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Le Guin, Ursula K. 1929-

Le Guin, Ursula K. 1929-

Personal

Surname pronounced "Luh-Gwin"; born October 21, 1929, in Berkeley, CA; daughter of Alfred L. (an anthropologist) and Theodora Covel Brown (a writer)

Kroeber; married Charles Alfred Le Guin (an historian), December 22, 1953; children: Elisabeth, Caroline, Theodore. Education: Radcliffe College, A.B., 1951; Columbia University, A.M., 1952.

Addresses

Office—P.O. Box 10541, Portland, OR 97296-0541. Agent—Virginia Kidd, P.O. Box 278, Milford, PA 18337.

Career

Writer. Emory University, Atlanta, GA, former department secretary; part-time instructor in French at Mercer University, Macon, GA, 1954-55, and University of Idaho, Moscow, 1956. Visiting lecturer and writer-in-residence at various locations, including Portland State University, University of California—San Diego, University of Reading (England), Kenyon College, Tulane University, and First Australian workshop in Speculative Fiction. Creative consultant for Public Broadcasting Service, for television production of The Lathe of Heaven, 1979.

Member

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Authors League of America, Writers Guild, PEN, Science Fiction Research Association, Science Fiction Writers Association, Science Fiction Poetry Association, Writers Guild West, Phi Beta Kappa.

Awards, Honors

National Fulbright fellowship, 1953; Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, 1968; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, Science Fiction Writers of America (now Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), 1969, for "Nine Lives"; Nebula Award, and Hugo Award, International Science Fiction Association, both for best novel, both 1970, for The Left Hand of Darkness; Nebula Award nomination, 1971, and Hugo Award nomination, and Locus Award, both 1973, all for The Lathe of Heaven; Newbery Silver Medal Award, and National Book Award finalist for Children's Literature, both 1972, both for The Tombs of Atuan; Nebula Award nomination for best novella, 1972, and Hugo Award, 1973, both for The Word for World Is Forest; National Book Award for Children's Books, 1973, for The Farthest Shore; Hugo Award for best short story, 1974, for "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"; American Library Association Best Young-Adult Books citation, 1974, and Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Jupiter Award for best novel, and Jules Verne Award, all 1975, all for The Dispossessed; Nebula Award, and Jupiter Award for best short story, both 1975, both for "The Day before the Revolution"; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, 1975, for "The New Atlantis"; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, and Jupiter Award, both 1976, both for "The Diary of the Rose"; Prix Lectures-Jeunesse, 1978, for Very Far Away from Anywhere Else; Gandalf Award (Grand Master of Fantasy), 1979; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, 1979, for "The Pathways of Desire"; Locus Award, 1984, for The Compass Rose; American Book Award nomination, 1985, and Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction, University of Rochester English Department and Writer's Workshop, 1986, both for Always Coming Home; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, 1988, for Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight, and 1990, for "The Shobies' Story"; Hugo Award for best novelette, 1988, and World Fantasy Award for best novella, World Fantasy Convention, 1988, both for Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight; Nebula Award for best novel, 1991, for Tehanu; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, 1994, and James Tiptree, Jr., Award, 1995, both for "The Matter of Seggri"; Nebula Award nomination for best novella, 1994, and Sturgeon Award, both for "Forgiveness Day"; Nebula Award for best novelette, 1996, for "Solitude"; Life Achievement Award, World Fantasy Convention, 1995; James Tiptree, Jr., Award, 1997, for "Mountain Ways"; Mythopoeic Fantasy Award finalist, World Fantasy Award in novel category, and Nebula Award nomination, all 2002, all for The Other Wind; Nebula Award Grand Master, 2002; PEN/Malamud Award for short fiction, 2002; Hugo Award nomination in best novelette category, and Locus Award, both 2003, both for "The Wild Girls"; Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement, Young Adult Library Services Association, 2004; named May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer, Association for Library Service to Children, 2004. Honorary degrees include: D.Litt., Bucknell University, 1978, and Lawrence University, 1979; D.H.L., Lewis and Clark College, 1983, and Occidental College, 1985.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Solomon Leviathan's Nine Hundred Thirty-first Trip around the World (originally published in Puffin's Pleasures; also see below), illustrated by Alicia Austin, Puffin Books (London, England), 1976, Cheap Street (New Castle, VA), 1983.

Leese Webster, illustrated by James Brunsman, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979.

Adventures in Kroy, Cheap Street (New Castle, VA), 1982.

The Adventures of Cobbler's Rune, illustrated by Alicia Austin, Cheap Street (New Castle, VA), 1983.

A Visit from Dr. Katz (picture book), illustrated by Ann Barrow, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.

Fire and Stone, illustrated by Laura Marshell, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1989.

Fish Soup (picture book), illustrated by Patrick Wynne, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1992.

A Ride on the Red Mare's Back (picture book), illustrated by Julie Downing, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1992.

Tom Mouse, illustrated by Julie Downing, Roaring Brook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

"EARTHSEA" NOVEL SERIES

A Wizard of Earthsea (also see below), illustrated by Ruth Robbins, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1968, reprinted, Bantam (New York, NY), 2004.

The Tombs of Atuan (also see below), illustrated by Gall Garraty, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1970.

The Farthest Shore (also see below), illustrated by Gall Garraty, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1972.

Earthsea (includes A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore), Gollancz (London, England), 1977, published as The Earthsea Trilogy, Penguin (London, England), 1979.

Tehanu, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.

Tales from Earthsea, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2001.

The Other Wind, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2001.

"CATWINGS" SERIES

Catwings, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1988.

Catwings Return, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1994.

Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1999.

NOVELS

Rocannon's World (bound with The Kar-Chee Reign by Avram Davidson; also see below), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1966.

Planet of Exile (bound with Mankind under the Lease by Thomas M. Disch; also see below), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1966.

City of Illusions (also see below), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1967.

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1969, with new afterword and appendixes by author, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1994.

The Lathe of Heaven, Scribner (New York, NY), 1971, reprinted, Perennial Classics (New York, NY), 2003.

The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, Harper (New York, NY), 1974, reprinted, Perennial Classics (New York, NY), 2003.

Very Far Away from Anywhere Else, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1976, published as A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else, Gollancz (London, England), 1976, reprinted under original title, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.

Three Hainish Novels (includes Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions; also see below), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978.

Malafrena, Putnam (New York, NY), 1979.

The Beginning Place, Harper (New York, NY), 1980, published as Threshold, Gollancz (London, England), 1980.

The Eye of the Heron, and Other Stories (includes novella originally published in collection Millennial Women; also see below), Harper (New York, NY), 1983.

The Visionary (bound with Wonders Hidden, by Scott R. Sanders), McGraw (New York, NY), 1984.

Always Coming Home (includes audio cassette), music by Todd Barton, illustrated by Margaret Chodos, Harper (New York, NY), 1985, published without cassette, Bantam (New York, NY), 1987.

Worlds of Exile and Illusion (includes Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions), Orb (New York, NY), 1996.

The Telling, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2000.

Lavinia, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2008.

"ANNALS OF THE WESTERN SHORE" NOVEL SERIES

Gifts, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.

Voices, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

Powers, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.

POETRY

Wild Angels, Capra (Santa Barbara, CA), 1974.

(With mother, Theodora K. Quinn) Tillai and Tylissos, Red Bull, 1979.

Torrey Pines Reserve (broadsheet), Lord John (Northridge, CA), 1980.

Hard Words and Other Poems, Harper (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Henk Pander) In the Red Zone, Lord John (Northridge, CA), 1983.

Wild Oats and Fireweed, Harper (New York, NY), 1988.

Blue Moon over Thurman Street, photographs by Roger Dorband, NewSage Press (Portland, OR), 1993.

Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight, illustrated by Susan Seddon Boulet, Pomegranate Artbooks (San Francisco, CA), 1994.

Going Out with Peacocks, and Other Poems, HarperPerennial (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Diana Bellessi) The Twins, The Dream: Two Voices/Las gemelas, el sueño: dos voces, Arte Público (Houston, TX), 1997.

Sixty Odd: New Poems, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 1999.

Incredible Good Fortune: New Poems, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 2006.

SHORT STORIES

The Wind's Twelve Quarters, Harper (New York, NY), 1975, reprinted, Perennial (New York, NY), 2004.

Orsinian Tales, Harper (New York, NY), 1976, reprinted, Perennial (New York, NY), 2004.

The Water Is Wide, Pendragon Press (Portland, OR), 1976.

The Compass Rose, Harper (New York, NY), 1982, reprinted, Perennial (New York, NY), 2005.

Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences (and poems), Capra (Santa Barbara, CA), 1987.

Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1991.

The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1993.

A Fisherman of the Inland Sea: Science-Fiction Stories, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1994.

Four Ways to Forgiveness, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1995.

Unlocking the Air: And Other Stories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.

