15 March 2012

Some Parody Collections (a list)

Max Beerbohm, A Christmas Garland (1912). Parodies, mainly in prose, of writers like H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Joseph Conrad, and Henry James. Beerbohm is probably the greatest prose parodist writing in English.

Horace and James Smith, Rejected Addresses (1812). Parodies, mainly in poetry, of William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the like. The brothers Smith are very good; some modern parodists have equaled them, none have surpassed them.

Wolcott Gibbs, More in Sorrow (1958). Includes a section of parodies, mostly published earlier in the New Yorker, including those of Ernest Hemingway (“Death in the Rumble-Seat”) and Aldous Huxley (“Topless in Ilium”).

The Hee Bee Gee Bees, 439 Golden Greats (1981). A collection of song parodies, many originally featured on the BBC radio show Radio Active, skewering the Bee Gees, the Eagles, David Bowie, the Police, and others.

Frederick Crews, The Pooh Perplex (1964). A collection of critical reviews of Winnie the Pooh, each a send-up of a particular style of criticism (Marxist, Freudian, Christian (with Eeyore as Christ!), and so on.

Liam Lynch, Fake Songs (2003). It includes superb parodies of Bjork, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, and others.

The Rutles, The Rutles (1978). This is something of an oddity, in that it contains parodies of only one group, the Beatles, more or less tracing their career from covers of the likes of Chuck Berry (“Blue Suede Schubert”) to the psychedelic phase (“Doubleback Alley”) to the end of their career (“Get Up and Go”). Utopia’s album Deface the Music does essentially the same thing.

Bret Harte, Condensed Novels: Second Series (1902). A collection of broad parodies of Anthony Hope (“Rupert the Resembler”), Arthur Conan Doyle (“The Stolen Cigar Case”), Rudyard Kipling (“Stories Three”), and others. Far superior (and generally funnier) than his first collection in the same vein, though the Cooper take-off had some good moments.

Frederick Winsor, The Space Child’s Mother Goose (1958). A collection of Mother Goose rhymes updated for the space age. Thus we have “This is the theory that Jack built,” for example, and “Little Jack Horner / Sits in his corner / Extracting cube roots to infinity, / An assignment for boys / That will minimize noise / And produce a more peaceful vicinity.” Technically burlesques rather than parodies, but still, entertaining as hell.

Randall Garrett, Takeoff! (1980). Includes a section of science fiction parodies, targeting the likes of Isaac Asimov, E. E. Smith, and H. P. Lovecraft.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good rundown. I'm happy to be reminded of Space Child's Mother Goose-- that was a joy. "Hoggamus higgamus by black hen / she lays eggs in the relative when. / She doesn't lay eggs in the positive now / because she's unable to postulate how." etc. Many delights. It may have spawned shows like "The Big Bang Theory," of course ... rfh

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