The L-Space Web: Analysis

Postmodern Parody In The Discworld Novels of Terry Pratchett

By Christopher Bryant
Faculty Of Arts And Education
University Of Plymouth

Dissertation presented for the degree of Bachelor of Arts, Single Honours in English

"Things just happen. What the hell."(1) -- Didactylos, Discworld philosopher

Table of Contents

Chapter One
L-Space and the Infinite Text
Chapter Two
Parody, Pastiche, Satire
Chapter Three
Life With A World Turtle: The Discworld As Postmodern Parody


"See... Great A'Tuin the turtle comes, swimming slowly through the interstellar gulf, hydrogen frost on his ponderous limbs, his huge and ancient shell pocked with meteor craters. Through sea-sized eyes that are crusted with rheum and asteroid dust He stares fixedly at the Destination.

In a brain bigger than a city, with geological slowness, He thinks only of the Weight.

Most of the weight is of course accounted for by Berilia, Tubul, Great T'Phon and Jerakeen, the four giant elephants upon whose broad and star-tanned shoulders the disc of the World rests, garlanded by the long waterfall at its vast circumference and domed by the baby-blue vault of Heaven.

Astropsychology has been, as yet, unable to establish what they think about..."(2)

The decision to write this dissertation on the relationship between the Discworld series and postmodern parody was reached from several angles at once. My familiarity with Pratchett's books was obviously a large factor in that decision. More important, however, was a period of research into aspects of postmodernism, which involved study of several important theorists such as Juergen Habermas, Jean-Francois Lyotard and Jean Baudrillard. Postmodernism has yet to find an all-encompassing definition, but the essays and books that I read indicated its importance, not only as a tool for contemporary literature, but as an explanation of life - the term "The Postmodern Condition" has a wide frame of reference, and the theories of textual reality that Baudrillard and others have posited completely undermine all traditional concepts of what is "real." In Baudrillard's terms, "It is reality itself today that is hyperrealist", when "The hyperreal" is defined as "that which is always already reproduced."(3) The inseparable nature of reality and simulations is one aspect of postmodern theory which will be examined in this dissertation.

The connections between postmodernism and parody became apparent as my research continued: amongst other issues, both are concerned with repetition and simulation, and both raise questions about the originality of the text. Once the link between the two genres had been made, their relation to the Discworld series seemed an obvious subject, as it would enable closer examination of the various theories about postmodern parody as well as a range of novels which, despite lending themselves easily to critical debate, have been under-represented in this way to date.

Terry Pratchett has written twenty books to date, up to and including Hogfather, that take place on the Discworld. On this magical world, dwarfs and trolls share space with wizards and heroes, cities come under attack from fire-breathing dragons, and Gods play games with the fate of men. Unlike other works of fantasy, however - many of which could also be accurately described by this summation - Pratchett's books infuse their situations and characters with an ironic sense that subverts the reader's expectations of the genre. On the Discworld, the cross-section of species meet regularly at the Mended Drum inn, and the games played by the Gods are more complex than chess and a lot more vicious: the Gods of the Discworld have a habit of going round to atheists' houses and breaking the windows. This is why Terry Pratchett has become a best-selling novelist - he fuses humour and fantasy to produce a unique universe.

The genre of fantasy, and by implication Pratchett's novels, is often dismissed as pulp for children and therefore not worthy of critical attention. In fact, many of the concepts and references in the Discworld series are extremely complicated, with the result that the range can be appreciated on two levels - children can enjoy the books as a hilarious fantasy adventure romp, while adults will be able to get a greater appreciation of Pratchett's deeper expository intent. Also, from a postmodern point of view, there is no reason for the Discworld novels to receive less critical attention than any other works of fiction: the barriers between "high" and "low" culture are no longer relevant, as will be illustrated later in this dissertation.

Terry Pratchett has himself defended the reputation of fantasy:

"I now know that almost all fiction is, at some level, fantasy. What Agatha Christie wrote was fantasy. What Tom Clancy writes is fantasy. What Jilly Cooper writes is fantasy--at least, I hope for her sake it is. But what people generally have in mind when they hear the word fantasy is swords, talking animals, vampires, rockets (science fiction is fantasy with bolts on), and around the edges it can indeed be pretty silly. Yet fantasy also speculates about the future, rewrites the past and reconsiders the present. It plays games with the universe."(4)

The transformational nature of fantasy as indicated by Pratchett in this article can be compared with similar aspects of postmodern parody, as will be examined in this dissertation.

The Discworld novels, at various points, have concerned themselves with swords, talking animals, vampires and, if not rockets, then certainly at least one bronze "ship of space"(5) which is lowered over the edge of the world in an attempt to determine the sex of Great A'Tuin the World Turtle. Around the edges, they can indeed be pretty silly. Although they exist firmly within the fantasy genre, however, this dissertation will suggest that they are also critical of its conventions. Pratchett, it will be argued, presents a parody of fantasy from within a fantastic landscape.

The aim of this dissertation will be to determine whether the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett can be accurately described as postmodern parody: to discover what, if anything, they parody, how this is done, and what its implications are, particularly in reference to theories of the postmodern. The first chapter will explore these last in further detail, while the second and third chapters will concentrate more on parody, coming to a definition of the term (especially in contrast to terms like pastiche and satire, with which it is often confused) and judging how it relates to the Discworld novels.

Chapter One

L-Space and the Infinite Text

There are many aspects of the Discworld which support theories of postmodernism. The condition of hyperreality, as posited by Jean Baudrillard in The Order Of Simulacra, leads to a world in which there are no distinctions between the simulacra and that which they simulate:

"The new postmodern universe tends to make everything a simulacrum. By this Baudrillard means a world in which all we have are simulations, there being no 'real' external to them, no 'original' that is being copied. There is no longer a realm of the 'real' versus that of 'imitation' or 'mimicry' but rather a level in which there are only simulations."(6)

Baudrillard's example to illustrate this principle involves "a map so detailed that it ends up exactly covering the territory"(7) - a 1:1 scale simulation which effectively replaces the original. It is this effect which Baudrillard suggests has already taken place.

The idea of simulations superseding that which is simulated is a common theme in the Discworld novels. One book which employs the concept is Moving Pictures, which culminates in the characters from a popular film bursting through the screen at the premiere and into reality. The star of the film, Victor, is present at the premiere, and the crowd expectantly wait for him to save the day, ignoring his protests that it was all acting.(8) The solution, in fact, turns out to be quite simple, in a Discworld sort of way - Victor yells "Lights! Picture box! Action!", the cameras start rolling, and he is able to become the hero of the film once again. So-called "movie rules" are made to work in the "real" world: "we live in a world of simulacra where the image or signifier of an event has replaced direct experience and knowledge of its referent or signified."(9)

Ankh-Morpork, the principal location in which the novels take place, is a city obsessed with simulations. A recurring phrase through the books serves as a subtle indicator: "Technically, Ankh-Morpork is built on loam, but what it is mainly built on is Ankh-Morpork"(10). The original city has burnt down, been flooded, been invaded, been attacked by dragons or had parts of it blown up or accidentally turned into jam by the wizards from Unseen University so many times that the city which now calls itself Ankh-Morpork is nothing more than a simulation of the original city, yet is equal and in many ways greater than its model. Its inhabitants are also entirely willing to accept new versions of reality as absolute, whether they come from the Odium picture house, the Dysk theatre, the opera house or simply from a good liar.

