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Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature (Foundation studies in science fiction) [Paperback]

Andrew M. Butler , Farah Mendlesohn , Edward James
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 1 May 2000 --  


Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Science Fiction Foundation (1 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0903007010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0903007016
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 14.6 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,484,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edward James is Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at University College Dublin, now living in London. About half of his books are indeed about medieval history; but he has also written and edited books about modern science fiction and fantasy. He is currently Chair of the Science Fiction Foundation. His next book is going to be about the American sf writer Lois McMaster Bujold; after that he is going back to writing about Gregory of Tours. For most of 2014 so far he has been contracting a website on Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers in the Great War: see http://fantastic-writers-and-the-great-war.com. For more information, and a full listing of all publications, go to his main web-page, http://edwardfjames.co.uk.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Escaping reality or expanding imagination? 30 May 2005
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
There are risks inherent in literary criticism. Is it justifiable to analyse a writer's work? Is there danger of "reading in" to what the author actually says? Can you derive an author's thoughts through assessment of the text[s]? What service does criticism provide the reader? Literary criticism has been compared to someone chewing on writing and leaving the residue in a nearby paddock - watch your step. That charge isn't valid in this collection on one of our most unique writers. Certainly, our most unique "fantasy" writer. It is the fantasy base that has allowed some critics to place Pratchett's work outside "mainstream" literature. This set of essays sets that displacement to rest as invalid.
Terry Pratchett has produced three dozen books on his Discworld theme, complemented by the Bromeliad and Johnny Maxwell series plus some "children's books". Anyone writing such a corpus without repeating himself has some special qualities. The authors of these essays examine those qualities and find them among the best of fantasy writing. Whether the theme is Comedy, Tragedy, Heroes and "Leaders" or the conditions of everyday urban life, the writers show how Pratchett eases reality into view. Everything he writes contains material valuable in understanding ourselves. Even his humour, say these authors, imparts views of reality we may both laugh at and reflect on. How many writers share that skill?
Some critics claim to know how an author thinks. Edward James' essay, in this anthology of fourteen, has the closest valid connection to Pratchett's thoughts. They exchanged letters when they attended different schools together. Many of Pratchett's early ideas were formulated in his teen years. Exploring some of those ideas resulted in "The Carpet People", a book Pratchett wrote twice.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guilty of Literature? Yes! 11 July 2003
Format:Paperback
Terry Pratchett deserves more critical attention, but he has three strikes against him -- he's popular, he's funny, and he writes fantasy. This collection is a welcome first step towards correcting this neglect. The essays are all quite good. As a librarian, I particularly enjoyed Andy Sawyer's "The Librarian and His Domain". Andrew Butler's essay on "Theories of Humour" places Pratchett squarely in the comedic tradition of Rabelais. John Clute and Cherith Balrdy provide background on the less-familiar children's books, which are harder to obtain here in the US. The other essays are uniformly solid and thought-provoking; my borrowed copy is full of post-it flags.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guilty as charged! 18 Jun 2010
By DWR
Format:Paperback
An excellent insight into the works and mind of one of our greatest living authors. Some may find some sections a bit academic - especially the chapter on forms of humour - but otherwise this gives excellent background to Sir Terry's works, showing how his style has developed over the years and looking in detail at his various works and characters.
Pratchett definitely produces literature, of a far higher quality than many modern novels. I have never had much time for academics and others who wish to pigeon hole different forms of writing and look down on those who they feel do not produce "real literature". Surprisingly many in the academic world still refuse to accept his works as literature despite the fact that he is the 2nd most read author in the UK and that he was knighted in 1998 for "services to literature".
The OED defines literature as "written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit." To still be a leading author, who has received awards and honours for his works, after more than 30 years in the business would seem to fit this very well.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 19 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback
As a long time fan of the Discworld series, this book was a brilliant journey through some of te aspects which make up the fantastic brilliance of Pratchett. A must read if you are interested in the literary intricacies of Discworld.
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