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Characters in Literary Fictions


Edited By Jadwiga Wegrodzka

The book focuses on the category of character in fiction. It provides a general outline of different approaches to literary character followed by nineteen essays on individual authors from Conrad to Coetzee, on various genres from utopia, fantasy and gothic fiction to academic novel, and on characters’ extra-textual contexts from intertextuality to history and autobiography.
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Terry Pratchett’s Lord Vetinari as a transtextual character



This study is devoted to the transtextual character of Lord Havelock Vetinari, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, from Terry Pratchett’s domain of the Discworld1. Rarely does it happen that a literary character, though not a protagonist, focuses the reader’s attention, and yet this is the case with the Pratchettian leader of the most recognisable Discworld city-state. Lord Vetinari’s importance in the novelistic series, partly due to the author’s crafty use of language and humour, invites questions about the functions of this outstanding character as well as his status in Pratchett’s oeuvre.

Lord Vetinari can be seen as an example of a transtextual character, since he appears in several Discworld novels2 and his individual identity persists from text to text (compare Richardson 2010: 527). Actually, he also appears in some TV and BBC Radio productions, e.g. Colour of Magic (2008) or Going Postal (2010), so that he can be also considered a transmedial character, but this issue, involving the problems of adaptation, is beyond the scope of this article. ← 211 | 212 →

It should be added that Lord Havelock Vetinari is by no means the only transtextual character to appear in Pratchett’s novels. The recurrence of characters seems to constitute an important unifying strategy in the series. Quite a few characters seem to play important roles in many books, for instance: Samuel Vimes, Carrot Ironfoundersson, Nobby Nobbs, Sgt Colon, the Monks of Time, Death (and the Death of Rats), Mustrum Ridcully, the Archchancellor...

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