Ryan Cordell, assistant professor of English at St. Norbert College, writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education about “mashups” and how they can help students learn:
In my classes, I’ve experimented with mashups in order to help students think about literary style. I started doing this when I noticed that my students often sensed stylistic differences between writers, but had difficulty articulating those differences. So, I opened a class on Virginia Woolf by asking students to rewrite a few paragraphs from To the Lighthouse in the style of Ernest Hemingway, who we’d read the week before. My students jumped into the project with vigor—they had fun breaking Woolf’s fluid, poetic prose into terse, Hemingwayan staccato. The version of “Hemingway” they produced was no doubt exaggerated, but that became part of our classroom discussion that day—the realities of authorial style versus the stereotypical versions of that style that filter into popular consciousness.
I like the technique. But haven’t musicians done that sort of thing for a long time?