An Analysis of Intertextual Resonance in the Witch-sequence of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

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Bewitching Writing

An Analysis of Intertextual Resonance in the Witch-sequence of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

Aalborg University

November 2006

Written by:


Dorthe Andersen


Jørgen Riber Christensen

Total amount of keystrokes: 181492 = 75,6 normal pages


Introduction 6

Problem 9

Terry Pratchett 9

Choice of texts 11

Methodological approaches 12

Definitions 14

Intertextuality 16

Forms of transtextuality 19

Analysis 24

Off-stage 26

Titles 27

Equal Rites 27

Wyrd Sisters 27

Maskerade 29

Carpe Jugulum 29

Forms 30

Punctuation 31

Footnotes 33

Comments 37

The Stage and the Lines 38

The Discworld 39

The Opera House 42

Opera 43

Masques 44

Word games 45

The Cast 49

Names 49

Being a witch 52

The power of three 53

The feminine 55

Language Use 57

Forn languages 57

Speech in writing 59

The Function and Purpose of Transtextuality 61

Transtextual functions 63

Types of hypotexts 65

Texts 66

The formulaic 67

Human folly 68

Grand narratives 68

The Fantastic Pratchett 71

Fantasy 73

Pratchett and fantasy 75

Conclusion 77

Bibliography 83

Articles and books 85

Internet resources 86

Interviews 87

Correspondence 88

Appendix 89

1. Page 25 of Maskerade 91

2. Danish Summary 92


“Now, how did I start out? It was to have fun with some of the clichés. It was as simple as that.”

(Pratchett in Young 2005)

Reading has always been my drug of choice, and since I happened on the works of Terry Pratchett I have not looked back. My feelings on said occasion can best be likened to Mr Groatberger’s reaction upon reading Nanny Ogg’s Joye of Snacks:

“A word caught his eye. He read it, and his eye was dragged to the end of the sentence. Then he read to the end of the page, doubling back a few times because he hadn’t quite believed what he’d just read.” (Maskerade, 15)

Terry Pratchett’s writing is both complex and multi-layered. The storylines in the novels are themselves entertaining, yet beneath the surface various references to numerous other works throng. The books can be read by young and old alike, revealing different degrees of intricacy along the way. It is this jungle of multiple layers and meanings which caught my eye, and which I wish to investigate here. This web of hints, asides and references is called intertextuality. In fact Pratchett has provided a description of the concept:

“All books are tenuously connected through L-space and, therefore, the content of any book ever written or yet to be written may, in the right circumstances, be deduced from a sufficiently close study of books already in existence.” (The Last Continent, 23)

On the Discworld books, especially magical ones, lead separate, secret lives, making the library a place you enter at your own risk. However, beyond the surface of mere shelving lies the L-space: “All libraries everywhere are connected in L-space. All libraries. Everywhere.” (Guards! Guards!, 171). This is where all books are connected, and libraries interact. This study then, is going to be an expedition into the perilous realm of L-space, pursuing the links from Pratchett’s work to other texts, their functions and purposes.

Pratchett has stated that his reasons for writing originated in a wish to have fun with clichés, as the initial quote shows. As will become clear through the analysis, he employs both clichés, figures of speech and metaphors to good advantage in the stories. By rejuvenating the ways in which we regard these sometimes fixed images or myths, he manages to make his reader both laugh, cry (well, at least tears are involved) and reconsider previous assumptions about some of the thematic treads of the stories.

Terry Pratchett does not have a very high opinion of literary criticism, as evidenced in the Unseen University’s library:

“[The Librarian] waited patiently as a herd of Critters crawled past, grazing on the contents of the choicer books and leaving behind them small piles of slim volumes of literary criticism.” (Guards! Guards!, 191)

Perhaps this distaste is a result of experience, as his books, while widely popular among readers, have not received much critical acclaim in reviews and academia (Butler, James and Mendlesohn 2004:viii). This is the case for much fantasy writing, which has often been relegated to a secondary position within the world of literature. Recent years have seen a number of works on Pratchett, however, and it is to this body I dare make a contribution. Hopefully, the end result will provide evidence to the qualities and nuances of fantasy in general, and Pratchett in particular, so that I might be forgiven dragging the Discworld under the microscope of literary investigation.


