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REEVES & TURNER, 196, STRAND, LONDON, W.C.
ALTHOUGH Parodies abound in English Literature no attempt has yet been made to publish a complete collection of these amusing Jeux d'esprit, many of which have been composed by our greatest humourists.
It is now proposed to publish, in monthly parts, a collection of Parodies, both in verse and in prose, drawn from every available source, and illustrative of all the most celebrated writings in the English Language, together with such notes, explanatory or bibliographical, as may be required to elucidate the text.
Each of the principal authors will be taken separately, and the series will commence with Parodies of the works of Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate, to be fellowed by Shakespeare, Swinburne, Wordsworth, Byron, Scott, Moore, Longfellow, Poe, Goldsmith, Gray, Lord Macaulay, Dickens, Carlyle, Ruskin, and a number of other favorite authors.
The Editor offers no apology for Parody in itself, suffice it to say it exists, that the public appear pleased with it, and that no man with literary tastes can entirely ignore it.
As will be seen from many examples here printed the object of a Parody is very seldom to ridicule its original, more often on the contrary it does it honor, if only by taking it as worthy of imitation or burlesque.
Every endeavour will be made to render the collection complete.
The Editor tenders his best thanks to those gentlemen who have kindly permitted extracts to be taken from their works, and will be grateful for information as to any Parodies which may have escaped his notice.
The series will be published in Monthly Parts, price Sixpence, or the first Six Parts will be sent, post free, to Subscribers for Two Shillings and Sixpence.
All subscriptions and communications to be addressed to)-
64, Bromfelde Road,
Fellow of the Royal Geographical and Royal Historical Societies ;
“ A Memoir of George Cruikshank," etc.
[ HAVE, for many years past, been collecting Parodies of the works of the most celebrated British
and American Authors. This I have done, not because I entirely approve of the custom of turning high-class work into ridicule, but because many of the parodies are in themselves works of considerable literary merit. Moreover, as “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” so does a parody show that its original has acquired a certain celebrity, for no author would waste his time, or his talent, in composing a burlesque of an unknown or obscure work.
Numerous articles on parodies are to be found scattered up and down in odd corners of old magazines and reviews, a few small books have been written on the topic; but, until now, no attempt has been made to give, in a connected form, a history of parody with examples and explanatory notes.
This, then, is what I propose to do in the following articles, and those who desire to possess a complete set of parodies on any favourite author, would do well to preserve these papers for future reference.
Parody is a form of composition of a somewhat ungracious description, as it owes its very existence to the work it caricatures; but it has some beneficial results in drawing our attention to the defects of some authors, whose stilted language and grandiloquent phrases have veiled their poverty of ideas, their sham sentiment, and their mawkish affectations.
The first attribute of a parody is that it should present a sharp contrast to the original either in subject, or treatment of the subject; that if the original subject should be some lofty theme, the parody may reduce it to a prosaic matter-of-fact narrative. If, on the other hand, the topic selected be one of every day life, it may be made exceedingly amusing if described in high-flown mock heroic diction. If the original errs in sentimental affectation, so much the better for the parodist. Thus many of Tom Moore's best known songs are mere windy platitudes in very musical verse, which