If reality now consists entirely of simulacra, then the boundary between fact and fiction has dissolved. In the words of Baudrillard, "art is everywhere, since artifice is at the very heart of reality."(11) Once this concept has been accepted, it is little more than a logical leap to postulate the idea of "textual reality." This suggests that everything is a text, and can be treated as such: Madan Sarup writes of "a move to 'textualize' everything" and states that "history, philosophy, jurisprudence, sociology and other disciplines are treated as so many optional 'kinds of writing' or discourses."(12) The evidence for this is manifest on several levels. As a continuance of Baudrillard's theories of simulacra, it stands to reason that if everything is hyperreal, if "art is everywhere" and reality is now a web of simulations or fictions, then there can be nothing that cannot be treated as a discourse, as a text.

It is also useful to examine the theories of Ferdinand de Saussure Saussure's writings studied the phenomenon of language, and posited the notion of the linguistic sign, a theoretical construct which shows how the signifier (the "sound-image" such as the word "tree") and the signified (the "concept", which would be the image of a tree in the mind) combine to form the sign which is associated with the referent of a tree (that is, the actual tree, "out there in the real world").(13) These signs effectively construct language in the human mind, and Saussure argues that this allows us to understand the world:

"Philosophers and linguists have always agreed that were it not for signs, we should be incapable of differentiating any two ideas in a clear and constant way. In itself, thought is like a swirling cloud, where no shape is intrinsically determinate. No ideas are established in advance, and nothing is distinct, before the introduction of linguistic structure." [110]

The implications of the work of Saussure, and of those who have followed him, are that language constructs the world for us. We understand the nature of an object through knowing its name, and through knowing its attributes, which are in turn appellated by name. This supports the theory of textual reality, therefore, as it indicates that our perception of reality is textual, and depends on language. In Wyrd Sisters, the witch Granny Weatherwax muses on the power of words: "Words were indeed insubstantial. They were as soft as water, but they were also as powerful as water and now they were rushing over the audience, eroding the levees of veracity and carrying away the past."(14) The idea that by understanding how to use language one can have power is strong in the Discworld novels: the golems in Feet Of Clay, for example, are powered by words written on pieces of paper in their heads.(15) In Pyramids, the narrative pauses to reflect on this: "All things are defined by names. Change the name, and you change the thing. Of course there is a lot more to it than that, but paracosmically that is what it boils down to..."(16)

Beyond Terry Pratchett's novels, if reality is indeed textual, then it is malleable, and the idea that there can be any one essential "truth" becomes a fallacy: this implicitly supports Lyotard's declaration that "The grand narrative has lost its credibility, regardless of what mode of unification it uses, regardless of whether it is a speculative narrative or a narrative of emancipation."(17) In this case, it is one of the most fundamental "grand narratives" of all, that of an inescapable central truth to existence, which has been undermined. The Death of the Discworld, who observes humanity from outside, is dismissive of grand narratives:

"take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. and yet-- Death waved a hand. and yet you act as if there is some ideal order in the world, as if there is some...some rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.

'Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point--'

my point exactly."(18)

Death's assertion that our many guiding metanarratives have no automatic "ideal order" echoes the writings of Michel Foucault, who indicated in "The Order Of Things" that "there is nothing more tentative...than the process of establishing an order among things"(19) and supported this with many examples of ordering that seem ridiculous to a conventional Western eye (an illogical Chinese encyclopaedia, an aphasiac's ordering of wool), but which have no less basis than any of our own systems of classification.

Jacques Derrida stated that all meaning must necessarily be deferred, and that there can be no empirical reading of a text:

"the structure of the sign is determined by the trace (the French meaning carries strong implications of track, footprint, imprint) of that other which is forever absent. The other is, of course, never to be found in its full being. Rather like the answer to a child's question or a definition in a dictionary, one sign leads to another and so on indefinitely..."(20)

This implies that there can be no validation of grand narratives, as every explanation can itself be questioned. The citizens of Ankh-Morpork have a tendency to submit to grand narratives completely, and this is noted in Guards! Guards!:

"You tell them a lie, and then when you don't need it any more you tell them another lie and tell them they're progressing along the road to wisdom. Then instead of laughing they follow you even more, hoping that at the heart of all the lies they'll find the truth. And bit by bit they accept the unacceptable."(21)

As will be discussed further in the next chapter, Discworld inhabitants will accept any grand narrative and any text as real, and the strong magical field of the Discworld makes this a dangerous situation. Belief is a potent force in this world, and manifests itself in anthropomorphic personifications. People believe that Death is a skeleton with a scythe who rides a white horse, and so he is. When the Hogfather (Discworld's version of Santa Claus) goes missing, he leaves lots of "spare belief sloshing around"(22), which manifests itself in all sorts of new personifications such as the Eater of Socks, the god of indigestion and the oh god of hangovers. Reality is fragile in the Discworld, and can easily be warped by texts of any description.

A clear example of the ways in which everything can now be treated as a discourse is in the study of history, which Sarup cited as an example of a "textual" discipline. By its nature, history has vanished into the past, and cannot be studied at first hand. Indisputably, therefore, the study of history is a textual pursuit: the lessons of the past are taught through written documents, from the Bayeux Tapestry to modern classroom text books, as well as ancient objects that shape our perception of history, which are also textual if everything is a simulacrum.

The problem with history, as is well known, is that the documents which have reached us through the ages may be full of inaccuracies - Linda Hutcheon indicates that "history is not the transparent record of any sure "truth""(23), and this is a popular concept as suggested by the expression "History is written by the winning side." In the Discworld, history is quite literally textual:

"the books of history...aren't books in which the events of the past are pinned like so many butterflies to a cork. These are the books from which history is derived. There are more than twenty thousand on them; each one is ten feet high, bound in lead, and the letters are so small that they have to be read with a magnifying glass.

When people say 'It is written...' it is written here."(24)

This textuality is apparently uncontestable and unalterable: a grand narrative that cannot be questioned, as it is quite plainly there. The events of Small Gods, however, differ from their description in the Books of History, as the history monk Lu-Tze nudges things a little in order to avoid "a century of terrible warfare." [377] Even in the Discworld, history can be changed: Lu-Tze challenges the grand narratives written in the books of history and topples them.