The chief point of interest fuelling the investigations in this paper is intertextuality. However, that alone is an immense field and hence unmanageable. Therefore, the focus has been narrowed down to the point of interaction between the genre of fantasy and intertextuality. The fantastic, like any other genre, has its own characteristics and typical traits. I have chosen to look at a specific range of novels within the Discworld works of Terry Pratchett, a fantasy writer. His books utilize a lot of intertextuality, in different forms. The problem which this thesis seeks to solve, then, is this:

What form and function does intertextuality have in Terry Pratchett’s work, and can a set of categories be made? In what ways does his use of intertextuality conform to the fantastic genre?

Terry Pratchett

This thesis is dedicated to investigating the works of Terry Pratchett. Who is he? Before diving into the wondrous world of his writing, an introduction is in place. The small author-introductions given in the books are both annoyingly uninformative, and amusingly introductive to Pratchett’s universe. The discerning reader may, of course, sieve some facts from the text:

“Terry Pratchett was born in 1948 and is still not dead. He started work as a journalist one day in 1965 and saw his first corpse three hours later, work experience meaning something in those days.” (Maskerade, 1)

The information given here is correct, even as the tone introduces the playful atmosphere and attitude found in the Discworld. Terry Pratchett grew up in a small village in Buckinghamshire. He discovered fantasy and became a fan, inhaling magazines and books, and even attending several conventions. However, with an apprenticeship in journalism and life in general, he gave it up. Later, he got a job as a press secretary at a nuclear power plant (which he started right after the Three Mile Island incident in 1979) (Young 2005).

However, even with writing as a job he kept writing stories on the side. Writing has always been part of his life. “[Pratchet] says writing is the most fun anyone can have by themselves.” (Maskerade, 1). In fact he landed his very first publication at the tender age of 13 when he sold a story he had written as a class project.

“First story, first sale. I’ve always been a bit embarrassed about that. I’m sitting here on a stack of money in a big house so I can’t really complain that I did things wrong, but I sometimes wish I’d done more between then and 1982 than write a novel every five years.” (Pratchett in McCarty 2003)

Later, in 1971, his first novel was published. By 1983, when The Colour of Magic, his fourth novel, came out, he was able to become a full-time writer. This was the first Discworld novel, and to date the series has reached 30 volumes and is still counting. The novels constitute a series in as much as they take place in the same universe and are by the same author. However, it is not a typical series since the novels are not continuous instalments in a forth running narrative. Rather, they differ in terms of setting, cast and themes dealt with. At least as far as the early novels are concerned, they can generally be read in whichever order the reader manages to get hold of the books, whereas the later books tend to depend on the reader having some knowledge of previous occurrences. Viewed overall, a number of sub-series can be picked out, which deal with the same set of characters and are more or less chronological. Examples are the Watch-sequence, the Witch-sequence or that of the Wizards. Even this effort at categorisation is not complete, as some characters mix out of their sequence and so on. The only character to be met in every book is in fact Death (Butler 2001: 13).

Besides Discworld Pratchett has written some books for children and young adults, made forays into the arena of science fiction and collaborated on maps, guides, plays and other things. In truth a prolific writer.

According to Butler, in 2001 1% of all books sold in Britain were written by Terry Pratchett, as 10% of all sold books are fantasy, and Pratchett’s writings in turn made up 10% of those (Butler 2001:7). With the arrival of J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter on the field, the ranking has changed a bit, but nothing can change Pratchett’s popularity. The popularity pertains to his universe and unique writing style, which is characterised by humour and a playful approach to the accepted truths:

“[…] a lot of Discworld humor – in fact the basis of Discworld humor – is not ‘wacky thinking’ but entirely logical thinking.” (Pratchett in Metherell-Smith and Andrews 1999)

McCarty characterizes Pratchett as writing “[…] on the funside of fantasy.” (McCarty 2003). This may be true of the earlier novels, which largely explore specific genres or types. For example The Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic lean heavily on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, or aspects thereof. However, as time progressed and the volumes piled up, the Discworld became increasingly crowded, to the extent that it was difficult to simply invent new characters and places without encountering some of the old ones. So, the themes dealt with and the plots used got more complicated. Also, there has been a development in the later novels towards a more complex nature: “Well, not more complex. I would say darker. Like Carpe Jugulum was pretty damn dark. So was Jingo – I mean, people were dying.” (Pratchett in Metherell-Smith and Andrews 1999). I stand corrected. The novels have taken up issues of a darker nature, such as the border between right and wrong, and the presence of evil. It remains to be seen whether this is a permanent turn, or if it is simply a twist in the labyrinthine development of the Discworld in general. However, I would hazard the guess that we will see more of this side in the future.