The Birthday of the World, and Other Stories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

Changing Planes, illustrated by Eric Beddows, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2003.

EDITOR

Nebula Award Stories 11, Gollancz (London, England), 1976, Harper (New York, NY), 1977.

(With Virginia Kidd) Interfaces: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1980.

(With Virginia Kidd) Edges: Thirteen New Tales from the Borderlands of the Imagination, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1980.

(With Brian Attebery) The Norton Book of Science Fiction: North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990, Norton (New York, NY), 1993.

H.G. Wells, Selected Stories, Modern Library (New York, NY), 2004.

TRANSLATOR

(With J.P. Seaton) Lao Tzu: Tao The Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 1997.

Gabriela Mistral, Selected Poems, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2003.

Angelica Gorodischer, Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was, Small Beer Press (Northampton, MA), 2003.

OTHER

From Elfland to Poughkeepsie (lecture), Pendragon Press (Portland, OR), 1973.

Dreams Must Explain Themselves (critical essays), Algol Press (New York, NY), 1975.

The Word for World Is Forest (novella; originally published in Again, Dangerous Visions; also see below), Berkley (New York, NY), 1976.

The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Susan Wood, Putnam (New York, NY), 1978, revised edition, edited by Le Guin, Women's Press (London, England), 1989.

King Dog: A Screenplay (bound with Dostoevsky: A Screenplay, by Raymond Carver and Tess Gallagher), Capra (Santa Barbara, CA), 1985.

(With Todd Barton) Music and Poetry of the Kesh (cassette), Valley Productions, 1985.

(With David Bedford) Rigel Nine: An Audio Opera, Charisma, 1985.

Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places (essays), Grove (New York, NY), 1989.

The Way of the Waters Going: Images of the Northern California Coastal Range, photographs by Ernest Waugh and Alan Nicolson, Harper (New York, NY), 1989.

Myth and Archetype in Science Fiction, Pulphouse, 1991.

Talk about Writing, Pulphouse, 1991.

Earthsea Revisioned (lecture), Children's Literature New England (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

(Author of text) Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts (music sound recording), music by Elinor Armer, Koch International (Port Washington, NY), 1995.

Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator; or, The Mutinous Crew, Eighth Mountain Press (Portland, OR), 1998.

The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 2004.

Contributor to anthologies, including Orbit 5, 1969; Orbit 6, 1970; Best SF: 1969, 1970; World's Best Science Fiction, 1970; Those Who Can, 1970; Nebula Award Stories 5, 1970; Quark Number 1, 1970; The Dead Astronaut, 1971; New Dimensions I, 1972; Clarion II, 1972; Again, Dangerous Visions, Volume 1, 1972; The Best from Playboy, number 7, 1973; New Dimensions III, 1973; Clarion III, 1973; Universe 5, 1974; The Best from Galaxy, Volume 2, 1974, Volume 3, 1975; Dream Trips, 1974; Orbit 14, 1974; Epoch, 1975; Nebula Award Stories 10, 1975; The New Atlantis and Other Novellas of Science Fiction, 1975; The Thorny Paradise, 1975; Bitches and Sad Ladies, 1975; More Women of Wonder, 1976; The Best Science Fiction of the Year Number 5, 1976; Science Fiction at Large, 1976, 1977; Future Power, 1976; Puffin's Pleasure, 1976; Best Science-Fiction Stories of the Year, 1977; Psy Fi One, 1977; The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 1978; The Altered I: An Encounter with Science Fiction, 1978; Millennial Women, 1978; Cassandra Rising, 1978; and Dark Imaginings, 1978. Author of postcard short story, Post Card Partnership, 1975, and Sword & Sorcery Annual, 1975.

Contributor of short stories, novellas, essays, and reviews to periodicals, including Science Fiction Studies, Antaeus, Parabola, New Republic, Redbook, Playgirl, Playboy, New Yorker, Yale Review, and Omni. Recorded audioversions of books, including The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas and Other Stories and The Lathe of Heaven, Alternate World, 1976; Gwilan's Harp and Intracom, Caedmon, 1977; and The Left Hand of Darkness, Warner Audio.

Adaptations

The Lathe of Heaven was adapted by Diane English and Roger Swaybill into a film directed by Fred Barzyk and David R. Loxton and televised by Public Broadcasting Service, 1979. A new version, with screenplay by Alan Sharp and direction by Philip Haas, was produced by A&E Television Networks. The "Earthsea" books were adapted by Gavin Scott into a mini-series epic, produced by Hallmark Entertainment for Sci Fi Channel, 2004. The Tombs of Atuan was adapted as a filmstrip with record or audiocassette by Newbery Award Records, 1980; "The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas" was produced as a musical drama at Portland Civic Theatre, 1981. A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, and The Beginning Place were made into sound recordings, 1992.

Sidelights

Whether she writes within the genres of children's books, young-adult realism and fantasy, or adult science fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin is considered by many to be one of the most creative writers of her generation. She is best known for her fantasy fiction, particularly the acclaimed "Earthsea" books, but her science-fiction novels have also won Le Guin a wide following. Ac- cording to Brian Attebery, writing in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, "Le Guin's fiction is extraordinarily risky: it is full of hypotheses about morality, love, society, and ways of enriching life expressed in the symbolic language found in myth, dream, or poetry."

Le Guin was born in 1929, to Theodora and Alfred Kroeber. Her father was a professor of anthropology at the University of California and her mother was a writer. Le Guin once recalled that their summer house was "an old, tumble-down ranch in the Napa Valley … [and] a gathering place for scientists, writers, students, and California Indians. Even though I didn't pay much attention, I heard a lot of interesting, grown-up conversation." She also grew up hearing a variety of Native American tales from her father and reading a great deal of mythology; she particularly liked Norse myths.

Le Guin has three older brothers, but she views her upbringing as totally nonsexist because her parents expected the same of all their children. Her home was also nonreligious. As she once related, "There was no religious practice of any kind. There was also no feeling that any religion was better than another or worse; they just weren't part of our life. They were something other people did." Eventually, Le Guin developed a strong respect for Taoism, the Eastern religion of acceptance and change. The impact of the Taoist I Ching has influenced many of her books, and she published a translation of it, Lao Tzu: Tao The Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way, in 1997.

In addition to the I Ching, Le Guin's writing is informed by her feminism and her progressive views about social relationships. Although her early works focus mostly on male heroes, she eventually began portraying women in central, action-oriented roles. Her acclaimed novel The Left Hand of Darkness is set in a world where people have no fixed gender, but become male or female when they desire sexual activity. Other works find Le Guin dealing with issues of race—in The Lathe of Heaven she includes a romance between a white man and a black woman—and sexual preference. These aspects of her writing helped revolutionize science fiction, a genre characterized by Book writer Ellen Emry Heltzel as "a white, male enclave reflecting its original base of readers." In Heltzel's view, Le Guin "is sensitive to issues of race, class and gender and is among a generation of writers who have elevated the role of human feeling in the formerly hard-wired SF field."

As children, Le Guin and one of her brothers enjoyed Amazing Stories, a short-story magazine. She made her first short story submission to the magazine at age twelve, but the story was rejected. "It was all right with me," she once said. "It was junk. At least I had a real rejection slip to show for it." While Le Guin always thought of herself as a writer, after completing her bachelor's degree at Radcliffe, she decided to follow her father's advice and find a marketable career. She studied Romance languages with the intent of teaching and earned her master's degree from Columbia University. She was pursuing a doctorate in French and Italian renaissance literature when she met Charles Le Guin while traveling to France via the Queen Mary on a Fulbright fellowship. "We had a shipboard romance and, as the French have developed bureaucracy into a way of life, spent our first six months trying to marry," Le Guin recalled. After returning to the States, the couple moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where her husband taught at Emory University and Le Guin worked as a secretary and wrote. She spent the next several years balancing a part-time job, her writing, and her family, which came to include three children: Elisabeth, Caroline, and Theodore. The Le Guins eventually settled in Portland, Oregon.

During the 1950s, Le Guin wrote five novels, four of which were set in the imaginary country of Orsinia, but she was unable to find a publisher willing to take a risk on her unusual style. She finally turned to the science fiction/fantasy genre in order to get into print, and her first sale was a time-travel fantasy published in Fantastic Stories and Imagination magazine. For Le Guin, developing a science-fiction style took time, and she called her first published novels "fairy tales in space suits." Part of her "Hainish Cycle," these books branch off from a central idea: that humanity came from the planet Hain, which colonized several other planets and eventually became separated by a galactic war. The "Hainish Cycle" includes Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, City of Illusions, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, The Word for World Is Forest, and The Telling, as well as several short stories.

