Catherine Joule

PhD Student in English Literature

The Virtue of the Stereotypical Antagonist in Terry Pratchett’s ‘Witches’ Novels

Supervisors: Dr Geoff Miles & Prof Harry Ricketts


Allusion and social satire are essential components of Terry Pratchett’s novels, and both rely heavily on stereotype. The purpose of my thesis is to confront the literary use of stereotypes within the Discworld novels of Pratchett, taking the ‘witches’ novels as the central texts for investigation. I will be focusing in particular on the following novels: Equal Rites (1987), Wyrd Sisters (1988), Witches Abroad (1991), Lords and Ladies (1992), Maskerade (1995), and Carpe Jugulum (1998). My thesis will be advancing an innovative claim for the positive possibilities of literary stereotypes as I trace the complex link between Pratchett’s use of stereotypical antagonists and the development of an ethical schema within the texts. I will be making a significant contribution to the growing field of Pratchettian studies in providing a sustained argument intended to provide crucial insight into how readers access the ethical schema at the heart of each novel.


Catherine Joule is a current PhD student in the English Programme. Her postgraduate study reflects her interest in stereotypes and tropes within popular literature, ranging from disease imagery in Shakespeare’s plays to fairy tale stereotypes in Terry Pratchett’s novels. Other research interests include intertextuality, magical realism, and reader response theory.