The preoccupation in Pratchett's novels with matters of textual reality seems natural, as the whole Discworld exists on a textual basis. In Mort, the eponymous central character, Death's apprentice, visits the library of Death, which contains biographies of everyone who has ever lived or who will ever live:

"[The books] were unusual in one respect. They were writing themselves. People who had already died, obviously, filled their books from cover to cover, and those who hadn't been born yet had to put up with blank pages. Those in between... Mort took note, marking the place and counting the extra lines, and estimated that some books were adding paragraphs at the rate of four or five every day. He didn't recognise the handwriting."(25)

The first presumption, that people's lives are written down as they happen, is disproved by the main events of the plot. Mort attempts to save the fifteen-year-old Princess Keli from assassination, and although he foils the murder, Discworld reality still believes the Princess is dead, with the result that people have a great deal of trouble in understanding who she is, even when she shouts at them. Mort soon makes the discovery that Keli's book has been completed, and ends with the story of "The princess's assassination at the age of fifteen" [96]. Much as the history of the Discworld is literally textual, so are the lives of its inhabitants: but just as history's metanarratives can be altered by Lu-Tze, so Death himself occasionally breaks the rules, as in Mort when he saves the life of his apprentice by turning the hourglass of his life upside-down at the moment of death. [266]

In support of the theory of textual reality, Linda Hutcheon quotes two theorists who have commented on the phenomenon:

"Roland Barthes once defined the intertext as "the impossibility of living outside the infinite text"...thereby making intertextuality the very condition of textuality. Umberto Eco... claims: "I discovered what writers have always known (and have told us again and again): books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told.""(26)

Barthes' comment underlines the assertions of Saussure and Baudrillard that everything is textual. Eco, however, is making a more specific point about works of literature, which echoes Barthes' own article "The Death Of The Author". Clearly, if all reality is now a simulacrum, then so must all writing "steal" from existing works:

"We know now that a text consists not of a line of words, releasing a single "theological" meaning (the "message" of the Author-God), but of a multi-dimensional space in which are married and contested several writings, none of which is original: the text is a fabric of quotations, resulting from a thousand sources of culture."(27)

Barthes indicates that in a world of simulacra, texts must inevitably feed off each other, so that originality has been replaced by a web of influences and references. In Lords And Ladies, Terry Pratchett outlines in a footnote how the Discworld's high magical field causes this state of affairs to be taken even further:

"The study of invisible writings was a new discipline made available by the discovery of the bi-directional nature of Library-Space. The thaumic mathematics are complex, but boil down to the fact that all books, everywhere, affect all other books. This is obvious: books inspire other books written in the future, and cite books written in the past. But the General Theory of L-Space suggests that, in that case, the contents of books as yet unwritten can be deduced from books now in existence."(28)

The Unseen University's Reader in Invisible Writings, a young wizard called Ponder Stibbons, is the Discworld's equivalent of literary theorists, as well as being an advocate of theories of parallel universes and other unprovable concepts which cause other wizards to treat him with great suspicion. Even he, however, does not fully understand L-Space, which is to the libraries of the Discworld what intertextuality is to the books of this world: "indeed, if the L-Space theories are correct, the Library contains every book everywhere, including the ones that never actually got written."(29) Discworld libraries all contain each other, much as postmodernism insists that all works of literature contain each other. Books on the Discworld also feed off each other, though in a rather more literal manner: "Books which, if left on a shelf with their weaker brethren, would be found in a 'Revised, Enlarged and Smug Edition' in the morning." [147] This extrapolation of various literary theories is clearly intended as irony, although Pratchett himself makes full use of the infinite text: he is criticising from within, the implications of which are discussed elsewhere in this dissertation.

The questions of authorship which "The Death Of The Author" raises are echoed in the Discworld novels through devices such as the "inspiration particles" which carry much of the creativity to the Disc's artists. This is most closely examined in Wyrd Sisters:

"Particles of raw inspiration sleet through the universe all the time. Every once in a while one of them hits a receptive mind, which then invents DNA or the flute sonata form or a way of making light bulbs wear out in half the time."(30)

The playwright in Wyrd Sisters, Hwel the dwarf, is unfortunate enough to get more than his fair share of these particles, with the result that his largely Shakespearean plays are disturbed by unexpected visions of the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy: "He'd found room for the star-crossed lovers, the comic gravediggers and the hunchback king. It was the cats and the roller skates that were currently giving him trouble..." [60] Arguably, Hwel is nothing but the medium through which these plays are written: like Barthes' author, there is no creative intention but rather virtual dictation.

The particles which reach Hwel are all recognisable elements of film and theatre - pantomime, screwball comedy, Chaplin. The process of Hwel's writing is therefore extremely reminiscent of how Barthes has claimed all writing is achieved: the dwarf's text is indeed "a fabric of quotations, resulting from a thousand sources of culture", which reach him on particles of inspiration sent forth from the infinite text. Hwel is a personification of the postmodern author. The diversity of his inspirations - he is as likely to write Macbeth as he is to write a pantomime - supports the writings of many postmodern theorists concerning the lack of any distinction between high and low culture, as all texts are essentially one text (the infinite text). Hwel's plays endorse this theory, as do Pratchett's books as a whole, which regularly reference classical literature alongside contemporary television shows.

Intertextuality - by which all books feed off each other - is rife in the works of Terry Pratchett. Many of the characters and situations in the Discworld novels are directly resonant of counterparts in established plays, films or novels. The plots of Wyrd Sisters and Lords And Ladies, for instance, closely resemble those of plays by William Shakespeare. The relationship of Lords And Ladies to A Midsummer Night's Dream is clearly signalled to the reader (the writing on the back cover of the book states "It's Midsummer Night. No time for dreaming..."(31)), and the final words of the text underline the connection - Hwel is writing a play about the novel's events, but "he called it The Taming Of The Vole, because no-one would be interested in a play called Things that Happened on A Midsummer Night." [382] The more subtle references throughout the book, however, are occasionally meaningless without a working knowledge of the source material. The words spoken to the Queen of the Elves by the King during the dénouement, for instance, are reported by the witch Magrat as being "Something about meeting by moonlight" [350] - the importance of which can only be understood if the reader is aware that Oberon's first words to Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream are "Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania."(32)

In both Lords And Ladies and Wyrd Sisters, a knowledge of the Shakespeare texts concerned greatly enhance understanding and enjoyment of Pratchett's texts, and this holds true throughout the Discworld series. The range is truly intertextual, and feeds from the infinite text unceasingly. One of the major effects of this is parody, which is closely linked to intertextuality, but it also helps to situate the world of Pratchett's novels within literature: as fantasy novels, they stands outside the realistic tradition, and by adapting situations from literature and real life they simultaneously distance themselves further from their sources (a universe where Hwel writes a version of the story of Macbeth surely cannot exist in the same universe where Shakespeare wrote that play) and embrace them - by referring to familiar texts and concepts, they help the reader to overcome feelings of alienation towards this peculiar new world as well as creating points of reference to aid the writer in describing exotic places and life forms.