In the late 1960s, editor Herman Schein of Parnassus Press asked Le Guin to write a novel for eleven to seventeen year olds. The result was the fantasy A Wizard of Earthsea, which follows the adventures of the apprentice sorcerer Ged. Critics praised the novel both for its story and the complexity of Le Guin's created world, which consists of a chain of islands. Many reviewers compared Earthsea to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth and C.S. Lewis's Narnia. Reviewing the book for Horn Book, Eleanor Cameron wrote: "To me, it is as if Ursula Le Guin herself has lived on the Archipelago, minutely observing and noting down the habits and idiosyncrasies of the culture from island to island…. Nothing has escaped the notice of her imagination's seeking eye."

Le Guin followed A Wizard of Earthsea with The Tombs of Atuan, a darker novel set in the same world. Here the young priestess Tenar, Le Guin's her first major female character, discovers Ged wandering through sacred places forbidden to anyone but the priestesses and their eunuchs. Tenar's life changes through this meeting; Le Guin once described the story as "a feminine coming of age." The Farthest Shore finds Ged a mature wizard who now journeys with a young prince to the westernmost end of the world to discover why Earthsea is losing its magic. There, Ged meets his ultimate challenge. The Farthest Shore won the National Book Award for Children's Literature, and in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Andrew Gordon called it "a novel of epic scope."

Tehanu deals less with the magic of wizards than the importance of everyday life. In the novel, Tenar, now a farmer's widow, discovers a little girl who has been raped by her father and his friends and left to die. She adopts the child and is then joined by Ged, who arrives drained of power and strength. The three form an unlikely family as they battle an unexpected threat to Tenar's island home. "Tehanu is a book of great depth and subtlety … confronting and altering the bedrock values of the old high fantasy on which the first Earthsea books were based," observed Jill Paton Walsh in Twentieth-Century Young Adult Writers. "It rejects the male-gendered tales of heroism, and in their place builds on women's experiences as the benchmarks of virtue, courage, love. The damaged child is at the centre of the book, and the triumph over evil is hers." Describing Tehanu as "deceptively short, and written in a deceptively simple style," Robin McKinley asserted in a New York Times Book Review appraisal of the novel that, rather than extending her young-adult fantasy series, Le Guin's novel tells a sophisticated story that acknowledges "the necessary and life-giving contributions of female magic—sometimes disguised as domesticity."

Le Guin returns to the world of Earthsea with Tales from Earthsea, a short-story collection that includes a tale describing the origins of the magic school at which Ged studied, plus four other stories and a background essay on Earthsea. The collection "not only stands alone but also serves as an introduction to new readers," commented Jackie Cassada in her Library Journal review. Chris Barsanti praised Le Guin's tales in Book, describing the contents of Tales from Earthsea as "delightfully crafted mini epics."

In the closing volume of the "Earthsea" saga, The Other Wind, a sorcerer's longing for his deceased wife begins to erode the barrier between the living and the dead and also causes other disruptions in Earthsea. The Other Wind "will leave its readers wanting yet another," maintained Estes in a Booklist review of the much-anticipated series installment. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that, while in Tehanu "Le Guin rethought the traditional connection between gender and magic," in The Other Wind "she reconsiders the relationship between magic and something even more basic: life and death itself."

Salon.com contributor Faith L. Justice noted of the "Earthsea" novels that, while they appear to be "coming-of-age stories, … Le Guin's artful storytelling and complex underlying themes elevate the works beyond mundane fantasy and the young-adult audience

for which they are intended." As the series progresses, the characters learn "the need for balance—light/dark, male/female, action/inaction," Justice commented.

With her "Annals of the Western Shore"—Gifts, Voices, and Powers—Le Guin returns to the fantasy genre, creating what she described as "book-centered books" in an interview with Dennis Pilon for Canadian Dimensions. "How do the spoken and the written word interact? What is the importance of a library? … Now, on the verge of the material written word being hugely augmented and partly replaced by the more ephemeral electronic word, it seemed a good time to look back at what writing is, what the book has meant," Le Guin mused.

In Gifts readers follow the narrative of sixteen-year-old Orrec. The son of the master of Caspromant, a region of the Uplands, Orrec has inherited the ability to kill with one glance, and for this reason he chooses to wear a blindfold. When he and friend Gry befriend a runaway named Emmon, he explains that each of the five Upland families have unique talents such as his. Al- though Orrec believes that these gifts, when allowed to remain pure, sustain a balance among the families, he gradually begins to question this assumption. Calling Gifts a "provocative" work of fiction, a Publishers Weekly concluded that Le Guin's story "may well prompt teens to examine their own talents" and question "whether they simply accept those ‘gifts’ assigned to them by other or whether the ‘gifts’ are their true passions." In Kirkus Reviews a contributor hailed the novel as "a gripping tale about personal motivation, the consequences of choice and the corruption of power," while in Booklist Jennifer Mattson praised Gifts as "rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the ‘Earthsea’ novels classics."

Readers of the "Annals of the Western Shore" follow Orrec and Gry into Voices, and here they have traveled, as adults, to a conquered city where they meet seventeen-year-old Memer. Living with fear and hunger, Memer is given hope and insight by her new friends and ultimately comes to terms with her occupiers and her future by listening to Orrec's inspiring stories. In Powers, a slave named Gavir is raised alongside the children of a privileged medieval ruling family. Wise and possessed of a view into the future, he begins to question the traditions he has been taught to accept and adhere to when he confronts personal tragedy and the potential for evil among his fellow humans. Revealed in a prose that "flows as unstintingly as ever," Voices contains "themes of revenge, family legacies, personal mortality, and a humanistic magic redolent more of earthy mysteries than flashy sorcery," according to School Library Journal critic Matthew L. Moffett. Comparing Gavir to the hero of Voltaire's Candide, Claire Rosser noted in her Kliatt review of Powers that Le Guin's story inspires readers to consider "what freedom means in a person's life and in a society." Calling Powers "the series' best installment," Mattson added that, "told with shimmering lyricism, [Le Guin's] … coming-of-age saga will leave readers … transformed by the power of words." In Horn Book Joanna Rudge Long wrote that the novel "explores a rich complexity of hypothetical cultures that elicit new insights into our own."

Le Guin turns from fantasy to reality in Very Far Away from Anywhere Else, which describes the deepening relationship between two extremely talented but lonely, nonconformist teens. The relationship between Owen and Natalie is jeopardized when Owen makes sexual advances toward Natalie. The Beginning Place, written a few years later, mixes fantasy and reality in the story of two young adults who, at different times, discover a strange world on the borders of their dull suburb. In Lavinia, she turns to the past and casts a light on a minor character in Virgil's Aeneid: the second wife of Aeneas. The daughter of the king and queen of Latinum, Lavinia is given in marriage to Aeneas when he arrives from Troy. Her hand had formerly been promised to the king of a neighboring land, and with Lavinia's marriage jealousy provokes that king to war. Le Guin's refashioning of history in Lavinia is "as unique and strange as any fantasy," observed a Publishers Weekly, and in Booklist Margaret Flanagan deemed the novel "a winning combination of history and mythology" that will be "compulsively readable."

In addition to her novels, poems, and stories for older teens and adult readers, Le Guin has also produced children's storybooks and picture books. In Leese Webster she relates the story of a talented spider, while A Visit from Dr. Katz is a picture book showing how a sick little girl is amused by two kittens. The plot of Fire and Stone revolves around a dragon who eats stones instead of people, while in Fish Soup two adults have differing visions of the perfect child and each see their fantasies become reality.

Popular with young children, Catwings and its follow-up picture books Catwings Return, Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, and Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale, feature the adventures of several winged cats. In Catwings four flying cats—Harriet, James, Thelma, and Roger—escape city dangers to live in the country, where they are adopted by two children. In the New York Times Book Review, Crescent Dragonwagon wrote that Le Guin's "dialogue, humor, skill as a storyteller, and emo-

tional veracity combine near-flawlessly in a story that is both contemporary and timeless." The cats' "collective winged adventures, their looking after one another, and the understated charm of Ms. Le Guin's writing keeps us captivated," the critic added. In Jane on Her Own Jane travels to the city in search of new experiences, and when she is trapped by a man who wants to exploit the flying cat by putting her on television, Jane must find a way to escape. In Booklist Carolyn Phelan and Jack Helbig praised Le Guin's "consistently catlike point of view" in a story dealing with "loneliness, belonging, and freedom."

A Ride on the Red Mare's Back looks at the issue of responsibility. In it, a young girl learns that her little brother has been taken by trolls, and she goes out alone to rescue him, taking only a toy red horse, a warm scarf, knitting needles and yarn, and a bit of bread. Once the girl locates the boy in the trolls' castle, she finds that her brother has changed: he now wants to become a troll. "The boy's desire is an old one," Michael Dirda explained in a review for the Washington Post Book World: "Is it better to be a happy pig or an unhappy Socrates? Most of us don't get the chance to be quite either." Dirda concluded that A Ride on the Red Mare's Back "is indisputably suspenseful, thought-provoking, and beautifully illustrated."

