8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Grow your own third hootie-eye....,
This review is from: The Best of Bad Faulkner: choice entries from the faux faulkner contest (Paperback)
This book is a hoot! Or series of same, to be both brief and precise. It's been so long since I read college Faulkner that I can't remember a shred (skein?) of it, but who would be so dyspeptic as to argue that either absurdist humor or bathroom reading are unworthy literary categories -- let alone a genre that combines both?
More to the point: sure, the best single way to learn about style is to read and re-read the great stylists, and so come to grok both the breadth of their differences and the depth of their similarities, and thereby enliven a sense of the space of possibilities for human expression -- both to enhance appreciation of each writer's uniquely in-formed and informing "flavor", and to articulate within oneself a "framing space" for placing (and perchance assessing) the perspectives and technical accomplishments of future writers (yikes -- this style parody stuff is corrupting!).
But reading skillful parody *does* add an undeniable dimension to this enrichment process, by shining a light on the nature of style as such. I recently read selections from some book or other of multi-author parodies (I think it was one of those "an education in a book" titles), and was amazed at how deft they were, at how incapable I would have been to produce such eloquent verbal portraiture -- distorted as in a fun house mirror, but in spite of this (or because of it) so revealing, in terms of elements as subtle as "tone" and "voice".
Interestingly enough, I may have learned more from the parodies of the authors I hadn't read than of those I had. This says something on an intensely fashionable "meta" level about something or other involving mind, language and Being, but, existential self-referentiality being as ineffable as the ineffability of Being itself, I'll have to be excused from articulating it.
ANYway, what the heck -- why not triangulate on these fascinating aspects of literary form? Compare authors with each other, compare them with their respective parodies to sharpen your eye and ear, compare parodies with each other (and do a little theoretical reading on the subject, perhaps) to gain a sense of the stylistic (meta-stylistic?) "vocabulary" or meta-same of literary burlesque -- and by extension (or inversion, or un-perversion, or pre-version -- SOMEbody's version), of the root-level resources of language itself...
P.S. There's a whole subfield of Vedic philosophy dedicated to the analysis of modes of learning from analogies by examining where and how they fail; isn't there an analogy here to the fruits of study of parodies, precisely in terms of their failings as precise metaphors? If so, only the finest products will do for such analyses -- unless they become SO fine as expressions of the authors' sensibilities that it becomes a looking-glass proposition as to which "authorless text" be considered the "original" and which the "'parody'". Even then we might learn something, though it might well be limited to which hemisphere of our brain looks better in a mirror, versus in real life...