8 thoughts on “Reading some Ursula Le Guin

    1. OK, what did I get wrong? I admit, my notes are scanty on the actual plot so I looked it up online. Is it not about Etruscan Italy? Though of course yes we know Italy as a state did not then exist.


      1. Well, I did wonder, but I thought that since my notes records ‘interesting meta stuff’, that Virgil could well have appeared in the novel as himself, as well as Aeneas, and I believed the review (I think it was in Tor on first publication).


      2. She meets Virgil, or at least the ghost of Virgil (I think from Dante’s era), in the meta strand of the novel, and talks to him about how he told her story. (He’s quite willing to admit to making mistakes, rather like Le Guin herself always being prepared to reconsider and re-examine her own work.) In the non-meta strand, she meets and marries Aeneas.


  1. I read The Left Hand of Darkness when I was a teenager and simply thought it was a beautifully written science fiction adventure. It is one of those novels I keep meaning to reread because now that I am a 60 year old manI feel I might grasp one of its basic concepts a little better. Le Guin postulated a society in which gender is fluid – anyone could become “male” or “female” during the mating cycle and then carry a child. The concept of woman as homemaker and child bearer and man as bread winner do not apply. On a more bureaucratic level, the issue of maternity leave becomes one which could affect anyone in society because anyone can have a baby. The prejudice, which I think still exists, that women are always taking time off to have babies, simply does not apply in a society where anyone can have a child. Or perhaps might exist in a different way. I think this is the novel where Le Guin began to question issues of gender identity which led to her revisiting Earthsea and addressing the gender imbalance.


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