Another picture book by Le Guin, Tom Mouse introduces readers to a mouse who wants to see the world. Bewhiskered Tom leaves his mouse family to travel across the country by train, and when a businesswoman takes up residence in the sleeping car Tom occupies, he hides from her. Gradually, however, the tiny young mouse realizes that his presence has been discovered and that the woman sees him as a friend. Tom Mouse was described as a "celebration of the open road and the kindness of strangers" by a contributor to Kirkus Reviews, and in Horn Book Susan P. Bloom concluded that Le Guin's "tale of comradeship between two otherwise lonely globetrotters has an inviting freshness in its quiet telling."

Throughout her career, critics have praised the variety, force, and depth of intelligence Le Guin brings to all her writing. "Hers is certainly one of the most powerful talents ever exercised in writing for the young," Walsh remarked. For Le Guin, young imaginations need to be nourished, and stories with elements of fantasy play an important part in creative development. "I believe that all the best faculties of a mature human being exist in the child," she told Gordon, "and that if these faculties are encouraged in youth they will act well and wisely in the adult."

Admitting that she began writing for younger readers "with great trepidation," Le Guin told School Library Journal interviewer Francisca Goldsmith that she finds young-adult audiences "to be the most wonderful readers and responders." She also addressed her responsibility to younger readers. "The words that I work in are the words of the story," Le Guin explained to Goldsmith. "I'm not a philosopher. I'm not a moralist…. My responsibility is to my art and to the people who perceive it, the readers. That's an aesthetic responsibility and if it's aesthetically right, then it will probably also be morally right. I'm saying what Keats said. I'm saying ‘Truth is beauty and beauty is truth.’ That's a very rash statement. But it goes so deep in me that I just can't get around it."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Children's Literature Review, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 3, 1978, Volume 28, 1992.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 8, 1978, Volume 13, 1980, Volume 22, 1982, Volume 45, 1987, Volume 71, 1992.

Contemporary Novelists, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 8: Twentieth-Century American Science Fiction Writers, Part 1, 1981, pp. 263-280, Volume 52: American Writers for Children since 1960: Fiction, 1986, pp. 233-241.

Haviland, Virginia, editor, The Openhearted Audience: Ten Authors Talk about Writing for Children, Library of Congress (Washington, DC), 1980.

Kroeber, Theodora, Alfred Kroeber: A Personal Configuration, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1970.

Reginald, Robert, and George Edgar Slusser, editors, Zephyr and Boreas: Winds of Change in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1996.

St. James Guide to Science-Fiction Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.

Silvey, Anita, editor, Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1995.

Slusser, George Edgar, Between Two Worlds: The Literary Dilemma of Ursula K. Le Guin, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1995.

PERIODICALS

Book, September-October, 2000, Ellen Emry Heltzel, "Portland Trailblazer: Ursula K. Le Guin"; May, 2001, Chris Barsanti, review of Tales from Earthsea, p. 71.

Booklist, February 1, 1999, Carolyn Phelan and Jack Helbig, review of Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale, p. 974; March 1, 2001, Sally Estes, review of Tales from Earthsea, p. 1233; June 1, 2001, Sally Estes, review of The Other Wind, p. 1798; April 15, 2003, Sally Estes, review of Changing Planes, p. 1428; February 1, 2004, Donna Seaman, review of The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Reader, and the Imagination, p. 942; August, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Gifts, p. 1924; August 1, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of Voices, p. 75; October 1, 2007, Jennifer Mattson, review of Powers, p. 57; March 15, 2008, Margaret Flanagan, review of Lavinia, p. 28.

Canadian Dimension, September-October, 2007, Dennis Pilon, interview with Le Guin, p. 39.

Horn Book, April, 1971, Eleanor Cameron, "High Fantasy: A Wizard of Earthsea," pp. 129-138; November-December, 1988, Ann A. Flowers, review of Catwings, p. 781; May-June, 2002, Susan P. Bloom, review of Tom Mouse, p. 316; September-October, 2006, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Voices, p. 590; September-October, 2007, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Powers, p. 580.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2001, review of The Other Wind, p. 904; February 15, 2002, review of Tom Mouse, p. 260; May 1, 2003, review of Changing Planes, p. 633; March 1, 2006, review of Gifts, p. 12; August 15, 2007, review of Powers; February 15, 2008, review of Lavinia.

Kliatt, January, 2002, Bette D. Ammon, review of Wizard of Earthsea, p. 49; July, 2002, Bette D. Ammon, review of Tales from Earthsea, p. 31; March, 2003, Janet Julian, review of The Other Wind, p. 36; September, 2004, Paula Rohrlick, review of Gifts, p. 13; September, 2007, Claire Rosser, review of Powers, p. 14.

Library Journal, May 15, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of Tales from Earthsea, p. 166; July, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of The Other Wind, p. 130; September 15, 2003, review of Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was, p. 91; March 1, 2008, Winda Wilda Williams, review of Lavinia, p. 74.

Mythlore, spring-summer, 2008, Melanie A. Rawls, "Witches, Wives, and Dragons: The Evolution of the Women in Ursula K. Le Guin's ‘Earthsea’," p. 129.

New York Times Book Review, November 13, 1988, Crescent Dragonwagon, review of Catwings; May 20, 1990, Robin McKinley, review of Tehanu, p. 38; October 15, 1995, Gerald Jonas, review of Four Ways to Forgiveness.

Publishers Weekly, January 19, 1990, review of Tehanu, p. 110; August 10, 1992, review of A Ride on the Red Mare's Back, p. 70; October 5, 1992, review of Fish Soup, p. 71; September 25, 1995, Sara Jameson, "Ursula K. Le Guin: A Galaxy of Books and Laurels," p. 32; August 7, 2000, review of The Telling, p. 79; March 5, 2001, review of Tales from Earthsea, p. 66; August 13, 2001, review of The Other Wind, p. 290; July 19, 2004, review of Gifts, p. 163; December 24, 2007, review of Lavinia, p. 24.

School Library Journal, August, 1989, review of Catwings Return, p. 124; April, 1990, Ruth S. Vose, review of Tehanu, p. 142; September, 1992, Kay E. Vandergrift, review of A Ride on the Red Mare's Back, p. 207; April, 1999, Anne Conner, review of Jane on Her Own, p. 101; May, 2002, Kathie Meizner, review of Tom Mouse, p. 120; June, 2004, Francisca Goldsmith, interview with Le Guin, p. 52; September, 2004, Bruce Anne Shook, review of Gifts, p. 210; August, 2006, Beth Wright, review of Voices, p. 123; September, 2007, Margaret A. Chang, review of Powers, p. 202; May, 2008, Matthew L. Moffett, review of Lavinia, p. 161.

Washington Post Book World, August 9, 1992, Michael Dirda, review of A Ride on the Red Mare's Back, p. 11.

ONLINE

Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (January 23, 2001), Faith L. Justice, "Ursula K. Le Guin."

Ursula K. Le Guin Home Page,http://www.ursulakleguin.com (October 25, 2008).

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Le Guin, Ursula K(roeber) 1929-

Le GUIN, Ursula K(roeber) 1929-

Personal

Surname pronounced "Luh-Gwin "; born October 21, 1929, in Berkeley, CA; daughter of Alfred L. (an anthropologist) and Theodora Covel Brown (a writer; maiden name, Kracaw) Kroeber; married Charles Alfred Le Guin (a historian), December 22, 1953; children: Elisabeth, Caroline, Theodore. Education: Radcliffe College, A.B., 1951; Columbia University, A.M., 1952.

Addresses

Office P.O. Box 10541, Portland, OR 97296-0541. Agent Virginia Kidd, P.O. Box 278, Milford, PA 18337.

Career

Writer. Worked as a department secretary, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Part-time instructor in French at Mercer University, Macon, GA, 1954-55, and University of Idaho, Moscow, 1956. Visiting lecturer and writer-in-residence at various locations, including Portland State University, University of CaliforniaSan Diego, University of Reading (England), Kenyon College, Tulane University, and First Australian workshop in Speculative Fiction. Creative consultant for Public Broadcasting Service, for television production of The Lathe of Heaven, 1979.

Member

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Authors League of America, Writers Guild, PEN, Science Fiction Research Association, Science Fiction Writers Association, Science Fiction Poetry Association, Writers Guild West, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Amnesty International of the USA, Nature Conservancy, National Organization for Women, National Abortion Rights Action League, Phi Beta Kappa.