Choice of texts

Terry Pratchett has written a large number of novels. Even restricting the investigation to those concerned with the Discworld would leave us with a staggering range of materials. Even though the object of this investigation, the form and function of intertextuality, is valid for all his works, it is necessary to focus on a few works. To that effect I have selected the Witch-sequence, which constitutes the six Discworld novels Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade and Carpe Jugulum. The reason has partly been to get a reasonable amount of text, which is connected and at the same time avoid leaving parts of the sequence out. For the purpose of the investigation these six novels will suit as examples. Another time and space may hopefully allow a further investigation of these traits throughout the entire corpus.

However, for the purpose of the analysis performed here, even the six novels contain too much material. Since the analysis focuses on instances of intertextuality, the analysis will take up certain themes or issues, and leave the rest unattended. This is in some respects highly unsatisfactory, as there are innumerable avenues of interest and promise in the material. However, these reasons are the same which necessitates a tight focus. This is not the place nor the space for a broad analysis. For this reason, the analysis will chiefly look at Maskerade. Examples will be used from the other novels too, but not as extensively. This choice has been made in order to perform as much analysis as possible within one volume, in order to be able to draw conclusions and make links between the various sections in the analysis.

When quotes are made from the novels they will be referenced with title and page number alone.

The six novels chosen can be regarded as a microcosm of the entire Discworld series, in that they embody many of the features found throughout the series. In terms of the use and purpose of intertextuality, I moreover find that examples of the various uses can be found herein. In addition, the six novels exemplify the differences in the corpus across time, as they embody both the third and the twentythird volume. As Terry Pratchett continues to be a prolific writer, producing at lest one new volume each year, no doubt the future will bring new developments in both the Discworld and in its author’s use of intertextuality. However, once again, these prospects must be left up to future investigation.

Methodological approaches

In order to reach an answer to the problem outlined above, this paper will perform an analysis of six Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. Before that can be done, though, it is necessary to define the terms. The chapter Definitions gives an outline of research into the field of intertextuality and the various definitions of what it has been used to describe through time. This will be done using the works of Genette, Hutcheon and Allen among others. Following that, the chapter delves into the various forms intertextuality can take, and the functions and moods it can convey. This pertains to allusion, irony, satire, parody and pastiche, using Hutcheon, Dentith and Rose. These terms are then applied to the analysis performed in the next chapter; Analysis. This selects a number of avenues of interest, and performs an in-depth analysis of text examples from the corpus. The findings are identified in relation to the terms and definitions reached in the previous chapter. Chapter four; The Function and Purpose of Transtextuality, merges the findings from the analysis and orders them into a set of categories which details Pratchett’s use of intertextuality and its functions. Finally, chapter five; The Fantastic Pratchett, gives an outline of the fantastic genre, employing the works of Jackson, Tolkien, Todorov and Armitt. Pratchett’s use of intertextuality is then compared to the features of fantasy to see whether he conforms to the genre or re-creates it.

The analysis is based on novels, and hence the material is available in written form from most bookshops. However, times now are not what they were when Charles Dickens wrote. The internet has arrived, and changed everything in its wake. It provides a forum where people can meet and share hobbies, have conversations and make their specific knowledge available to most of the world. This is true of the subculture of fantasy as well. There are numerous websites devoted solely to Terry Pratchett, his writings, conventions, merchandise and every other possible issue you can imagine. A Google search on Terry Pratchett provided 3.470.000 hits! (24.10.2006). What is more, Terry Pratchett uses the internet to engage with his fans, interacting in newsgroups and making interviews. The internet is part of his body of work, and should not be left out of any analysis. I have therefore chosen to incorporate interviews and statements by Pratchett where they might shed light on parts of my analysis. Additionally, I have consulted web-based sites such as The Oxford English Dictionary and Wikipedia. The latter is special in that anyone may post or amend an entry. In this way, the material available is very varied, but also incredibly up to date, which has been useful in such a fast-moving field as Pratchett’s writings. In short, the internet and all that it contains cannot be excluded from a piece of work such as this. Making references to material from the internet makes for very long and ungainly intrusions in the text. I have valued ease of reading higher, and have therefore included the full references in the bibliography at the end. In the text proper I have used abbreviations, such as OED for The Oxford English Dictionary, and Wiki for Wikipedia, and have given a number for each reference which can be traced to the bibliography.


