to Max Beerbohm; but so are scores of lesser known but scarcely less gifted figures, and brilliant contemporaries such as Craig Brown and Wendy Cope.

At every stage there are surprises. Chaucer celebrates Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, 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 in the narrow sense to take in such things as advertisements, legal rituals, political warfare, and a scientific hoax.

Endlessly enjoyable (Craig Brown, The Guardian)

Sumptuous collection. (The Oldie)

There are endless amusing trifles. (The Week)

Mr Gross's legendary gifts as an editor and critic are much in evidence. (Eric Ormsby, Wall Street Journal)

Substantial and richly entertaining anthology...Gross provides a brief but admirably informative history of the form. (The Sunday Telegraph)

John Gross is an excellent and unintrusive host...he has produced here a fine, diverting book (Seamus Perry, TLS)

Sparkling new compendium. (DJ Taylor, Financial Times)

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, Sunday Times)

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 best pastiches, burlesques and spoofs have a magical wit that transcends mere mimicry, as this wide-ranging anthology shows. (Kevin Jackson, The Sunday Times)

Gross has very sensibly put together an anthology that aims to give pleasure on at least two levels. (Kevin Jackson, The Sunday Times)

It is impossible to read it without smiling, smirking or laughing out loud. (Mark Sanderson, Evening Standard)

Superb anthology of parodies...This is an anthology with something for everyone. (Simon Griffith, Mail on Sunday)

John Gross has compiled a historical anthology that is something to treasure. (John Sutherland, Literary Review)

This collection of parodies does not disappoint...It's a deliciously funny book. (Bevis Hillier, Spectator)

Excellent introduction to this superb smorgasbord of mimicry and literary mutilation. (Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald)

About the Author

His new and welcome anthology is well stocked with witty and diverting specimens. (J. M. W. Thompson, Standpoint)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent selection 5 Jun 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The editor in his introduction suggests a spectrum comprising pastiche, parody and burlesque. There are examples of all three styles in this book. It contains a good selection of the best modern parodists - Beerbohm, Craig Brown, Wendy Cope, Malcolm Bradbury, Mark Crick and Alan Bennett. Inevitably, the reader will find some personal favourites missing. My choices would be Sebastian Faulks' Coleridge parody "In Shepherd's Bush did Mister Khan/ A new conservatory decree..." and Roge Woddis' rewrite of Mrs Hemans - "The garden gnomes of England/ How beautiful they stand..." However,I'm glad to see included the naughty version of Cole Porter's "You're the Top" and an extract from Osbert Lancaster's "Draynefleet Revealed".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wide ranging 29 Jun 2010
John Gross's selection of the art of the parodist makes for a most enjoyable book. Gross provides enough background information to assist the average reader appreciate the less familiar items. A good parody is more than a joke. It can iluminate the workings of the writer's style; this may either increase or decrease our respect for the original. John Crace's wicked disembowellings of contemporary novelists are a case in point; he is particularly savage on Martin Amis. The original writers who are parodied range from Chaucer to J K Rowling; this book can save you the trouble of reading them and give you plenty of fun on the way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wicked Bliss 26 Jun 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is sheer delight, real chortle aloud stuff. Some of them were familiar, but the majority weren't, and many were a glorious revelation. And the annotations are excellent. Ideal for dipping into at bedtime.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many hours of delight. 10 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is great bedtime reading. A wonderful collection into which to dip, relish and re-read. John Gross takes a wide view of parody and that is all to the good. Inevitably the examples he uses are variable in quality, some strained, even laboured, but many wonderfully sharp. Some writers lend themselves to parody and even on occasion seem to parody themselves. Wordsworth, unquestionably in my view one of our greatest poets, can slip from the sublime to near self-ridicule. Not that parody is necessarily about ridicule at all. Imitation is.....etc.
My only criticism of this volume, or perhaps "regret" is a more appropriate word, is that my favourite by far remains Wendy Cope, whose lucid intelligence and sparkling wit shines out beyond all her rivals. The brilliant "Waste Land" limericks and the Strugnell poems are superb, very well-thumbed and never far from hand. A final caveat: there seem to me some strange omissions such as Henry Reed's "Chard Whitlow" and I'm surprised that more use is not made of the London Underground parodies, some of which are hilarious.
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