From Academic Kids

The word pastiche describes a literary or other artistic genre. The word has two competing meanings, both discussed below.


Pastiche as imitation

In much current usage, the term denotes a literary technique employing a generally light-hearted tongue-in-cheek imitation of another's style; although jocular, it is usually respectful (as opposed to parody, which is not). For example, many stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, originally created by Arthur Conan Doyle have been written since Conan Doyle's time as pastiches. David Lodge's novel The British Museum Is Falling Down (1965) is a pastiche of works by Joyce, Kafka, and Virginia Woolf. Much fan fiction is pastiche.

Pastiche is also found in non-literary works, including art and music. For instance, Charles Rosen has characterized Mozart's various works in imitation of Baroque style as pastiche.

Pastiche is prominent in popular culture. Many genre writings, particularly in fantasy, are essentially pastiches. The Star Wars series of films by George Lucas stands out for the relentlessly derivative nature of its plot and characters.

Pastiche can also be a cinematic device wherein the "author" of the film pays homage to another filmmaker's style and use of cinematography, including camera angles, lighting, and mise-en-scene. A film's writer may also offer a pastiche based on the works of other writers (this is especially evident in historical films and documentaries but can be found in non-fiction drama, comedy and horror films as well).

See also

parody, fan fiction, doujinshi

Pastiche as hodge-podge

Pastiche is also used with a rather different meaning: a work is called pastiche if it was cobbled together in imitation of several original works. As the Oxford English Dictionary puts it, a pastiche in this sense is "a medley of various ingredients; a hotchpotch, farrago, jumble." This meaning accords with etymology: pastiche is the French version of Italian pasticcio, which designated a kind of pie made of many different ingredients.

Some works of art are pastiche in both senses of the term; for example, the David Lodge novel and the Star Wars series mentioned above affectionately imitate work from multiple sources.

History and usage

The "hodge-podge" meaning of the word came first, appearing in English in the late 19th century. Over the course of the 20th century, pastiche shifted in its meaning, so that now it can be used by educated speakers as described in the first section above, without any necessary connotation of hodge-podge. However, some readers intuit the "hodge-podge" reading to be the dominant or even the only meaning. The variation almost certainly results from the fact that the word is fairly rare--most readers acquire their sense of the word from just a few examples. In light of the ongoing semantic drift, it would seem that writers should use the word with caution.


Pastiche was also the name of an album recorded by the musical group The Manhattan Transfer (1978). "Pastiche" was also a singing group perhaps best known for their songs in the U.S. soundtrack to the video game Sonic pl:Pastisz he:פסטיש


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