“I prefer the term ‘resonance’. [Smiles] Put Discworld people in, say, a movie-making setting and they’ll resonance with every Hollywood cliché that ever was.”

(Pratchett in Metherell-Smith and Andrews 1999)
As the quote makes clear, Pratchett is aware of the links between his own writing and elements outside of it. He terms it resonance, this echo of other sources, I have chosen to term it intertextuality. It is this very trait this thesis is investigating. Before making an investigation of the texts, it is necessary to delve into the field of intertextuality. What is it, what is it comprised of, how is it performed. As will become evident, intertextuality is not one single thing, but a huge web of interconnectedness, and it can come about in many ways, for many causes. The purpose of this section is to seek a definition of intertextuality, and to outline its relations with the textual methods of allusion, satire, parody and pastiche. These will then be employed in the analysis proper. Since the analysis will identify the different uses in text, it will also serve as illustration. This section, therefore, does not illustrate the definitions through quotes from the novels.


To define intertextuality is a difficult task. Among other things, this is due to its long history. As long as there have been stories, or texts in the broadest definition, there has been intertextuality. It is the interconnectedness of texts, the way in which they use each other and point to one another. To reach a definition, Plett has opposed the intertext to the text, which is a useful approach:

“A text may be regarded as an autonomous sign structure, delimited and coherent. Its boundaries are indicated by its beginning, middle and end, its coherence by the deliberately interrelated conjunction of its constituents. An intertext, on the other hand, is characterized by attributes that exceed it. It is not delimited, but de-limited, for its constituents refer to constituents of one or several other texts.” (Plett 1991:5)

The intertext can hence be defined as the text which can be derived from reading one text, and decoding its relationship to other texts. In this context it is also important to reach a definition of what constitutes a text. While this paper examines examples of literary texts, there are many other kinds. Hence, a text can also be an artwork or a cultural expression. This broad definition is necessary because the analysis performed later focuses on the six novels, but reaches towards the many other texts, literary, cultural or other, imbedded therein.

The study of intertextuality is broad, and ranges across many foci and definitions. In the spirit of postmodernism it is prudent to acknowledge that the purposes and viewpoints of the differing authors have had an impact on their methods, materials and results. This fact is valuable in the quest towards a definition and categorisation of intertextual relationships. As will become evident, such is largely dependant on the material used, and the approach taken.

Genette has outlined a terminology to describe intertextuality. One of the terms he has coined is the architext, which he describes as: “[…] the entire set of general or transcendent categories […] from which emerges each singular text.” (Genette 1997:1). The existence of such an entity; a system from which all texts spring, renders his work identifiably structuralistic (Allen 2000:96). However, Allen allows that Genette does not seek to identify the stable system of literature, but merely investigates the links in the architextual network. In fact, Allen cites Genette as having described his own poetics as open structuralism (Allen 2000:100). It is thus clear that Genette’s chief interest lies in investigating the relations between texts. What is more, he looks only on texts in a very literal sense, as works of literature. As stated above, the term text refers to a much wider range of works in this paper. Even so, I find Genette’s typology useful as a reference, and I shall therefore employ it, if to a broader variety of materials. Gennette’s extensive research focuses on identifying the ways in which references are formed, structurally. While his definitions and characterisations are very thorough and in-depth, the very focus on the structure also renders them slightly askew in relation to the focus of this investigation. This paper also seeks to identify instances of references between texts, yet it is not the structure but rather the purpose behind the intertextual relationship which is of interest. Thus, while Genette’s definitions and work with intertextuality are useful for the upcoming analysis, they cannot stand alone as references. Therefore, theories of parody will be a useful supplement, outlined in the following section.

