IGEL 2016 conference: Stephen Briner on parody

An interesting paper at the recent IGEL 2016 conference was by Stephen Briner about detecting and reasoning about parody texts.  The question is how easy it is to discern parody in the absence of a referent text or absence of knowledge of the genre.  To me this seemed much harder to get at, because parodies are often idiosyncratic. So first need to ask whether there is a general theory of parody. Does parody always involve taking a text and changing the subject matter to be more trivial? I can think of no parodies of fiction in West Africa.  Maybe Yambo Ouologuem parodying European literature and colonial writing.  And maybe also he is parodying Senghor and Achebe?   Who will be Mabanckou’s first parodist!  That would be fun to write.  Interestingly, I could find nothing scholarly on parody in African literature more generally.  But maybe not so odd, it seems not to be a big area of research generally.  Here though is a very recent dissertation from Przemysław Uściński on The Creative Role of Parody in Eighteenth-Century English Literature (Alexander Pope, John Gay, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne).  I just skimmed it, very nicely done.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
This entry was posted in African literature. Bookmark the permalink.