Stuttering in Contemporary Literature

In 1976, Trotter and Silverman compiled a bibliography of 27 books which contained "all contemporary literary works which to our knowledge have characters who stutter." The bibliography was published as "The Stutterer as a Character in Contemporary Literature: A Bibliography" by William Trotter and Franklin Silverman, J of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 41:4, pp. 553-4

At the end of the article, Trotter and Silverman invited "if you know of other such works, we would appreciate receiving references to them." In keeping with their attitude of sharing and expanding on this information, their bibliography is reprinted below. If anyone knows of other contemporary literary works that have characters who stutter (with the exception of children's literature which is listed elsewhere), additional references will be inserted (and marked with *). Please send your suggestions. Being listed in this bibliography does not imply endorsement of the book or that the portrayal of the person who stutters is appropriate. Several are linked to the Amazon bookstore where they can be ordered if you wish. (JAK)


* Anthony, Piers, Wielding a Red Sword. (Del Ray 1986) (part of the Incarnations of Immortality series). WG shares that "The lead character is the one who stutters, he grows up a prince in the court of an Indian King and is basically an privileged outcast and disgrace to the royal family. Then one day he has an experience to become the incarnation of War and upon taking up the duties has to deal with his stutter learns to deal with it by using a singing voice as most people who stutter can sing fluently. All in all I thought it a rather positive depiction." (personal correspondence, Nov. 3, 2001).

* Barker, Par, Regeneration trilogy, composed of three novels (short review by L.L.O.)

* Bellow, Saul, Humboldt's Gift

Carroll, L., Greek Slave Boy. New York: Scholastic (1970)

Cary, J., The Horse's Mouth. New York: Harper and Brothers (1944)

Chesnoff, R.Z., Klein, E., and Littell, R., If Israel Lost the War. New York: Coward-McCann (1969)

* Chute, Carolyn, (October 1994) The Beans of Egypt, Maine Mass Market Paperback Reissue edition, (A collection of interrelated stories about an extended family in an impoverished area of Maine. One of the main characters, Beal Bean, is a stutterer).

Deighton, L., Bomber. New York: Harper and Row (1970)

* Douglas, John E. and Mark Olshaker, (1996) Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, Pocketbooks. This book includes information about the "Trailside Killer," David Joseph Carpener, a convicted serial killer who stutters.

* Ellroy, James, The Big Nowhere. Mysterious Press (paperback) (1989)

* Ellroy, James, Black Dahlia. Mysterious Press (paperback) (1988)

* Ellroy, James, L.A. Confidential. Mysterious Press (paperback) (1991).

* Evans, Nicholas, The Loop, Delacorte Pr, 1998, is set in Montana about a rancher determined to kill off some wolves, his young son who stutters and who secretly loves them, and a young woman biologist dedicated to preserving them as an endangered species.

*Evans, Penelope, (1998)Freezing, Soho Press, (an adult fiction book where the protangonist, a stuttering morgue photographer, become obsessed with a young, unidentified drowning victim who shows up in the morgue - from Lisa Grenier)

Feifer, G., Moscow Farewell. New York: Viking (1976) - currently out of print

*Francis, Dick Flying Finish has a character who stutters. Toby writes, "He is a minor character, an engineer who stutters. Unfortunately he gets killed off by the bad guys when the novel's almost done. His being killed has nothing whatsoever to do with stuttering though, he's just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The stuttering was well done and realistic."

Gallico P., The Boy Who Invented the Bubble Gun. New York: Dell (1974) - currently out of print

*Graves, Robert, I, Claudius, Vintage Books (1934)

* Harris, Mark, Speed, Paperback Warner Books, Reprint edition (1991)

Hayes, J., Like Any Other Fugitive. New York: Dial (1971)

Hopkins, J., Tangier Buzzless Flies. New York: Atheneum (1972) - currently out of print

* Hynes, James (1998 reprint) Publish and Perish, Picador USA. (One of the stories has a stuttering English professor).

Infante, G.C., Apocalypse in Wonderland. In Q. Troupe and R. Schulte (Eds.), Giant Talk. New York: Random House (1975) - currently out of print.

Jones, J., The Thin Red Line. New York: Charles Schribners' Sons (1962)

Kesey, K., One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. New York: Viking (1962)

* King, Stephen, (1997 reprint) It Mass Market Paperback Reissue edition (has a main character who stutters. The character's name is Bill Denborough and he is the leader of a group of people who as children, and again as adults challenge an evil entity).

Koonntz, D., After the Last Race. New York: Atheneum (1975) - currently out of print.

*Kress, Nancy, (1994 reprint)Beggars in Spain, Mass Market Paperbook, a scifi book. (has several chapters that involve a group of teenaged geniuses who stutter).

Lavagnino, A., The Lizards. New York: Harper and Row (1972) - currently out of print (Dave Williams reports the book "concerns Marzia, a stuttering girl growing up in Rome during World War II. The descriptions of her thoughts, feelings and stuttering behavior are poignant and sensitive, right on the mark.")

Lee, M., The Skating Rink. New York: Seabury (1969) - currently out of print

MacDonald, J.D., The Quick Red Fox. New York: Lippincott (1964)

MacDonald, R., The Ferguson Affair. New York: Knopf (1960) - currently out of print.

Matthews, J., The Charisma Campaigns, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1972) - currently out of print.

* Melville, Herman, Billy Budd, Pendulum Press (1979)

*Mishima, Yukio, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Vintage Books (1994). Short review of this book.

* Moody, Rick, Purple America Little Brown & Co (1998) (Paperback).

Moore, B., The Revolution Script. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston (1971) - currently out of print.

Pillitteri, J., Two Hours on Sunday. New York: Dial (1971)

* Pratchett, Terry Equal Rites Corgi Books Reviewed by Peter Knutsen on the stuttering in children's literature page. (can be ordered through this link if you want )

* Rogers, Henry, Walking the Tightrope: The Private Confessions of a Public Relations Man (1980) - (about a Hollywood publicist who stuttered) - out of print.

* Roth, Philip, American Pastoral, Houghton-Mifflin (1997), and a short review by Howard Bigman.

Sandulescu, J., and Gottlieb, A., The Carpathian Caper. New York: Putman (1975)

Semyonov, J., Petrovka 38. New York: Stein and Day (1965) - out of print

*Shames, George H., The Company of Truth Pittsburgh, PA: Towers Maguire Publishing (2006) information about the book

Sheldon, D., The Rainbow Man. New York: Doubleday (1975) - currently out of print.

Shields, David, Dead Languages, Reprint edition (1998), Graywolf (paperback)

Storey, D., The Contractor. New York: Random (1970) - currently out of print.

*Tillis, M., and Wager, W. (1984). Stutterin' Boy. New York: Rawson Associates.

Updike, J., A sense of shelter. In A. Mizener (Ed.), Modern Short Stories: The Uses of Imagination. (3rd ed.) New York: Norton (1971)

*Vonnegut, Kurt (1979), Jailbird Reissue edition (April 1992) Dell Pub Co, paperback. Short review of this book.

Warren, R.P., All the King's Men. New York: Harcourt Brace (1946)

Waugh, E., Brideshead Revisited. Boston: Little, Brown (1946)

*Witten, Ida E., The Face of All the World is Changed: An Autobiographical Study with the Focus on Stuttering, Privately Printed. Cincinnati, OH.; (1990).

Wouk, H., The Winds of War. Boston: Little, Brown (1971)

added February 23, 1997
last updated October 11, 2008