Discworld and the Disciplines

Critical Approaches to the Terry Pratchett Works

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About the Book

This collection of new essays applies a wide range of critical frameworks to the analysis of prolific fantasy author Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. Essays focus on topics such as Pratchett’s treatment of noise and silence and their political implications; art as an anodyne for racial conflict; humor and cognitive debugging; visual semiotics; linguistic stylistics and readers’ perspectives of word choice; and Derrida and the “monstrous Regiment of Women.” The volume also includes an annotated bibliography of critical sources. The essays provide fresh perspectives on Pratchett’s work, which has stealthily redefined both fantasy and humor for modern audiences.

About the Author(s)

Anne Hiebert Alton is a professor of English at Central Michigan University, where she teaches literature of all sorts. She lives in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
William C. Spruiell is an associate professor of English at Central Michigan University, where he teaches English linguistics, Old English, and science-fiction and fantasy literature. He lives in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Anne Hiebert Alton and William C. Spruiell. Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 29 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7464-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1601-8
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

A Note on the Text 11

The Wee Free Men: Politics and the Art of Noise Roderick McGillis 15

Coloring in Octarine: Visual Semiotics and Discworld Anne Hiebert Alton 26

Tell It Slant: Of Gods, Philosophy and Politics in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld  Gray ­Kochhar-Lindgren 81

The Watchman and the Hippopotamus: Art, Play and Otherness in Thud!   Caroline Webb 92

Counting Dangerous Beans: Pratchett, Style and the Utility of Premodified Bits    William C. Spruiell 108

Debugging the Mind: The Rhetoric of Humor and the Poetics of Fantasy    Gideon Haberkorn 160

Primary Bibliography of Terry Pratchett’s Works Published in English 189

Annotated Critical Bibliography 194

About the Contributors 221

Index 223

Book Reviews & Awards

“a comprehensive, interesting and challenging collection”—SFRA Review; “this text is firmly rooted in a variety of critical approaches, and each essay demonstrates strong commitment to scholarship and academia…an excellent resource”—Children’s Literature Association Quarterly; “an important addition to Pratchett scholarship and will be of interest to anyone doing critical work on Discworld”—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.