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The age of parody : literature parody and some nineteenth century perspectives

Priestman, Judith (1980) The age of parody : literature parody and some nineteenth century perspectives. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86066) (KAR id:86066)


This study is the result of work carried out on literary parody of poems and novels in the nineteenth century. The output of the period in this respect was so great as to justify it being dubbed the "age of parody" by its contemporaries, and a detailed account of the many aspects of the mode at this time has not been attempted since it would inevitably be protracted beyond the limits of the study. Instead, a pattern of parodic activity has been traced, and those aspects of parody which resolve themselves thematically and chronologically round the Romantic poets and novelists, the popular sub-Romantic genres of the mid-century, and the late Romantics, have formed the main topic of discussion. Parody is interpreted as a valuable source of contemporary opinion relating to the major literary movements of the period: a fundamentally critical act of assessment and acclimatization which is characterized in the nineteenth century by its Augustan and realist sympathies. As a preliminary to assessing the nature of the nineteenth century's parodic achievement some broader theoretical questions relating to how we read parodies generally have also been considered; and the first part of the study represents an attempt to construct a theory of literary parody, beginning with some modern usages and including a history of the term and earlier critical discussion of the subject. It is argued that parody may be seen as an important means of analysing literary discourse and aesthetic experience which draws attention to the language of fictions by using language reflexively, and as such is particularly congenial to post-modernist consciousness and contemporary interest in fictionality and self-consciousness in literature. A short account of parody in the eighteenth century has also been included as a prelude to nineteenth century usages; while nineteenth century parody itself is seen to furnish the modern reader with an unusual critical perspective on the period, as well as encouraging wider speculations about the status of literary texts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86066
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Literature
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:26 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2022 00:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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