We continue to stretch (and occasionally ignore) the definition of “genre” here on Genre Friday. This time around we’re dealing not with a “genre” that is tied together by similar form, or theme, or subject, but by what it is attempting to do instead. That’s right, it’s pastiche time.
First, it’s pronounced pa’ steesh.
Second, it’s sort of like that saying that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Unlike parody, that imitates something in order to poke fun at it, pastiche imitates something to honor it or to bring it to life for a new generation. The results of such an attempt can be light-hearted, even flippant, but it is still generally respectful of the original material. It is done as much out of admiration for the original art or artist (and it can be applied to any art form – painting, films, music, literature, etc.) as anything else.
It’s actually a really nice idea if you think about it.
Sometimes the new work is only loosely related to the original (think West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet). Sometimes it is an off-shoot or continuation of a pre-existing story or set of stories. Anthony Horowitz’s The House of Silk, for example, is an authorized continuation of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Alexandra Ripley’s Scarlett, however, is not an official sequel to Gone with the Wind, but still pays homage to the original source in its style and subject, not to mention main character.
Plus, once you get the hang of it, it’s kind of fun to say. Pastiche.