Parody (пародія; parodiia; from Greek para ‘against’ and ode ‘song; hence, a ‘song in reverse’). A literary genre based on a humorous-satiric imitation of the content or style of a given literary work or works, of one author or of a whole literary school, usually with the intention of emphasizing the most negative features in form or content of the work thus parodied. Parody was known in ancient Greece (Hipponax, Aristophanes) and reappeared in European literature during the Middle Ages (various parodies of church liturgies, the poetry of the troubadours). The oldest examples of parody in Ukrainian literature can be found in folk oral literature (the first mention of it occurs in the manuscript compilation of a certain Kondratsky, ca 1684). In Ukrainian literature parody was codified by Heorhii Konysky in his Praecepta de arte poetica (1746) as a literary mode for serious replication of a given work (the model being Teofan Prokopovych’s ‘Elegia Alexii’ [1698]), although in practice it already had its present-day meaning in the works of the wandering precentors, especially in the parodying of church services and folk songs and dumas.

In modern Ukrainian literature parody appears in Ivan Kotliarevsky’s Eneïda (Aeneid), although the work as a whole belongs to the burlesque tradition, and in Natalka Poltavka (Natalka from Poltava, 1819), especially in the masterful parody of ‘learned’ speech in the part of the character Vozny. Of the numerous epigones of Kotliarevsky mention must be made of Kostiantyn Dumytrashko’s Zhabomyshodrakivka (Frog Mouse Fight, 1847–59), itself a parody-travesty of the ancient Greek parody Batrachomyomachia. Owing to the various prohibitions on the development of Ukrainian literature, however, parody could not develop fully during the 19th century. It appeared again toward the end of the 19th and in the early 20th century in works of authors such as Ivan Franko (parodies of Ivan Hushalevych, Mykola Ustyianovych), Volodymyr Samiilenko, Mykola Cherniavsky, Ivan Nechui-Levytsky, and Ostap Lutsky (parodies of Franko), and in parodies of the works of such modernist poets as Petro Karmansky, Mykola Vorony, and Vasyl Pachovsky (in the journals Komar (1900–6) and Zerkalo). Parody developed markedly in the 1920s, during which there was a general escalation of literary activity. It was found especially useful in the intensified struggle for hegemony among various literary groups. Kost Burevii was probably the most outstanding parodist of the day. Others who deserve note were Vasyl Blakytny (Vybrani satyry i baiky [Selected Satires and Tales, 1930]), Ostap Vyshnia (various parodies of Mykola Khvylovy, Hryhorii Kosynka, Volodymyr Koriak, and others in Chervonyi shliakh), Vasyl Chechviansky (Parodiï [Parodies, 1930]), Yurii Vukhnal, Volodymyr M. Yaroshenko, and Oleksa Slisarenko.

Parody declined during the Stalinist terror of the 1930s and became more a forum for publicist indictments than a genre based on artistic caricature, as evidenced in such works as T. Orysio’s Literaturni parodiï, sharzhi, epihramy (Literary Parodies, Caricatures, and Epigrams, 1932) and O. Khazin’s Literaturni parodiï (Literary Parodies, 1934). Parody became popular again in the 1950s throught the works of Serhii Voskrekasenko, Petro Slipchuk, Yu. Kruhliak, Bohdan Chaly, O. Zholdak, M. Bilkun, and many others, but their parodies on the whole are lackluster. Notable exceptions are the parodies of Yurii Shcherbak and Yurii Ivakin. Sporadic attempts at parody have also occurred among the émigrés. Although most parodies appear in newspapers or journals, some separate collections have been published, namely Teodor Kurpita’s Karykatury z literatury (Caricatures from Literature, 1947) and Porfyrii Horotak’s (joint pseudonym of Yurii Klen and Leonid Mosendz) Dyiabolichni paraboly (Diabolic Parables, 1947).

Literaturni parodiï, sharzhi, epihramy, akrostykhy, feleitony, humoresky, aforyzmy i karykatury (Kyiv 1927)
Adriianova-Peretts, V. ‘Do istoriï parodiï na Ukraïni v XVIII vitsi,’ ZIFV, 18 (1928)
Pelens’kyi, Ie. Ukraïns'ka literaturna parodiia (Lviv 1934)
Literaturni pryparky: Parodiï ta epihramy (Kyiv 1956)
Nud’ha, H. Parodiia v ukraïns'kii literaturi (Kyiv 1961)

Ivan Koshelivets, Danylo Husar Struk

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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