Plett’s work is based upon quotations and their contexts within the text. While this paper is going to investigate another kind of textual relationship, his findings are of interest to the levels within the text. He identifies an intertextual identity, where the segment inserted in the text equals that of the sourcetext, and intertextual deviance where the two are not identical (Plett 1991:9). This leads him to identify two levels within the text – the surface structure and the deep structure. Plett’s point of departure is the structure and system of the text itself. Therefore, the surface level concerns itself solely with the syntactic part of the text. The second level, however, of the deep structure, is concerned with what lies implied within the text, what the reader may deduce from it (Plett 1991:10). As is the case with Genette, Plett’s interest is in the structural workings of the textual relationships. Because the focus of this paper is different, only one aspect of the two levels is of interest. The analysis in this paper will not be concerned with the surface level of the text, but rather focus on the deep structures of meaning.

In his poetics Genette supercedes the term intertextuality, instead using transtextuality. This is his term for “[…] the textual transcendence of the text, which I have already roughly defined as ‘all that sets the text in a relationship, whether obvious or concealed, with other texts.’” (Genette 1997:1). He does so to escape the multitudes of uses and definitions already heaped on the word intertextuality. Genette relegates the term intertextuality to define one out of five types of transtextual relationship, namely that in which there is a co-presence between two texts, such as quoting. Thus he places it at the outset of the investigation of such relationships, with Kristeva. For the sake of ease of use, and to avoid confusion, it is necessary to establish a unitary nomenclature for the analysis. While I do not agree with all of Genette’s reasons, I sympathise with his wish to avoid the confusion of too many meanings attached to the word intertextuality. Therefore, transtextuality will henceforth be used to refer to the broadest definition of the relationships between texts.

The five types of transtextual relationships are not separate entities, but often overlap. Given Genette’s broad definition of what transtextuality can be, they are not all of interest to this paper, as the analysis performed later will have a narrow focus on the six novels and the references imbedded in their texts. The five types, as listed below, become increasingly abstract (Genette 1997:1-5):

  • Intertextuality – co-presence between texts, such as for instance quoting.

  • Paratextual – that which binds the text to its paratext

  • Metatextuality – speaks of a text without necessarily citing it, it is a commentary.

  • Hypertextuality – see below

  • Architextuality – something concerning the genre or category from which the text occurs.

The hypertextual relationship is the most important to this paper, as it is the one which will be encountered in the analysis. Genette defines it thus:

“By hypertextuality I mean any relationship uniting a text B (which I shall call the hypertext) to an earlier text A (I shall, of course, call it the hypotext) upon which it is grafted in a manner that is not that of commentary.” (Genette 1997:5)

The word grafted has been chosen carefully, as the hypertextual relationship involves transformation of the text. This can occur either in a simple form or in a more complex manner, entailing imitation of the hypotext. Very simply put the simple form; transformation, involves telling the same story in a different way, whereas the complex form; imitation, requires a generic understanding of the text, since it should tell a different story in the same manner (Genette 1997:6). It is precisely the manner in which the hypertextuality is grafted, which is the focus of the analysis below.

The relationship in existence between texts can at this point be identified as transtextuality; that which this paper seeks to investigate. However, one aspect to consider is the manner in which it occurs. Hutcheon argues that when discussing texts, stealing is an absurd term. This is the case because the transtextual relationship is not something engendered by the author in writing the text, but only occurs when the reader is involved in reading the text (Hutcheon 1989:231). This is, to some extent, at odds with Genette’s view on the matter. He does not contend the importance of the reader. However, he does not want to accord the reader such an amount of power. Otherwise, any and every text would be in a hypertextual relationship. Instead, he places the reader in this situation:

“I view the relationship between the text and its reader as one that is more socialized, more openly contractual, and pertaining to a conscious and organized pragmatics.” (Genette 1997:9)

In this matter I find myself in disagreement with Genette. Certainly, the writer is instrumental in relating texts to one another, placing clues if you will. However, no transtextuality can occur unless the reader is able to identify and elaborate on it. In this I concur with Allen’s critique of Genette’s division of the reading process as either pertaining to the story itself or its transtextuality (Allen 2000:114). Furthermore, the reader, in bringing his or her own experience to bear on the story, is key to unlocking it and bringing it alive. Without the reader, no text, and certainly no transtextuality. It is in the interaction between the reader and the text the transtextuality occurs, being it what the writer expected or more.