Terry Pratchett is writing his Discworld novels within the infinite text (indeed, Barthes claimed that it would be impossible not to do so), and his books feed off those written in the past, much as books written today may be influenced by his. Within the Discworld, meanwhile, authorship is no less a misleading concept than in our world - perhaps the only true author is the author of the Disc's inhabitants' biographies, the owner of the handwriting which Mort did not recognise. A hallmark of Pratchett's writing is to take theoretical notions and interpret them literally - life on the Discworld is inescapably textual, and, as Princess Keli discovered, the text in Death's library is more "real" than the characters' corporeal existence.

Chapter Two

Parody, Pastiche, Satire

In order to determine whether the Discworld novels can be described as postmodern parodies, it is first necessary to make clear the differences between parody and other related forms of writing such as satire and pastiche. The Oxford English Dictionary defines parody in terms of its mocking effect:

"A composition in prose or verse in which the characteristic turns of thought and phrase in an author or class of authors are imitated in such a way as to make them appear ridiculous, especially by applying them to ludicrously inappropriate subjects; an imitation of a work more or less closely modelled on the original, but so turned as to produce a ridiculous effect."(33)

One example of this definition of parody in Pratchett's writing appears in Wyrd Sisters, when Verence the Fool is attempting to woo the witch Magrat Garlick with romantic lines suggested to him by Hwel the playwright: "I'd like to know if I could compare you to a summer's day. Because - well, June 12th was quite nice, and..."(34) Shakespeare's Sonnet XVIII has been imitated and adapted, in order to transform a well-known piece of poetry into an object of laughter. The sonnet is subjected to ridicule by being placed in the inept mouth of the Fool, but the Fool himself is also made to seem ludicrous by failing to successfully deliver such a famous line.

One theorist who would seem to agree with the line taken by the Oxford English Dictionary is Fredric Jameson, who claimed that "the general effect of parody is -- whether in sympathy or with malice -- to cast ridicule".(35) For Jameson, pastiche or "blank parody" is more significant within postmodernism, as the fragmentation of literature has eliminated "the very possibility of any linguistic norm in terms of which one could ridicule private languages and idiosyncratic styles." [114] If there is no norm, then what he describes as the "satirical impulse" must be absent, and the textual imitation exists without the necessary intention to produce humour. Pastiche lacks the "ulterior motive" [114] of parody, which is to inspire laughter in the reader.

Jameson's reading of poetry is supported by those elements in Pratchett's novels which are arguably the most superficial. The plot of Moving Pictures is a tissue of story lines taken from well-known filmic texts from Gone With The Wind to Predator, and culminates in a scene which is a classic example of parodic inversion for humorous intent. The film crew watching the battle make the following observations:

"'Oh, yes. Yes. Yes,' breathed Soll. 'What a picture! Pure kinema!'

'A giant woman carrying a screaming ape up a tall building,' sighed Dibbler. 'And we're not even having to pay wages!'"(36)

The plot has contrived to create a parody of King Kong by reversing the positions of ape and woman, and the connection between the two texts has not been remarked upon until now. The effect, once recognition has been achieved, is humorous, and, in Jameson's terms, the parody has therefore been successful. This process of inversion - altering or exchanging certain factors within a recognised formula - is one common form of achieving parodic effect.

If the Discworld novels uniformly followed the guidelines set out by Fredric Jameson, then the dictionary definition of parody would seem to be sufficient to describe them. This is brought into question by the fact that many of the most apparently parodic novels do not consist solely of humorous situations. The dénouement of Lords And Ladies, for instance, is a highly tense showdown between the witches and the elves. As has already been indicated, this book has a strong textual relationship with A Midsummer Night's Dream, and might loosely be called a parody of Shakespeare's play: if, however, parody exists only to ridicule, then it is a definition which has many problems.

A distinction between pastiche and parody is made by most theorists, but their definitions frequently differ. Jameson's view of pastiche ("in a world where stylistic innovation is no longer possible, all that is left is to imitate dead styles"(37)) seems convincing enough, and has been adopted by many subsequent theorists - Margaret A. Rose, for instance, wrote that the term pastiche differs from parody "in describing a more neutral practice of compilation which is neither necessarily critical of its sources, nor necessarily comic."(38) These theorists all suggest that parody is nothing more than a tool for ridicule, and this seems to be restricting, as it limits parody to serving only as the comic branch of pastiche: a form which uses the tools of pastiche to mock its subject. Jameson's model is correct in that there is a relationship between the two forms, but his definition of that relationship is too narrow. Linda Hutcheon indicates that the etymology of the Greek word "parodia" suggests a wider meaning:

"The prefix para has two meanings, only one of which is usually mentioned - that of "counter" or "against."...However, para in Greek can also mean "beside," and therefore there is a suggestion of an accord or intimacy instead of a contrast...There is nothing in parodia that necessitates the inclusion of a concept of ridicule"(39)

The origin of a word is hardly a powerful argument for how it should be applied many hundreds of years later, but Hutcheon uses this alternative etymology as an illustration of her arguments to suggest that parody, far from being a purely comic art, can be used to a number of ends. In her Theory Of Parody, she uses the term "parody" to describe "a form of imitation, but imitation characterized by ironic inversion, not always at the expense of the parodied text." [6] Although such "repetition with difference" [32] has an expository intention in its inversion, this need not be ridicule.

Like Jameson, Hutcheon seeks to differentiate pastiche and parody, but as she has expanded the possibilities of parody, the split suggested by Jameson three years earlier is not sufficient. In her definition of the two forms, she agrees with Jameson that parody's "ulterior motive" is absent in the "empty realm of pastiche"(40), but separates them by claiming that "parody is transformational in its relationship to other texts; pastiche is imitative."(41) For Hutcheon, pastiche becomes parody when the simulation is significantly changed from that which has been simulated, in order to serve some expository intent. In Lords And Ladies, for example, the parodic inversion changes the nature of elves without needing to change the words used to describe them:

"Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror."(42)

The traditional methods of describing elves are here subverted to make them into quite different creatures. Central to Pratchett's depiction of the elves in this book is the transformational nature of glamour, and the willingness of the human mind to be deceived by such glamour. The tools of writers such as Tolkien, and the words they use, are parodied by a simple twist of meaning, and the effect is more unnerving than comical.

The links between parody and postmodernism are extremely strong, as Linda Hutcheon indicates in The Politics Of Postmodernism. By its nature, parody is an intertextual discipline, and feeds off previous texts in order to serve its expository point. In this way, it supports the theories of Roland Barthes in "The Death Of The Author": "Parody also contents our humanist assumptions about artistic originality and uniqueness...With parody - as with any form of reproduction - the notion of the original as rare, single and called into question."(43) No parodic text can claim originality, as it exists by definition within the infinite text.

