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A pastiche is a literary or other artistic genre that is a "hodge-podge" or an imitation. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.



In this usage, a work is called pastiche if it is 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 the greco-Roman dish pastitsio or 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 below appreciatively imitate work from multiple sources.

Mass (music)

A pastiche mass is a mass where the constituent movements are from different Mass settings.

Masses are composed by classical composers as a set of movements: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei. (Examples: the Missa Solemnis by Beethoven and the Messe de Nostre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut.) In a pastiche mass, the performers may choose a Kyrie from one composer, and a Gloria from another, or, choose a Kyrie from one setting of an individual composer, and a Gloria from another.

Most often this convention is chosen for concert performances, particularly by early music ensembles.


In this 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.

For example, many stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, originally created by Arthur Conan Doyle, have been written as pastiches since the author's time.[1][2] Ellery Queen and Nero Wolfe are other popular subjects of mystery parodies and pastiches.[3][4]

A similar example of pastiche is the posthumous continuations of the Robert E. Howard stories, written by other writers without Howard's authorization. This includes the Conan stories of L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. David Lodge's novel The British Museum Is Falling Down (1965) is a pastiche of works by Joyce, Kafka, and Virginia Woolf.

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