Awards, Honors

National Fulbright fellowship, 1953; Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, 1968; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, Science Fiction Writers of America (now Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), 1969, for "Nine Lives"; Nebula Award and Hugo Award, International Science Fiction Association, both for best novel, 1970, for The Left Hand of Darkness; Nebula Award nomination, 1971, and Hugo Award nomination and Locus Award, both 1973, all for best novel, for The Lathe of Heaven; Newbery Silver Medal Award and finalist for National Book Award for Children's Literature, both 1972, for The Tombs of Atuan; Nebula Award nomination, 1972, and Hugo Award, 1973, both for best novella, for The Word for World Is Forest; National Book Award for Children's Books, 1973, for The Farthest Shore; Hugo Award for best short story, 1974, for "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"; American Library Association's Best Young Adult Books citation, 1974, Hugo Award, Nebula Award, and Jupiter Award, all for best novel, 1975, and Jules Verne Award, 1975, all for The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia; Nebula Award and Jupiter Award, both for best short story, 1975, for "The Day before the Revolution"; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, 1975, for "The New Atlantis"; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette and Jupiter Award, both 1976, for "The Diary of the Rose"; Prix Lectures-Jeunesse, 1978, for Very Far Away from Anywhere Else; Gandalf Award (Grand Master of Fantasy) nomination, 1978; D.Litt., Bucknell University, 1978, and Lawrence University, 1979; Gandalf Award, 1979; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, 1979, for "The Pathways of Desire"; D.H.L., Lewis and Clark College, 1983, and Occidental College, 1985; Locus Award, 1984, for The Compass Rose; American Book Award nomination, 1985, and Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction, University of Rochester English Department and Writer's Workshop, 1986, both for Always Coming Home; Nebula Award nominations for best novelette, 1988, for Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight, and 1990, for "The Shobies' Story"; Hugo Award for best novelette, 1988, and World Fantasy Award for best novella, World Fantasy Convention, 1988, both for Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight; Nebula Award for best novel, 1991, for Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, 1994, and James Tiptree, Jr. Award, 1995, both for "The Matter of Seggri"; Nebula Award nomination for best novella, 1994, and Sturgeon Award, both for "Forgiveness Day;" Nebula Award for best novelette, 1996, for "Solitude;" Life Achievement Award, World Fantasy Convention, 1995; James Tiptree, Jr. Award, 1997, for "Mountain Ways"; Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, Adult Literature (finalist), World Fantasy Award in novel category, and Nebula Award nomination in novel category, all 2002, all for The Other Wind; Nebula Award Grand Master, 2002; PEN/Malamud Award for short fiction, 2002; Hugo Award nomination in best novelette category, Locus Award, and Asimov's Readers Award, all 2003, for "The Wild Girls"; Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement, Young Adult Library Services Association, 2004; May Hill Arbuthnot Lecturer, Association for Library Service to Children, 2004.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Solomon Leviathan's Nine Hundred Thirty-first Trip around the World (originally published in collection Puffin's Pleasures ; also see below), illustrated by Alicia Austin, Puffin Books (London, England), 1976, Cheap Street (New Castle, VA), 1983.

Leese Webster, illustrated by James Brunsman, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979.

Adventures in Kroy, Cheap Street (New Castle, VA), 1982.

The Adventures of Cobbler's Rune, illustrated by Alicia Austin, Cheap Street (New Castle, VA), 1983.

A Visit from Dr. Katz (picture book), illustrated by Ann Barrow, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.

Fire and Stone, illustrated by Laura Marshell, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1989.

Fish Soup (picture book), illustrated by Patrick Wynne, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1992.

A Ride on the Red Mare's Back (picture book), illustrated by Julie Downing, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1992.

Tom Mouse, illustrated by Julie Downing, Roaring Brook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2002.

"EARTHSEA" SERIES

A Wizard of Earthsea (also see below), illustrated by Ruth Robbins, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1968.

The Tombs of Atuan (also see below), illustrated by Gall Garraty, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1970.

The Farthest Shore (also see below), illustrated by Gall Garraty, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1972.

Earthsea (includes A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore ), Gollancz (London, England), 1977, published as The Earthsea Trilogy, Penguin (London, England), 1979.

Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.

Tales from Earthsea, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2001.

The Other Wind, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2001.

"CATWINGS" SERIES

Catwings, illustrated by S. D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1988.

Catwings Return, illustrated by S. D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, illustrated by S. D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1994.

Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale, illustrated by S. D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1999.

NOVELS

Rocannon's World (bound with The Kar-Chee Reign by Avram Davidson; also see below), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1966.

Planet of Exile (bound with Mankind under the Lease by Thomas M. Disch; also see below), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1966.

City of Illusions (also see below), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1967.

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1969, with new afterword and appendixes by author, Walker (New York, NY), 1994.

The Lathe of Heaven, Scribner (New York, NY), 1971, reprinted, Perennial Classics (New York, NY), 2003.

The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, Harper (New York, NY), 1974, reprinted, Perennial Classics (New York, NY), 2003.

Very Far Away from Anywhere Else, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1976, published as A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else, Gollancz (London, England), 1976.

Three Hainish Novels (includes Rocannon's World Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions ; also see below), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978.

Malafrena, Putnam (New York, NY), 1979.

The Beginning Place, Harper (New York, NY), 1980, published as Threshold, Gollancz (London, England), 1980.

The Eye of the Heron and Other Stories (includes novella originally published in collection Millennial Women ; also see below), Harper (New York, NY), 1983.

The Visionary (bound with Wonders Hidden, by Scott R. Sanders), McGraw (New York, NY), 1984.

Always Coming Home (includes tape cassette of "Music and Poetry of the Kesh"; also see below), music by Todd Barton, illustrated by Margaret Chodos, diagrams by George Hersh, Harper (New York, NY), 1985, published without cassette, Bantam (New York, NY), 1987.

Worlds of Exile and Illusion (includes Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions ), Orb (New York, NY), 1996.

The Telling, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2000.

Gifts, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.

POETRY

Wild Angels (collection of early works), Capra (Santa Barbara, CA), 1974.

(With mother, Theodora K. Quinn) Tillai and Tylissos, Red Bull, 1979.

Torrey Pines Reserve (broadsheet), Lord John (Northridge, CA), 1980.

Hard Words and Other Poems, Harper (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Henk Pander) In the Red Zone, Lord John (Northridge, CA), 1983.

Wild Oats and Fireweed, Harper (New York, NY), 1988.

Blue Moon over Thurman Street, photographs by Roger Dorband, NewSage Press (Portland, OR), 1993.

Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight, illustrated by Susan Seddon Boulet, Pomegranate Artbooks (San Francisco, CA), 1994.

Going Out with Peacocks and Other Poems, HarperPerennial (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Diana Bellessi) The Twins, The Dream: Two Voices / Las Gemelas, el Sueño: Dos Voces, Arte Público (Houston, TX), 1997.

Sixty Odd: New Poems, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 1999.

SHORT STORIES

The Wind's Twelve Quarters, Harper (New York, NY), 1975.

Orsinian Tales, Harper (New York, NY), 1976.

The Water Is Wide, Pendragon Press (Portland, OR), 1976.

The Compass Rose, Harper (New York, NY), 1982.

Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences (short stories and poems), Capra (Santa Barbara, CA), 1987.

Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1991.

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1993.

A Fisherman of the Inland Sea: Science Fiction Stories, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1994.

Four Ways to Forgiveness (contains "Betrayals," "Forgiveness Day," "A Man of the People," and "A Woman's Liberation"), HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1995.

Unlocking the Air: And Other Stories (contains "Standing Ground," "Poacher," "Half Past Four," and "Limberlost"), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.

The Birthday of the World and Other Stories (contains "Coming of Age in Karhide," "The Matter of Seggri," "Unchosen Love," "Mountain Ways," "Solitude," "Old Music and the Slave Women," "The Birthday of the World," and "Paradises Lost"), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

Changing Planes (contains "Sita Dulip's Method," "Porridge on Islac," "The Silence of the Asonu," "Feeling at Home with the Hennebet," "The Ire of the Veksi," "Seasons of the Ansarac," "Social Dreaming of the Frin," "The Royals of Hegn," "Woeful Tales from Mahigul," "Great Joy," "Wake Island," "The Nna Mmoy Language," "The Building," "The Fliers of Gy," "The Island of the Immortals," and "Confusions of Uñi"), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2003.

EDITOR

Nebula Award Stories 11, Gollancz (London, England), 1976, Harper (New York, NY), 1977.

(With Virginia Kidd) Interfaces: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1980.

(With Virginia Kidd) Edges: Thirteen New Tales from the Borderlands of the Imagination, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1980.

(With Brian Attebery) The Norton Book of Science Fiction: North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990, Norton (New York, NY), 1993.

H. G. Wells, Selected Stories of H. G. Wells, Modern Library (New York, NY), 2004.

TRANSLATOR

(Translator, with J. P. Seaton) Lao Tzu: Tao The Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 1997.

Gabriela Mistral, Gabriela Mistral: Selected Poems, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2003.

Angelica Gorodischer, Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was, Small Beer Press (Northampton, MA), 2003.

OTHER

From Elfland to Poughkeepsie (lecture), Pendragon Press (Portland, OR), 1973.

Dreams Must Explain Themselves (critical essays), Algol Press (New York, NY), 1975.