Another important aspect of parody is its self-awareness. Any text, as it progresses, builds up a number of "truths" about the world it creates - the Discworld's own grand narratives would include the conventions of Ankh-Morpork society, or the religious beliefs of the followers of Blind Io the Thunder God. These help to form a coherent picture of the fictional landscape, which enables the reader to become involved with the story and suspend his/her disbelief. When a text uses any form of textual repetition, the effect must naturally be a self-conscious declaration to the reader that they are reading a text, and therefore destroys whatever grand narratives it may have constructed. In the earlier example from Moving Pictures, however involved the reader may have previously been in the tension of the final showdown, the ironic reference to King Kong by Dibbler and Soll will provoke laughter alongside a renewed awareness of the text as a work of fiction: this single moment of awareness knocks aside the grand narratives that the text has been building up in its fiction. In a text which is entirely a work of parody or pastiche, this moment is extended throughout, so that no such grand narratives can even be formed. The reader automatically searches for a more solid certainty, for the original which is being parodied: within the intertext, however, no text can claim absolute originality. It is for this reason that Linda Hutcheon claims that parody questions the validity of concepts of the original:

"what is called to our attention is the entire representational process...and the impossibility of finding any totalizing model to resolve the resulting postmodern contradictions." [95]

Pratchett's novels are full of intertextual references, with the result that the reader is kept aware of these "postmodern contradictions" constantly: that the question of authorship in a work of repetition is problematic, and that the scriptor of the Discworld novels "traces a field without origin--or at least with no origin but language itself."(44)

Linda Hutcheon indicates on a number of occasions that "parody is unavoidable for postmodernism"(45) , but the reverse would also appear to be true - that certain aspects of postmodernism are always present in works of parody. The intertextual nature of both parody and pastiche situates them firmly within the infinite text. The term "postmodern parody" implies that some forms of parody are otherwise: the above reasoning, however, suggests that all forms of intertextual repetition, including pastiche and parody, are by definition postmodern.

It is true that each individual Discworld novel imitates various different literary, filmic or musical texts, and that the construction of the entire range has roots in authors such as Tolkien and Mervyn Peake (whose Gormenghast trilogy has influenced many of the novels, notably Pyramids). It is, however, equally important to examine the ways in which Pratchett uses the Discworld to satirise human society. Elements of everyday life from trade unions to the gay movement to morris dancing have found their way into the range, and it is debatable whether this aspect of Pratchett's writing can be labelled parody.

The similarities between parody and satire are clear: both rely upon repetition and inversion to achieve an expository point, although with satire this point is usually intended to criticise or condemn its subject. Hutcheon suggests another distinction between the two: "Parody...[has] a restriction of focus: its repetition is always of another discursive text. The ethos of that act of repetition can vary, but its "target" is always intramural in this sense."(46) Satire, on the other hand, she describes as "extramural", and indicates that although satire may use parodic forms to achieve its goal, it has no reliance on texts. Margaret A. Rose takes a similar approach, although for her parody and satire are both forms exclusively dedicated to the production of laughter:

"one major factor which distinguishes the parody from satire is...the parody's use of the preformed material of its 'target' as a constituent part of its own structure. Satire, on the other hand, need not be restricted to the imitation, distortion or quotation of other literary texts or preformed artistic materials, and when it does deal with such preformed material, need not make itself as dependent upon it for its own character as does parody, but may simply make fun of it as a target external to itself."(47)

The Discworld itself, and particularly the city of Ankh-Morpork, as they have evolved through twenty novels, imitate many different texts in their construction, whilst also providing Pratchett's greatest tools for satire. The Patrician of the city, Lord Vetinari, maintains order via the Guilds, fully legal organisations of Thieves, Assassins, Beggars, Alchemists, Merchants and so forth, which represent a thinly-veiled satire on the ability of governments to constantly introduce new and outrageous laws as long as everything continues to run smoothly for the general populace:

"[The Patrician] reasoned that the only way to police a city of a million inhabitants was to recognise the various gangs and robber guilds, give them professional status, invite the leaders to large dinners, allow an acceptable level of street crime and then make the guild leaders responsible for enforcing it, on pain of being stripped of their new civic honours along with large areas of their skins...It all ticked over extremely peacefully and efficiently, demonstrating once again that compared to the Patrician of Ankh, Machiavelli could not have run a whelk stall."(48)

The citizens of Ankh-Morpork are often used to satirise human gullibility and the willingness of the average person to accept anything and then act as if it was their idea all along: in the above example, it is common for people to "get an acceptable minimum of theft, assault, etc, over at the beginning of the financial year." [171] Many of the novels take place amongst this satirical landscape, whilst still containing uncountable textual references.

Although this separation between satire and parody seems perfectly straightforward, it becomes problematic when the postmodern aspects of parody are taken into consideration. If the implications of Baudrillard's writings have already been accepted - that everything is a kind of discourse or text, and that all aspects of reality now consist of simulation, art or fiction - then the distinction is meaningless, as any subject for satire automatically becomes a textual concern, and therefore, in Hutcheon's terms, a parody. It is quite logical to suggest that even those elements of the Discworld novels that have just been described as satirical can, in a postmodern sense, be labelled as parodic (or, indeed, as pastiche.) Postmodern parody and satire are, in effect, the same thing.

Linda Hutcheon's definitions of parody, pastiche and satire seem to be more accurate than those of Jameson and those who have followed him, as they tend to limit the forms less and are more representational of what contemporary parody aims to achieve. The intertextual aspects of postmodern parody resonate strongly with Pratchett's writing, and although, in the words of the OED, his imitations are constantly applied to "ludicrously inappropriate subjects", the effect need not be "ridiculous". The presence or otherwise of the expository intent that is required in parody will be debated in the next chapter.

Chapter Three

Life With A World Turtle: The Discworld As Postmodern Parody

The definition of parody reached in the previous chapter - that of transformational textual repetition to specific expository ends - cannot be said to be complete unless the nature of that "expository point" has been determined. If the instance of imitation has been subverted in some way to serve an obviously satirical or moral intent (for example, if the narrative is passing comment on textual or social conventions) then it can be said to be transformational, and to be parodic. It is harder to make the distinction, however, when the apparent drive behind the imitation is nothing other than humour. Linda Hutcheon acknowledged that parody can be used for a number of reasons, "from reverence to mockery",(49) while Fredric Jameson stated that the entire purpose of parody was "to cast ridicule."(50) Neither of these theorists intended, however, to suggest that the mere production of laughter was sufficient to serve as the expository drive behind parody. Although most of Jameson's theories on parody have already been rejected within this dissertation, his statements on the potential political implications of parody are important: "there remains somewhere behind all parody the feeling that there is a linguistic norm in contrast to which the styles of the great modernists can be mocked." [113-4] Even those definitions of parody that limit it to a ridiculing role indicate the deeper implications.