Hutcheon argues that authorial intent is only ever relevant to the text and its transtextual nature when it comes to intent – such as in what form the transtextual relationship takes, or in the genre it represents. This brings us to the different forms which can occur once transtextuality is invoked.

Forms of transtextuality

So far we have reached an understanding of what transtextuality is. However, this is only halfway through the job of reaching a definition. For there are many ways in which the transtextual relationship can manifest itself. Terms such as allusion, irony, satire, parody and pastiche all belong within the framework of transtextuality. But what are their relationships and how can we differentiate them? Many writers have essayed this walk before me, and they have reached different results. The definitions given in the Oxford English Dictionary exemplify the difficulties of this task. The various concepts are defined, not in relation to each other, but through each other: Pastiche is something which parodies. A parody is something which satirizes, and satire employs irony! (OED 3-6) Some, such as Hutcheon, view parody as the all-encompassing definition, of which the others are but aspects. Some view satire as a distinct form, others as a purpose to which parody can be put (Rose 1993:5). Similarly, allusion can function as a substitute for transtextuality, encompassing all forms of reference (Abbott 2002:3). I have chosen to view them all individually, in so far as that is possible. This means that I have chosen to focus on the function of the various forms rather than their structural implications alone. This section will look at these concepts and define them and their uses, alone and in relation to each other.

Genette regards satire as a mode (Genette 1997:28). It is a purpose, a function, which is constructed through the use of certain tools. To define satire:

Satire a mode of writing that exposes the failings of individuals, institutions, or societies to ridicule and scorn.” (Baldick 1996:198)

Where comedy has laughter as its goal, satire evokes laughter as a weapon, pointed against something outside of the work itself (Abrams 1993:187). While satire uses texts as references, it can point at something outside of the texts. It is thus, in Hutcheon’s term, extramural, whereas parody is intramural, focusing on the text (Hutcheon 2000:43). Satire constitutes both a genre in itself, where the entire work is devoted to the organising principle of ridicule, and functions as an element in much other writing. Satire can be divided into two kinds; the formal and the indirect. Formal satire is when the satiric voice (the ‘I’) speaks directly to the reader or to an adversarius within the work. The indirect form of satire is when the characters render themselves ridiculous through their utterances or actions (Abrams 1993:188).

A tool to be used, for instance to achieve satire, is irony:

Irony a subtly humorous perception of inconsistency, in which an apparently straightforward statement or event is undermined by its context so as to give it a very different significance.” (Baldick 1996:114)

Irony, too, can be divided into two different forms; verbal and structural. Verbal irony is when an evaluation or expression is belied by the speech situation which shows that the speaker means something very different, or the opposite, of what has been said. One way of creating verbal irony is the ironic reversal, in which the speaker explicitly says one thing, but clearly means the opposite (Abrams 1993:97). Structural irony depends on the inclusion in the work of a character or other element which can sustain the differences in meaning (Abrams 1993:98). It is worth noticing that the two forms differ in the anchorage of the duplicity of meaning. With verbal irony the duplicity is placed at the head of the speaker in the work, shared by the reader. Structural irony, on the other hand, entails a knowledge shared by the author and reader, but of which the speaker is unaware (Abrams 1993:98). The use of irony in a literary work is in a way a compliment to the reader, as Abrams claims (Abrams 1993:98), because the reader is in that way included into a minority with access to this level of meaning, to which not everyone might be prior – or which the few might be able to deduce.

Allusion can serve a similar purpose. Allusion is one of the ways in which references can be established between texts, whether literary or others, or indeed from the world outside of textuality (Perri 1978:295). It can be defined thus:

allusion, an indirect or passing reference to some event, person, place or artistic work, the nature and relevance of which is not explained by the writer but relies on the reader’s familiarity with what is thus mentioned.” (Baldick 1990:6)

This definition is rather wide. Allen views allusion as the way in which transtextuality is achieved, as the reference between texts (Allen 2000:6). This approach is adopted by Abbott in his work on Pratchett. However, I find such an unspecific use of the term to be in ignorance of what allusion can be and signifies. Indeed, using the allusion can be a purpose in itself, establishing secondary levels of meaning in the text. Like irony, successful allusion relies on the reader being able to decode it, recognising the reference to something outside of the text. However, the allusion can also be used to achieve something else. An allusion can have an ironic purpose if the subject and the referent do not correspond (Abrams 1993:8) and Hutcheon claims that parody can be viewed as a form of ironic allusion (Hutcheon 2000:95).

