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Parody: Humor, Artistic Evolution, and Restoration of the Sacred

RUSS 267
Fall 2017 not offered
Crosslisting: REES 267, RULE 267
Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory, Writing

Parody is a form of artistic expression that has played a major role in literary history, largely through its power of critical revision. According to Russian formalist theorists of the early 20th century, parody is a driving force in literary evolution. Linda Hutcheon's formulation, that parody is "repetition with critical distance, which marks difference rather than similarity," provides perhaps the broadest and most fruitful point of departure. The course will consider various definitions of parody offered by Russian and Western theorists. After examining parody as pure humor (Woody Allen, MAD magazine, Hot Fuzz) and parody as a tool of literary evolution (Gogol and Dostoevsky), we will study the more complicated case of "restorative parody," as exemplified in the medieval practice of parodia sacra (sacred parody), discussed by theorists Mikhail Bakhtin and Olga Freidenberg. We will look at the modern manifestation of parodia sacra in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar, and of restorative parody in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. The course will also include discussion of legal issues raised by parody, in the case of 2 Live Crew / Roy Orbison (which led to a 1994 Supreme Court decision, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, in which Justice David Souter offered his own definition of parody). At the end of the semester, students will present their own research or creative projects related to parody.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA REES
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on DEC-12-2017
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