Hutcheon, whose theories have been generally accepted with some adaptation in the preceding chapters, makes a definite statement about humour in postmodern parody: "To include irony and play is never necessarily to exclude seriousness and purpose in postmodernist art."(51) This seems to be crucial in identifying parody and separating it from less transformational forms such as pastiche. In order to be parodic, textual imitation must have more at its heart than the wish to entertain - if it is mocking, then there must be a satirical or moral impulse at its core.

On this basis, one view of the Discworld novels is that while the range as a whole is parodic, many of the contents of the individual texts can be generally said to be pastiche. This contention can be best demonstrated through specific examples. The most commonly referenced author in the Discworld novels is J.R.R. Tolkien, whose novels The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings have had a profound influence on virtually every fantasy novel written since their publication. One of the most recognisable references to Tolkien comes in Witches Abroad:

"Two pale glows appeared at the edge of the lamplight. Eventually they turned out to be the eyes of a small grey creature, vaguely froglike, paddling towards them on a log...

' 'ullo,' it said. 'It'sss my birthday.'"(52)

In Tolkien's books, Gollum is often described in such terms ("a dark shape, hardly visible, floated close to one of the moored boats. A long whitish hand could dimly be seen...two pale lamplike eyes shone coldly"(53)), and his mode of speech ("What has it got in its pocketses? Oh we guess, we guess, my precious. He's found it, yes he must have. My birthday-present."(54)) is recalled by the creature on the log.

This encounter with a creature very similar to Gollum is a pastiche of Tolkien's character, providing a cheap laugh and no constructive comment on the source text at all. There are many such unsubtle pastiches of The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings throughout the novels, which often serve as signposts towards more critical parodies of the same texts. Many aspects of the Discworld and its inhabitants reference the style and content of these texts with ironic inversion, such as in the relations between dwarfs, trolls and humans, who all interact freely both on the Discworld and in Tolkien's Middle Earth. Although both trolls and dwarves existed in concept before Tolkien was writing, most fantasy writers since his time have based their depiction of these species on his books, and Pratchett exhibits a clear wish to break from this tradition. This intention is signified by his parodic imitation of Tolkien's conventions(55). Trolls, for example, appear in The Hobbit as disgusting, violent creatures who take any opportunity to have a nice meal of dwarf or human - a representation which would be condemned on the Discworld by the Silicon Anti-Defamation League:

"'And don't you go listening to them stories about us eatin' people,' said Galena. 'That's a slander, that is. I mean, we're made of rock, what'd we want to eat people--'

'Swaller,' said the other troll. 'You mean swaller.'

'Yeah. What's we want to swaller people for? We always spit out the bits.'"(56)

The trolls in The Hobbit also suffer a famous fate:

"just at that moment the light came over the hill, and there was a mighty twitter in the branches. William never spoke for he stood turned to stone as he stooped; and Bert and Tom were stuck like rocks as they looked at him...for trolls, as you probably know, must be underground before dawn, or they go back to the stuff of the mountains they are made of, and never move again."(57)

Pratchett has taken Tolkien's model - trolls as undesirable creatures made of rock who solidify if they are caught by dawn - and subverted it in any way possible. In the Discworld, trolls are very aware of their status as silicon-based life forms, and have to use an awful lot of sunblock if they want to work during the day so that they don't become immobile, which the troll in Moving Pictures describes as "a pain."(58) This is another basic difference which Pratchett introduces to the troll mythology: Tolkien stated that, once turned to stone, the trolls would "never move again", whereas Discworld trolls can move from one state to the other with every passing day.

Many scenes from The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings reappear in the Discworld novels in subverted form. The attempted slaying of the dragon in Guards! Guards! appears on one level to be a shallow pastiche of Bard's killing of the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit (Sergeant Colon too has a "lucky arrow", aims for the dragon's "voonerable spot" and reasons he's bound to succeed because it's a "last desperate million-to-one chance"(59)), but also has the effect of injecting common sense into one of Tolkien's typically heroic but unlikely scenarios. By undermining the heroism in the dragon-slaying situation, Pratchett is subverting the conventions of the genre to parodic effect. This aspect is also in evidence in the depiction of the Discworld's own heroes, who are generally men like Hrun the Barbarian: strong, single-minded and very stupid. In The Colour Of Magic, Hrun and Twoflower have been captured, and the hero casually guesses what is going to happen next:

"'Oh,' he said, 'I expect in a minute the door will be flung back and I'll be dragged off to some sort of temple arena where I'll fight maybe a couple of giant spiders and an eight-foot slave from the jungles of Klatch and then I'll rescue some kind of a princess from the altar and then kill off a few guards or whatever and then this girl will show me the secret passage out of the place and we'll liberate a couple of horses and escape with the treasure.' Hrun leaned his head back on his hands and looked at the ceiling, whistling tunelessly.

'All that?' said Twoflower.


This condensation of an archetypal fantasy plot, delivered in such a non-committal way, makes the so-called heroic business it recounts seem commonplace. This not only continues the parody of the traditional heroes who have dominated fantasy since Tolkien, but also makes their actions seem entirely ordinary. This is another regular feature of Pratchett's novels: events and characters which would be considered great and mighty in non-parodic works of fantasy are spoken of in a register no different to that used when detailing the more mundane lives of Ankh-Morpork citizens. This absence of a barrier between matters considered to be of high or low importance is an essential aspect of postmodernism, as indicated in chapter one, and also undermines another convention of fantasy fiction, where the deeds of heroes are always declaimed in high language. The returning king in The Lord Of The Rings, Aragorn, bears the sword Andúril, whose name is spoken in awe ("the Sword of Elendil would be a help beyond our hope"(61)). His counterpart in the Discworld is Captain Carrot, who also has an ancient sword. The difference between the two worlds is exemplified in the differing attitudes towards the swords: "maybe your real real king of, like, days of yore, he would have a sword that didn't sparkle one bit but was bloody efficient at cutting hings."(62)

The masculine bias of the fantasy genre is also attacked: there are no female characters in The Hobbit, and very few in The Lord Of The Rings. Tolkien's dwarves, in particular, are apparently an exclusively male race, and this becomes a major characteristic of the dwarfs in the Discworld novels:

"Dwarfs are very reticent about revealing their sex, which most of them don't consider to be very important compared to things like metallurgy and hydraulics...Many of the more traditional dwarf tribes have no female pronouns, like 'she' or 'her'. It follows that the courtship of dwarfs is an incredibly tactful affair."(63)

This aspect of Pratchett's Discworld is brought to the forefront in Feet Of Clay by the character of Cherry (or Cheri) Littlebottom, a female dwarf who decides, during the course of the novel to "come out" as female by wearing earrings, lipstick and a skirt, which shocks the other dwarfs considerably ("that's disgusting! In public, too!...I can see your ankles!"(64)).