We are now going to focus on finding a definition of parody, a term which has been used to cover a great variation of things through time. The difficulty seems to lie in how inclusive the definition should be. Indeed Müller makes this claim: “[…] intertextuality is a decisive – if not the ultimate – characteristic of parody.” (Müller 1997:8).

Where Genette employs a very narrow definition of what constitutes parody, Hutcheon operates with a wider range. In fact, an argument against her is that she would sometimes “[…] fare better by employing the term intertextuality rather than continue to reshape and redirect notions of parody.” (Allen 2000:190). Perhaps this wider scope in her use of the term can be traced to her etymological endeavours. Like most others, she traces the root of the word back to the Greek ‘parodia’. However, she claims that ‘para’ can mean two different things: ‘counter’ or ‘besides’ (Hutcheon 2000:32). If one follows this line of interpretation a whole new field opens, one where the parodic needs not necessarily rest in an opposition, but may exist side by side with the hypotext. As she puts it: “[…] there is a suggestion of an accord or intimacy instead of a contrast.” (Hutcheon 2000:32). Therefore, she claims that parody needs not necessarily entail ridicule, but merely repetition with difference. In this she takes the same stance as Dentith. I find this an enchanting thought. However, others, such as Rose, disagree. She has established her definition of the term through etymology and accounts of ancient usage. She finds that parody is characterised by a comic discrepancy between the hypo- and hypertext (Rose 1993:32). While it is laudable to take the long history of usage into account, I find that it is more relevant to focus on the current use. Therefore, I will not regard the comic or ludic as a necessity in parody. However, I find that some edge is necessary in order to differentiate between simple repetition and parody. This is accorded for in Hutcheon’s works if one looks into the difference she entails in her definition. This difference or distance is signalled through the use of irony (Hutcheon 2000:32), one form of which is the ironic reversal mentioned above (Hutcheon 2000:6). As Plett, mentioned in the previous section, identified two levels in intertextuality (now transtextuality), Hutcheon mentions two levels of meaning in parody. So does Rose, who claims it leads to comedy, whereas for Hutcheon it is achieved through ironic distance from the subject. Only in recognising the second level of meaning is the parody achieved (Hutcheon 2000:34).

Another instance of irony in parody is what Hutcheon terms ironic representation, namely that parody simultaneously legitimises and subverts or deconstructs that which it parodies (Hutcheon 1991:230). This is similar to what Dentith names the parodic paradox, which is to say that parody inevitably preserves that which it attacks (Dentith 2000:36).

Dentith has formed his definition of parody partly on Genette’s work. However, it has been tempered by incorporating aspects of the works of Rose, Phiddian and Hutcheon. His definition is as follows:

“Parody includes any cultural practice which provides a relatively polemical allusive imitation of another cultural production or practice.” (Dentith 2000:9)

The catch in the definition is the phrase ‘relatively polemical’. Based on her analysis Hutcheon concludes that parody should not be defined based on its polemical relation to the hypotext. Dentith argues that such is due to her material, since such does not occur there. Instead, he moves to adapt his definition. Polemical can be directed whichever way you wish, be it at the hypotext or at something outside of the textual relationship, situated in the society or culture (Dentith 2000:17). This is a very nice definition, in as much as it is inclusive enough to allow almost anything to pass within. However, for the purpose of this paper it is too wide. While I do not agree with Genette’s tight definitions, this is too far in the other direction. Both satire and pastiche would fall under its sway. Thus, a middle ground needs to be constructed. Pastiche, a form as yet left out, can be defined thus:

Pastiche […], a literary work composed from elements borrowed either from various other writers or from a particular earlier author.” (Baldick 1996:162)

Hutcheon further adds that pastiche has a similarity and correspondence to its model, whereas parody seeks to differentiate (Hutceon 2000:38). Perhaps the best way to differentiate between the two is by saying that pastiche intends flattery by its imitation (Baldick 1996:162).

In this manner we return to the matter of defining parody. I find that while I agree with parts of most of the arguments outlined above, none of the definitions quite agree with me. Instead, I will compile my own understanding of the term, which will serve as basis for the upcoming analysis:

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