The Word for World Is Forest (novella; originally published in collection Again, Dangerous Visions ; also see below), Berkley (New York, NY), 1976.

The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Susan Wood, Putnam (New York, NY), 1978, revised edition edited by Le Guin, Women's Press (London, England), 1989.

King Dog: A Screenplay (bound with Dostoevsky: A Screenplay, by Raymond Carver and Tess Gallagher), Capra (Santa Barbara, CA), 1985.

(With Todd Barton) Music and Poetry of the Kesh (cassette), Valley Productions, 1985.

(With David Bedford) Rigel Nine: An Audio Opera, Charisma, 1985.

Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places (essays), Grove (New York, NY), 1989.

The Way of the Waters Going: Images of the Northern California Coastal Range, photographs by Ernest Waugh and Alan Nicolson, Harper (New York, NY), 1989.

Myth and Archetype in Science Fiction, Pulphouse, 1991.

Talk about Writing, Pulphouse, 1991.

Earthsea Revisioned (lecture), Children's Literature New England (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

(Author of text) Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts (music sound recording; for chorus and orchestra), music by Elinor Armer, Koch International (Port Washington, NY), 1995.

Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew, Eighth Mountain Press (Portland, OR), 1998.

The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Reader, and the Imagination, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 2004.

Contributor to anthologies, including Orbit 5, 1969; Orbit 6, 1970; Best SF: 1969, 1970; World's Best Science Fiction, 1970; Those Who Can, 1970; Nebula Award Stories 5, 1970; Quark #1, 1970; The Dead Astronaut, 1971; New Dimensions I, 1972; Clarion II, 1972; Again, Dangerous Visions, Volume 1, 1972; The Best from Playboy, number 7, 1973; New Dimensions III, 1973; Clarion III, 1973; Universe 5, 1974; The Best from Galaxy, Volume 2, 1974, Volume 3, 1975; Dream Trips, 1974; Orbit 14, 1974; Epoch, 1975; Nebula Award Stories 10, 1975; The New Atlantis and Other Novellas of Science Fiction, 1975; The Thorny Paradise, 1975; Bitches and Sad Ladies, 1975; More Women of Wonder, 1976; The Best Science Fiction of the Year #5, 1976; Science Fiction at Large, 1976, 1977; Future Power, 1976; Puffin's Pleasure, 1976; Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year, Sixth Annual Collection, 1977; Psy Fi One, 1977; The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 1978; The Altered I: An Encounter with Science Fiction, 1978; Millennial Women, 1978; Cassandra Rising, 1978; and Dark Imaginings, 1978. Author of postcard short story, Post Card Partnership, 1975, and Sword & Sorcery Annual, 1975.

Contributor of short stories, novellas, essays, and reviews to numerous science-fiction, scholarly, and popular periodicals, including Science Fiction Studies, New Yorker, Antaeus, Parabola, New Republic, Redbook, Playgirl, Playboy, New Yorker, Yale Review, and Omni. Author of abridged version of The Left Hand of Darkness, for Warner Audio, 1985. Le Guin recorded Gwilan's Harp and Intracom for Caedmon, 1977, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas and Other Stories and The Lathe of Heaven for Alternate World, 1976, and The Left Hand of Darkness for Warner Audio.

Adaptations

The Lathe of Heaven was adapted by Diane English and Roger Swaybill into a film directed by Fred Barzyk and David R. Loxton and televised by Public Broadcasting Service, 1979. A new version, with screenplay by Alan Sharp and direction by Philip Haas, was produced by A&E Television Networks. The "Earthsea" books were adapted by Gavin Scott into a mini-series epic, produced by Hallmark Entertainment for the SCI FI Channel, 2004. The Tombs of Atuan was adapted as a filmstrip with record or audiocassette by Newbery Award Records, 1980; "The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas" was performed as a drama with dance and music at the Portland Civic Theatre, 1981. A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, and The Beginning Place were made into sound recordings, 1992.

Sidelights

Whether she writes within the genres of children's books, young adult realism and fantasy, or adult science fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin is considered by many to be one of the most creative authors working today. She is best known for her fantasy fiction, particularly the acclaimed "Earthsea" books, but her science fiction novels have also won her a wide following. According to Brian Attebery, writing in Dictionary of Literary Biography, "Le Guin's fiction is extraordinarily risky: it is full of hypotheses about morality, love, society, and ways of enriching life expressed in the symbolic language found in myth, dream, or poetry."

Le Guin was born in 1929, to Theodora and Alfred Kroeber. Her father was a professor of anthropology at the University of California and her mother was a writer. Le Guin once recalled that their summer house was "an old, tumble-down ranch in the Napa Valley . . . [and] a gathering place for scientists, writers, students, and California Indians. Even though I didn't pay much attention, I heard a lot of interesting, grown-up conversation." She also grew up hearing a variety of Native American tales from her father and reading a great deal of mythology; she particularly liked Norse myths.

Le Guin has three older brothers, but she feels her upbringing was totally nonsexist, as her parents expected the same achievements of her as of her brothers. Her home was also nonreligious. As she once related, "There was no religious practice of any kind. There was also no feeling that any religion was better than another or worse; they just weren't part of our life. They were something other people did." Eventually, Le Guin developed to a strong respect for Taoism, the Eastern religion of acceptance and change. The impact of the Taoist text I Ching has influenced many of her books, and she published a translation of it, Lao Tzu: Tao The Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way, in 1997.

Le Guin's books are also informed by her feminism and her progressive views about social relationships. Though her early works focused mostly on male heroes, she eventually began portraying women in central, actionoriented roles. The Left Hand of Darkness is set in a world where people have no fixed gender, but become male or female when they desire sexual activity. Le Guin has also dealt with issues of raceThe Lathe of Heaven, for instance, has a romance between a white man and a black womanand sexual preference. These aspects of her writing have been revolutionary in science fiction, often seen, as Book writer Ellen Emry Heltzel noted, as "a white, male enclave reflecting its original base of readers." In Heltzel's view, Le Guin "is sensitive to issues of race, class and gender and is among a generation of writers who have elevated the role of human feeling in the formerly hard-wired SF field."

As children, Le Guin and one of her brothers enjoyed Amazing Stories, a short-story magazine. She made her first short story submission at the age of twelve to the magazine, but the story was rejected. "It was all right with me," she once said. "It was junk. At least I had a real rejection slip to show for it." While Le Guin always thought of herself as a writer, after completing her bachelor's degree at Radcliffe, she decided to follow her father's advice and find a marketable career. She studied Romance languages with the intent of teaching and earned her master's degree from Columbia University. She was pursuing a doctorate in French and Italian renaissance literature on a Fulbright fellowship when she met Charles Le Guin. Both were traveling to France via the Queen Mary. "We had a shipboard romance and, as the French have developed bureaucracy into a way of life, spent our first six months trying to marry," Le Guin recalled. After returning to the States, the couple moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where her husband taught at Emory University and Le Guin worked as a secretary and wrote. She spent the next several years balancing part-time work, writing, and family, which came to include three children: Elisabeth, Caroline, and Theodore. The family eventually settled in Portland, Oregon.

During the 1950s, Le Guin wrote five novels, four of which were set in the imaginary country of Orsinia, but she was unable to find a publisher willing to take a risk on her unusual style. She finally turned to the science fiction/fantasy genre in order to get into print. Her first sale was a time travel fantasy to Fantastic Stories and Imagination magazine. Le Guin noted that developing a science fiction style took time: she called her first published novels "fairy tales in space suits." These initial works are part of the "Hainish Cycle" and branch off from a central idea: that humanity came from the planet Hain, which colonized several other planets and eventually became separated by a galactic war. The cycle includes Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, City of Illusions, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, The Word for World Is Forest, The Telling, and some short stories.

In the late 1960s, editor Herman Schein of Parnassus Press asked Le Guin to write a novel for eleven to seventeen year olds. The result was the fantasy A Wizard of Earthsea. The book deals with the adventures of the apprentice sorcerer, Ged. Critics praised the novel both for its story and the complexity of Le Guin's created world, which consists of a chain of islands. Many compared Earthsea to J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth and C. S. Lewis's Narnia. In Horn Book, Eleanor Cameron wrote: "To me, it is as if Ursula Le Guin herself has lived on the Archipelago, minutely observing and noting down the habits and idiosyncrasies of the culture from island to island.... Nothing has escaped the notice of her imagination's seeking eye."