This plot line functions on two levels. Primarily, it parodies the masculine nature of Middle Earth and other such fantasy worlds and condemns such sexist leanings through the character of Angua, who defends Cheri's actions. On another level, however, it acts as an allegory of homosexuality: dwarf females are treated in much the same way as gay humans, and are just as indistinguishable from others of their species. This is an excellent example of how Pratchett can satirise conventions of fantasy and the behaviour of society through juxtaposing one with the other.

The Discworld can be seen as a parodic reversal of Middle Earth: Pratchett reinterprets Tolkien's fantasy landscape by attaching it to the "real" world. In this way, he enables himself to satirise both worlds simultaneously: human society is often criticised through its transposition to the Discworld, while the tradition of Tolkien is ridiculed by indicating its weaknesses and undermining the suspension of disbelief.

In the previous chapter, it was indicated that many of the organised groups that populate Ankh-Morpork exist as parodies of human credulity and Western civilisation. The Ankh-Morpork City Watch, by contrast, are seldom used in a satirical vein, although they are often used to provide pastiches of various forms of detective fiction from novels by Arthur Conan Doyle to TV programmes such as Dragnet and films like Beverley Hills Cop. When Captain Vimes is first encountered in Guards! Guards!, the setting evokes that of 1920s detective fiction, where the gumshoe traditionally has a flickering neon sign outside his office window:

"some hopeful owner of the tavern next door had paid a wizard a considerable sum of money for an illuminated sign, every letter a different colour. Now it worked erratically and sometimes short-circuited in the damp. At the moment the E was a garish pink and flashed on and off at random."(65)

In Pratchett's novels, pastiches such as this serve to place the novel within a certain genre: in the case of the Watch, that genre is detective fiction. It is by working within genres whilst inverting them to satirical ends, as he does with the genre of fantasy throughout the range of books, that Pratchett's talent as a parodist is showcased. In this sense, it is debatable whether the Watch novels can be described as parodic. Although each of them contains as many minor pastiches and references to other texts as any other Discworld novel, there is very little subversion of the original genre in the structure of the texts. Men At Arms, in particular, appears to be a straightforward detective story: the elements of the mystery (a strange theft, an unexplained murder) are set up at the start, and Captain Vimes and Corporal Carrot solve the puzzle over the course of the text. It is perhaps the least humour-oriented of the Discworld novels, and succeeds as a detective story despite its fantastical setting - just as Umberto Eco transposed contemporary detective fiction to a medieval setting in The Name Of The Rose, so Terry Pratchett situates it in Ankh-Morpork.

Pratchett does not, however, completely abandon parody in Men At Arms: it is in the background against which the story takes place that the satirical impulse manifests itself. In this case, Pratchett satirises racial tension and the relationship of the police to ethnic minorities in inner-city areas. The murder of a dwarf stirs up ill-feeling between the dwarfs and the trolls, which is heightened when a troll is wrongfully arrested:

"'He's got a motive,' said Nobby.


'Yes. Hammerhock was a dwarf.'

'That's not a motive.'

'It is for a troll. Anyway, if he didn't do that, he probably did something. There's plenty of evidence against him.'

'Like what?' said Angua.

'He's a troll.'"(66)

Pratchett's agenda for this section of the book is revealed in an earlier passage: "So many crimes are solved by a happy accident - by the random stopping of a car, by an overheard remark, by someone of the right nationality happening to be within five miles of the scene of the crime without an alibi..." [161]. This is an effective satire on racial prejudice, and forms part of the parodic background upon which the tissue of pastiches are laid throughout the Discworld range.

The status of the Discworld as a parodic creation is inherent in its physical appearance. Pratchett's reasons for creating the Discworld in the way he does are hinted at in Interesting Times:

"This is the Discworld, which goes through space on the back of a giant turtle.

Most worlds do, at some time in their perception. It's a cosmological view the human brain seems pre-programmed to take."(67)

The idea of a flat world lying on the back of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a turtle is, in fact, an ancient theory about our own world, which Pratchett has borrowed and interpreted literally for his Discworld. (In an earlier novel, Strata, he also writes about this "racial myth."(68)) As a concept, it serves as an illustration of one of Pratchett's key satirical points about the human race - its gullibility and willingness to accept the inconceivable, as exemplified on the Discworld by the system of Guilds in Ankh-Morpork.

The superficiality of many of the countless intertextual references in the Discworld novels, especially in books like Soul Music and Moving Pictures, makes them appear to be works of pastiche on the shallowest level. The structure and themes of the range, however, are also constructed from references to items from the infinite text, as all writing must be in a postmodern world. These references are subject to parodic inversion, and Pratchett's treatment of a regular target such as Tolkien is a perfect example of "repetition with critical distance that allows ironic signalling of difference at the very heart of similarity."(69) Whatever might appear to be true of any individual Discworld novel, the concepts upon which each of them are constructed suggest that the range as a whole is an extremely complex work of postmodern parody.


The aim of parody, as it has been defined in this dissertation, is to exercise ironic difference in its repetition in order to communicate a certain satirical, moral or other such expository point. In the case of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, there are two central expository intentions to his parodic writing. The first of these is to cast the tradition of fantasy fiction in a new light, bringing its unrealistic conventions to the reader's attention and highlighting the absence of any recognisable common sense in many of its situations. As the Discworld novels themselves are works of fantasy, Pratchett is criticising the genre from within, and this is a characteristic of both postmodernism and parody in general: in Linda Hutcheon's words, "Complicity always attends its critique."(70)

Secondly, Pratchett is parodying attributes of our own lives, any aspects of which are, in postmodern terms, textual discourses. The success of Pratchett's parody is suggested by critical appreciation of his work: one critic wrote that "He leaves you thinking that not only has he accurately reflected our world but that the world would be a better place if it could somehow reflect his."(71) This implies that the Discworld is an accurate imitation of our own world, but one which interprets it in order to criticise.

The secret of Pratchett's successful parody lies in his juxtaposing of elements of our own world with his own fantasy landscape: in Eric, for example, the demons in Hell get along well with their victims until their new leader, Astfgl, imposes a rigid bureaucracy which eventually motivates the other lords of Hell to rise against him ("No more policy statements, no more consultative documents, no more morale-boosting messages to all staff. This was Hell, but you had to draw the line somewhere."(72)) The effect of this juxtaposition is to bring attention to both elements (human and fantastic) and undermine the grand narratives inherent in them.

