Fantastic Fundamentalism: All Gods Great and Small. Fundamentalism, the Discworld and the Moon Kahani

Stähler, Axel (2012) Fantastic Fundamentalism: All Gods Great and Small. Fundamentalism, the Discworld and the Moon Kahani. In: Burning Books: Interaction and Negotiations of Fundamentalism and Literature. Ams Studies in Cultural History . AMS Press, New York, pp. 57-90. ISBN 9780404642600. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

Although habitually ignored by ‘serious’ scholars, Terry Pratchett’s enormously successful novels centred on the discworld floating on the back of a giant turtle through the multiverse do provide serious comment on a variety of aspects of past and contemporary culture and mediate, often satirically but thoughtfully, between concepts of high and popular culture. In several of his novels Pratchett engages explicitly with the phenomenon of fundamentalism, dissecting and explaining it and suggesting ways of confronting it – most directly in Small Gods (1992) which, it is suggested, is an early literary response to the so-called Rushdie affair (1989). This article analyses and discusse Pratchett’s literary negotiations of fundamentalism and their impact on popular culture. In addition, it explores the intrinsic challenge to any kind of fundamentalism inherent in the very conception of Pratchett’s multi(!)-verse and its un-Newtonian physics which, paradoxically, is based on popular notions of ‘the’ medieval world view and a number of creation myths as well as the literal interpretation of language and the world(s) created through language. It is argued that the tension between these frequently mutually exclusive elements, expanded through a host of intertextual and intermedial references, is not only a literary expression of cultural relativism but an imaginative and systematic attempt at writing back at fundamentalism.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: literature and fundamentalism fantasy Terry Pratchett Salman Rushdie
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PZ Childrens literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Comparative Literature
Depositing User: Axel Staehler
Date Deposited: 02 May 2013 09:03 UTC
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2013 15:43 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/33766 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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