Le Guin followed A Wizard of Earthsea with a darker novel set in the same world: The Tombs of Atuan. Tenar, its protagonist and her first major female character, is a young priestess who discovers Ged wandering through sacred places forbidden to anyone but the priestesses and their eunuchs. Tenar's life changes through this meeting; Le Guin once described the story as "a feminine coming of age." The Farthest Shore, for many years the last book of the series, "is about the thing you do not live through and survive," Le Guin continued. The plot concerns Ged as a mature wizard, who journeys with a young prince to the westernmost end of the world to discover why Earthsea is losing its magic. There, Ged meets his ultimate challenge. The Farthest Shore won the National Book Award for Children's Literature, and in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Andrew Gordon called it "a novel of epic scope." Salon.com contributor Faith L. Justice noted of the "Earthsea" novels, "On the surface these are coming-of-age stories . . . but Le Guin's artful storytelling and complex underlying themes elevate the works beyond mundane fantasy and the young-adult audience for which they are intended." The characters learn "the need for balancelight/dark, male/female, action/inaction," Justice commented.

In 1990, Le Guin published a new novel in the "Earthsea" series, the first Earthsea novel to appear in nearly twenty years. Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea deals less with the magic of wizards than the importance of everyday life. In the novel, Tenar, now a farmer's widow, finds a little girl who has been raped by her father and his friends and left to die. Tenar adopts the child and is eventually joined by Ged, who arrives drained of power and strength. The three form an unlikely family who battle an unexpected threat to Tenar's island home. "Tenahu is a book of great depth and subtlety, . . . confronting and altering the bedrock values of the old high fantasy on which the first Earthsea books were based," observed Jill Paton Walsh in Twentieth-Century Young Adult Writers. "It rejects the male-gendered tales of heroism, and in their place builds on women's experiences as the benchmarks of virtue, courage, love. The damaged child is at the centre of the book, and the triumph over evil is hers."

Le Guin returned to the world of Earthsea with the story collection Tales from Earthsea and the novel The Other Wind. The former includes a tale of the origins of the magic school at which Ged studied, plus four other stories and a background essay on Earthsea. Tales from Earthsea "not only stands alone but also serves as an introduction to new readers," commented Jackie Cassada in Library Journal, and Chris Barsanti of Book praised the stories as "delightfully crafted mini epics." Though remarking that many years passed between titles in the series, Booklist contributor Sally Estes commented, "Le Guin hasn't lost her touch." In The Other Wind, a sorcerer's longing for his deceased wife starts to weaken the barrier between the living and the dead and causes other disruptions in Earthsea. "The first full-length Earthsea novel since Tehanu will leave its readers wanting yet another," praised Estes in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that while in Tehanu, "Le Guin rethought the traditional connection between gender and magic," in The Other Wind, "she reconsiders the relationship between magic and something even more basic: life and death itself."

Very Far Away from Anywhere Else is Le Guin's first non-fantasy young adult novel. It describes the deepening relationship between two extremely talented but lonely, nonconformist teenagers, Owen and Natalie. Their relationship is jeopardized when Owen makes sexual advances toward Natalie. "Le Guin's admirers have objected to the didactic tone of this book, which is undoubtedly present as it is in so many other adolescent novels," related Walsh. "But the rage which is palpable in the bookalongside a lot of human tendernessis not really against the corrupting pressure on the young to advance too quickly into their sexual adulthood, rather it is against all the pressures by which individuals in their glorious oddity and variety are crushed into a few standard shapes by a society that hates nonconformity." The Beginning Place, written a few years later, is considered by some critics a more successful novel. It mixes fantasy and reality in the story of two young adults who, at different times, discover a strange world on the borders of their dull suburb. Gordon believed "the achievement of The Beginning Place is its vivid, detailed realism, which brings alive both the plastic suburb and the haunting twilight land and makes us believe in the possibility of crossing the threshold between the two."

In the late 1970s, Le Guin started working in a new genre: children's storybooks and picture books. Leese Webster relates the story of a talented spider. According to Gordon, "The story shows Le Guin's style . . . at its best. . . . The message is clear: it is a parable about the artist and her craft." A Visit from Dr. Katz is a picture book showing how a sick little girl is amused by two kittens. Fire and Stone tells about a dragon who eats stones instead of people, while in Fish Soup, two adults have differing visions of the perfect childand see their fantasies become reality.

Catwings and its follow-ups, Catwings Return, Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, and Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale, feature the adventures of several winged cats and are perhaps the best known of Le Guin's works for younger readers. In Catwings, four flying catsHarriet, James, Thelma, and Rogerescape city dangers to live in the country, where they are adopted by two children. New York Times Book Review contributor Crescent Dragonwagon wrote that Le Guin's "dialogue, humor, skill as a storyteller, and emotional veracity combine near-flawlessly in a story that is both contemporary and timeless.... [T]heir collective winged adventures, their looking after one another, and the understated charm of Ms. Le Guin's writing keeps us captivated." The cats continue to have adventures in the next several books; in Jane on Her Own, Jane travels to the city in search of new experiences. When she is trapped by a man who wants to exploit her by putting her on television shows, Jane must find a way to escape. Carolyn Phelan and Jack Helbig of Booklist praised Le Guin's "consistently catlike point of view" in a story dealing with "loneliness, belonging, and freedom."

A Ride on the Red Mare's Back, a stand alone book for younger children, looks at the issue of responsibility. In it, a young girl learns that her little brother has been taken by trolls, and she goes out alone to rescue him, taking only a toy red horse, a warm scarf, knitting needles and yarn, and a bit of bread. Once she locates the boy in the trolls' castle, she finds that he has changed: he now wants to become a troll. "The boy's desire is an old one," Michael Dirda explained in Washington Post Book World: "Is it better to be a happy pig or an unhappy Socrates? Most of us don't get the chance to be quite either." Dirda concluded that the volume "is indisputably suspenseful, thought-provoking, and beautifully illustrated."

In Tom Mouse, a picture book published in 2002, Le Guin introduces her readers to a mouse who wants to see the world. The mousenamed Tomleaves his family to travel across the country by train. When a businesswoman takes up residence in the sleeping car that Tom had had to himself, he hides from her. Gradually, however, Tom realizes that he has been discovered and that the woman sees him as a friend. Tom Mouse was called a "celebration of the open road and the kindness of strangers" by a contributor to Kirkus Reviews. Writing for Horn Book, Susan P. Bloom thought "this tale of comradeship between two otherwise lonely globetrotters has an inviting freshness in its quiet telling."

Reviewers have praised the variety, force, and depth that Le Guin brings to her writing for children and for adults. "Hers is certainly one of the most powerful talents ever exercised in writing for the young," Walsh remarked. Le Guin believes that children's imaginations need to be nourished, and that fantasy plays an important part in their development. Gordon quoted her as stating, "I believe that all the best faculties of a mature human being exist in the child, and that if these faculties are encouraged in youth they will act well and wisely in the adult."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 9, 1992, Volume 27, 1998.

Bittner, James, Approaches to the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1984.

Bucknall, Barbara, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ungar (New York, NY), 1981.

Butts, Dennis, Good Writers for Young Readers, Hart-Davis (London, England), 1977.

Children's Literature Review, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 3, 1978, Volume 28, 1992.

Cogell, Elizabeth Cummins, Ursula K. Le Guin: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography, G. K. Hall (Boston, MA), 1983.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 8, 1978, Volume 13, 1980, Volume 22, 1982, Volume 45, 1987, Volume 71, 1992.

Contemporary Novelists, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.

Cummins, Elizabeth, Understanding Ursula K. Le Guin, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 1990.

De Bolt, Joe, editor, Ursula K. Le Guin: Voyager to Inner Lands and to Outer Space, Kennikat Press (Port Washington, NY), 1979.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 8: Twentieth-Century American Science Fiction Writers, Part 1, 1981, pp. 263-280, Volume 52: American Writers for Children since 1960: Fiction, 1986, pp. 233-241.

Haviland, Virginia, editor, The Openhearted Audience: Ten Authors Talk about Writing for Children, Library of Congress (Washington, DC), 1980.

Kroeber, Theodora, Alfred Kroeber: A Personal Configuration, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1970.

Olander, Joseph D., and Martin Harry Greenberg, editors, Ursula K. Le Guin, Taplinger (New York, NY), 1979.

Reginald, Robert, and George Edgar Slusser, editors, Zephyr and Boreas: Winds of Change in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1996.

Reid, Suzanne Elizabeth, Presenting Ursula K. Le Guin, "Twayne's United States Authors" series, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.

Silvey, Anita, editor, Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1995.

Slusser, George Edgar, The Farthest Shores of Ursula K. Le Guin, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1976.

Slusser, George Edgar, Between Two Worlds: The Literary Dilemma of Ursula K. Le Guin, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1995.

Twentieth-Century Young Adult Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.

PERIODICALS

Book, September-October, 2000, Ellen Emry Heltzel, "Portland Trailblazer: Ursula K. Le Guin"; May, 2001, Chris Barsanti, review of Tales from Earthsea, p. 71.

Booklist, February 1, 1999, Carolyn Phelan and Jack Helbig, review of Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale, p. 974; March 1, 2001, Sally Estes, review of Tales from Earthsea, p. 1233; June 1, 2001, Sally Estes, review of The Other Wind, p. 1798; February 1, 2004, Donna Seaman, review of The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Reader, and the Imagination, p. 942.