Pratchett's texts are essentially works of parody, and they exist firmly within the infinite text. The Discworld novels are aware of intertextuality (as evidenced by the parody of the concept inherent in L-Space) and are also intertextual in themselves: while the range as a whole is built on references to Tolkien and other fantasy writers, as well as to conventions of our own (textual) reality, other texts from Shakespearean plays to Looney Tunes cartoons are continually cited within individual books. Many of the novels contain straightforward and, apparently, non-parodic narratives: Men At Arms and Feet Of Clay are detective stories transported to a fantasy landscape, while one strand of Reaper Man observes the moving story of Death as he tries to make a home for himself as a mortal. These narratives, however, take place within the indisputably parodic background of the Discworld: the characters and situations constantly add to the overall parodic effect, even as their own stories are being told.

A postmodern parody of humankind such as that written by Pratchett does not have to be condemning the entire species in a misanthropic manner. On the contrary, in the article Let There Be Dragons, Pratchett reveals his attitude towards his satirical targets:

"As a species, we are forever sticking our fingers into the electric socket of the universe to see what will happen next. It is a trait that will either save us or kill us, but it is what makes us human beings. I would rather be in the company of people who look at Mars than people who contemplate humanity's navel--other worlds are better than fluff."(73)

A Discworld character such as Captain Vimes might not understand the metaphors in this depiction of humanity (only the wizard Ponder Stibbons has much of a concept of electricity, and he has trouble finding enough balloons to rub) but he would certainly empathise with the sentiment. The gullible, stupid, sometimes criminal but usually essentially innocent inhabitants of the Discworld are the inhabitants of our own world, from a postmodern parodic point of view. In Hogfather, Pratchett (through Death) sums up both his interpretation of humanity and his defence of the genre he parodies from within:

"humans need fantasy to be human. to be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape."(74)


Primary Sources

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(1)Terry Pratchett, Hogfather (London: Corgi, 1997), p.12

(2)Terry Pratchett, The Colour Of Magic (London: Corgi, 1985), p.7

(3)Jean Baudrillard, "From The Orders Of Simulacra", in Postmodernism: A Reader, ed. Patricia Waugh (London: Edward Arnold, 1992), p.186

(4)Terry Pratchett, "Let There Be Dragons", The Bookseller, 11 June 1993, p.61

(5)Pratchett, Colour Of Magic, p.215

(6)Madan Sarup, An Introductory Guide To Poststructuralism and Postmodernism (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester heatsheaf, 1993), p.164

(7)Jean Baudrillard, "Simulacra and Simulations" in Selected Writings ed. Mark Poster (Polity/Stanford University Press, 1988), p.166

(8)Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures (London: Corgi, 1991), p.291-4

(9)Sarup, An Introductory Guide, p.164

(10)Terry Pratchett, Men At Arms (London: Corgi, 1994), p.221

(11)Baudrillard "from The Orders Of Simulacra", p.188

(12)Sarup, An Introductory Guide , p.132

(13)Ferdinand de Saussure, "Nature Of The Linguistic Sign" in Course In General Linguistics ed. Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye with the collaboration of Albert Riedlinger, trans. Roy Harris (London: Duckworth, 1983)

(14)Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters (London: Corgi, 1989), p.213-4 (15)Terry Pratchett, Feet Of Clay (London: Corgi, 1997), p.137

(16)Terry Pratchett, Pyramids (London: Corgi, 1990), p.100

(17)Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report On Knowledge, trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984), p.37

(18)Pratchett, Hogfather, p.422-3

(19)Michel Foucault, "The Order Of Things" in Literary Theory: An Anthology ed. Julie Rivkins and Michael Ryan (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998)

(20)Sarup, An Introductory Guide , p.36

(21)Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards! (London: Corgi, 1990), p.107-8

(22)Pratchett, Hogfather, p.290

(23)Linda Hutcheon, A Poetics Of Postmodernism (NY and London: Routledge, 1988), p.129

(24)Terry Pratchett, Small Gods (London: Corgi, 1993), p.7

(25)Terry Pratchett, Mort (London: Corgi, 1988), p.56

(26)Hutcheon, Poetics, p.128

(27)Roland Barthes, "The Death Of The Author" from The Rustle Of Language, trans. Richard Howard (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), p.52-3

(28)Terry Pratchett, Lords And Ladies (London: Corgi, 1993), p.55

(29)Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs, The Discworld Companion (London: Gollancz, 1994), p.147

(30)Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters, p.59

(31)Pratchett, Lords And Ladies, back cover

(32)William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, ed. R.A. Foakes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 2.II.60

(33)OED quoted in Linda Hutcheon, A Theory Of Parody: The Teachings Of Twentieth-Century Art Forms (London: ethuen & Co. Ltd, 1985), p.32

(34)Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters, p.213

(35)Fredric Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society" in Postmodern Culture ed. Hal Foster (London: Pluto, 1985), p.113

(36)Pratchett, Moving Pictures, p.300

(37)Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society", p.115

(38)Margaret A. Rose, Parody: Ancient, Modern and Post-modern (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p.72

(39)Hutcheon, Theory, p.32

(40)Linda Hutcheon, The Politics Of Postmodernism, (NY and London: Routledge, 1989), p.98

(41)Hutcheon, Theory, p.38

(42)Pratchett, Lords And Ladies, p.169

(43)Hutcheon, Politics, p.93

(44)Barthes, "Death Of The Author", p.52

(45)Hutcheon, Politics, p.98

(46)Hutcheon, Theory, p.43

(47)Rose, Parody: Ancient, Modern and Postmodern, p.81-2

(48)Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters, p.171

(49)Hutcheon, Poetics, p.34

(50)Jameson, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society", p.113

(51)Hutcheon, Poetics, p.27

(52)Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad (London: Corgi, 1992), p.59

(53)J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord Of The Rings Part One: The Fellowship Of The Ring (London: Unwin Hyman Ltd, 1974), p.499

(54)J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (London: Unwin, 1975), p.88

(55)The two authors also differ on spelling: Pratchett prefers "dwarfs" to Tolkien's "dwarves".

(56)Pratchett, Moving Pictures, p.71

(57)Tolkien, The Hobbit, p.49

(58)Pratchett, Moving Pictures, p.71

(59)Pratchett, Guards! Guards!, p.272-3

(60)Pratchett, The Colour Of Magic, p.141

(61)Tolkien, The Fellowship Of The Ring, p.324

(62)Pratchett, Guards! Guards!, p.316

(63)Pratchett, Witches Abroad, p.51

(64)Pratchett, Feet Of Clay, p.292

(65)Pratchett, Guards! Guards!, p.52

(66)Pratchett, Men At Arms, p.223

(67)Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times (London: Corgi, 1995), p.13

(68)Terry Pratchett, Strata (London: Corgi, 1988), p.58

(69)Hutcheon, Poetics, p.26

(70)Hutcheon, Politics, p.99

(71)Mark Thomas, Mail On Sunday, quoted in Pratchett, Men At Arms, p.3

(72)Terry Pratchett, Eric (London: Gollancz, 1990), p.118

(73)Pratchett, Let There Be Dragons, p.62

(74)Pratchett, Hogfather, p.422

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