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John Tenniel's 1864 illustration for "The Lay of St. Odille" in The Ingoldsby Legends has been called "a very mild and good-natured parody" of his own painting of St. Cecilia (below). In both, the saint rises above the other figures and produces "a spiritual glow". The arc of cherubs replaces the round arch with cherubs in St. Cecilia, and the dirt bank replaces a marble pedestal. Also, the fat man at right is taken from a trumpeter in another illustration by Tenniel, for John Milton's "L'Allegro".[1]
Tenniel's fresco on John Dryden's "Song for Saint Cecilia's Day", c. 1849

A self-parody is a parody of oneself or one's own work. As an artist accomplishes it by imitating his or her own characteristics; a self-parody is potentially difficult to distinguish from especially characteristic productions.

Sometimes critics use the word figuratively to indicate that the artist's style and preoccupations appear as strongly (and perhaps as ineptly) in some work as they would in a parody. Such works may result from habit, self-indulgence, or an effort to please an audience by providing something familiar. Ernest Hemingway has frequently been a target for such comments. An example from Paul Johnson:

Some [of Hemingway's later writing] was published nonetheless, and was seen to be inferior, even a parody of his earlier work. There were one or two exceptions, notably The Old Man and the Sea, though there was an element of self-parody in that too.[2]

Political polemicists use the term similarly, as in this headline of a 2004 blog posting. "We Would Satirize Their Debate And Post-Debate Coverage, But They Are So Absurd At This Point They Are Their Own Self-Parody".[3]

Examples of self-parody[edit]

The following are deliberate self-parodies or are at least sometimes considered to be so:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simpson, Roger (1994). Sir John Tenniel: Aspects of His Work. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. pp. 69–70. ISBN 0-8386-3493-1. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  2. ^ Paul, Johnson (1988). Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky. Harper & Row. p. 233. ISBN 0-06-016050-0. 
  3. ^ Ashton, John S. (2003). "Fox News-Hosted Debate So Ridiculous It Was Self-Parody". The Moderate Independent. Retrieved 2012-02-02. 
  4. ^ Yuriko Yamanaka, Tetsuo Nishio (2006). The Arabian Nights and Orientalism: Perspectives from East & West. I.B. Tauris. p. 81. ISBN 1-85043-768-8. 
  5. ^ Bradbury, Nancy Mason (1998). Writing Aloud: Storytelling in Late Medieval England. University of Illinois Press. p. 189. ISBN 0-252-02403-6. 
  6. ^ [1] Archived August 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Poetry Lovers' Page - Rudyard Kipling: Municipal". Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  8. ^ Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound - Ezra Pound - Google Boeken. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  9. ^ Gibson, Mary Ellis (1995). Epic Reinvented: Ezra Pound and the Victorians. Cornell University Press. pp. 71–72. ISBN 0-8014-3133-6. 
  10. ^ Macdonald, Dwight (1965). Parodies: An Anthology from Chaucer to Beerbohm—and After. Modern Library. p. 561. 
  11. ^ Alexandre Paquin. "The Film Tribune - Die Another Day (2002)". Archived from the original on October 20, 2006. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 

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