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This book approaches parody as a literary form that has assumed diverse forms and functions throughout history. The author handles this diversity by classifying parody according to its objects of imitation and specifying three major parodic kinds: parody directed at texts and personal styles, parody directed at genre, and parody directed at discourse. The book argues that different literary-historical periods in Britain have witnessed the prevalence of different kinds of parody and investigates the reasons underlying this phenomenon. All periods from the Middle Ages to the present are considered in this regard, but a special significance is given to the postmodern age, where parody has become a widely produced literary form. The book contends further that postmodern parody is primarily discourse parody - a phenomenon which can be explained through the major concerns of postmodernism as a movement. In addition to situating parody and its kinds in a historical context, this book engages in a detailed analysis of parody in the postmodern age, preparing the ground for making an informed assessment of the direction parody and its kinds may take in the near future.