Horn Book, April, 1971, Eleanor Cameron, "High Fantasy: A Wizard of Earthsea, " pp. 129-138; October, 1971; June, 1973; May-June, 2002, Susan P. Bloom, review of Tom Mouse, p. 316.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2002, review of Tom Mouse, p. 260.

Library Journal, May 15, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of Tales from Earthsea, p. 166; July, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of The Other Wind, p. 130; September 15, 2003, review of Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was, p. 91.

New York Times Book Review, September 29, 1985; November 13, 1988, Crescent Dragonwagon, review of Catwings; May 20, 1990, p. 38; October 15, 1995; March 3, 1996, p. 10; May 12, 1996, p. 27.

Publishers Weekly, January 19, 1990, review of Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, p. 110; August 10, 1992, review of A Ride on the Red Mare's Back, p. 70; October 5, 1992, review of Fish Soup, p. 71; September 25, 1995, Sara Jameson, "Ursula K. Le Guin: A Galaxy of Books and Laurels," p. 32; August 13, 2001, review of The Other Wind, p. 290.

School Library Journal, April, 1999, Anne Conner, review of Jane on Her Own, p. 101; May, 2002, Kathie Meizner, review of Tom Mouse, p. 120.

Times Literary Supplement, April 16, 1971; April 28, 1972.

Washington Post Book World, October 6, 1985; January 29, 1989; February 25, 1990; August 9, 1992, Michael Dirda, review of A Ride on the Red Mare's Back, p. 11.

ONLINE

Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/ (January 23, 2001), Faith L. Justice, "Ursula K. Le Guin."

Ursula K. Le Guin Web Site, http://www.ursulakleguin.com/ (February 24, 2004).*

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"Le Guin, Ursula K(roeber) 1929-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin

Science-fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin (born 1929) created fantastic worlds in which the author's strong-willed, feminist protagonists have increasingly taken center stage.

An understanding of both anthropology and varied cultures informed the highly acclaimed science fiction writing of Ursula K. Le Guin. In such books as the Earthsea Trilogy, The Lathe of Heaven, and The Left Hand of Darkness, she created what Nancy Jesser in Feminist Writers called "an anthropology of the future, imagining whole cultural systems and conflicts." Eschewing the "pulp" aspects of most science-fiction-brawny male heroes, compliant women, and over-the-top technology as both cause and solution to the world's problems-Le Guin was known for skillfully telling a story containing many layers of meaning beneath its calm exterior. Her Earthsea novels have been cited by several reviewers as characteristic of her work; an essayist in Science Fiction Writers commented that, as it was "constrained neither by realistic events nor by scientific speculation, but only by the author's moral imagination, " the Earthsea books showed such characteristic themes from "questing and patterning motifs to [her] overall emphasis on 'wholeness and balance."' Echoes of Taoism, Jungian psychology, ecological concerns, and mythos resonate throughout her written works.

Inspired by Parents' Example

Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, on October 21, 1929. Her father, anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber, was noted for his studies of the Native American cultures of California. Her mother, Theodora Kroeber Quinn, was a psychologist and, in her later years, a writer; she would be a particularly strong influence on her daughter, both as a writer and as a feminist.

Raised in an intellectually stimulating environment, Le Guin excelled at academics. After graduating from high school, she enrolled at Harvard University's Radcliffe College, where she received her bachelor's degree, in 1951, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa national honorary. Course work in New York City, at Columbia University, followed. Le Guin was named a faculty fellow, in 1952, and received a Fulbright fellowship to study in Paris, in 1953, having earned her master's degree in romance literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance from Columbia, the previous year.

The year after she earned her master's degree at Columbia, Le Guin married the historian Charles A. Le Guin. The couple made their home in Portland, Oregon. They had two daughters and one son. Prior to raising her family, she got a job as a French instructor at Mercer University, in Macon, Georgia, before moving on to the University of Idaho for a brief period, in 1956.

Short Fiction Set Stage for Novels

Le Guin's first written efforts consisted of poetry and short fiction. Her first published work was the story "April in Paris, " which appeared in Fantastic magazine, in 1962, when she was 33 years old. Le Guin's first novel, Rocannon's World, would be published by Ace Books, in 1966. It was the first of many science-fiction works she would write in the following decades, and the first of her five-volume "Hainish" series of novels. In the Hainish novels—Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, City of Illusions, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Word for World Is Forest—the author allowed readers to follow the physical and emotional journeys taken by her protagonists as they were confronted with cultures that had rules and systems radically different from their own. The Hainish were a race of beings from the planet Hain who have colonized all planets of the Universe that will sustain them. As each colony adapted to its new, unique environment, it developed differently, evolving distinctive physical and cultural traits in relation to other Hain colonies. Le Guin's protagonists must become, in a sense, amateur anthropologists in their attempts to understand and exist within new worlds as they journey between colonies, re-evaluating their own cultural assumptions in the process.

Novels Explored Universal Themes

While most science fiction has traditionally been dismissed by critics, as well as serious students of literature, Le Guin's sophisticated, well-studied, yet immensely readable novels have been able to break the barrier and gain a mainstream audience and mainstream attention, perhaps because of her ability to weave fantasy elements into her gentle, often dispassionate prose. After the publication of the highly acclaimed The Left Hand of Darkness in 1969, 1971's The Lathe of Heaven, and 1974's The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, Le Guin's work began to be taken seriously, even within academic circles.

With these novels, the author seriously explored the influence of gender roles and race on cultural attitudes, and focused on such backlashes as sexism and oppression in all of their forms. The juxtaposition of contrasting societies was a familiar motif: one society off balance, characterized by violence, injustice, and inequality; the other stable, just, and peaceful. This duality related to the universal duality reflected in such sources as the Christian belief in heaven and hell, or the Taoist philosophy of balanced opposites, the yin and yang. Le Guin's focus on this universal duality has allowed her fiction to speak to mainstream readers, particularly those not inducted into the heavy-duty technological concerns addressed in so-called "hard science fiction."

In her works after the Hainish novels, Le Guin began to broaden her talents, writing poetry, the short play No Use to Talk to Me, two volumes of literary criticism, and several children's books. In her imaginative Catwings and Catwings Return, she entertained younger readers with imaginary worlds containing flying cats and kittens. In Le Guin's adult novels written after the mid-1970s, she also began to stretch the boundaries of her so-called science fiction, creating the quasi-history of an anonymous nineteenth-century country in 1979's, Malafrena, and again in the short stories collected in Orsinian Tales, and combining music (via an accompanying cassette), verse, anthropologist's notations, and stories in 1985's, Always Coming Home, a book about the Kesh, future inhabitants of California who establish a new society after ecological Armageddon.

Fantasy Fiction as Effective Allegory

Whether set in the past or future, each of Le Guin's novels actually addressed the present. Imbedded within the plot of her 1972 novel The Word for World Is Forest, thoughtful readers could easily discover solemn parallels to the Vietnam War era, as well as telling commentary about the destruction of the world's rain forests. The novel told of the reaction of the colonizing culture-the Terrans-to the peaceful, forest-dwelling tribes-the Athsheans (read "indigenous tribes of South America and Indonesia") that they encountered in their new home. Because they fear the ways of the Athsheans, the Terrans react violently, destroying the homes of the forest dwellers in an effort to exterminate them and reap financial rewards.

Award-winning Quartet

Spanning Le Guin's career as a writer were her four award-winning Earthsea novels, which have been praised by critics as some of her most enjoyable works. Beginning with 1968's A Wizard of Earthsea, readers met the goat herder Ged, who lives on one of a kingdom of islands known as Earthsea, as he trains to become a practitioner of magic. In later novels in the series-The Tombs of Atuan (1970) and The Farthest Shore (1972)-Ged matured as both a man and a wizard, grappling with hubris, then flattery, before sacrificing his own powers to save his world. In 1990s, Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, which concluded the series and which Le Guin wrote as a response to criticism by feminists that her male protagonists were all powerful, and female characters merely helpers, an elderly woman and a young girl were featured. According to Charlotte Spivack in her appraisal, Ursula Le Guin, "Earthsea is a convincingly authenticated world, drawn with a sure hand for fine detail. [It is a] mature narrative of growing up, a moral tale without a moral, a realistic depiction of a fantasy world."

In addition to her prolific career as an author, Le Guin has taught writing workshops at numerous colleges around the United States, as well as in Australia and Great Britain. She has also revised several of her early works, updating them in response to her growing feminist leanings. She has also been involved in the adaptation of several of her novels into motion pictures. The Public Television production of The Lathe of Heaven, in 1980, benefited from her adaptation of her own novel-the story about a man whose dreams alter reality-as well as her on-the-set production assistance. Le Guin's positive appraisal of the resulting film was a marked contrast to most authors' feelings about their work after a film crew gets through with it. The recipient of numerous awards, she continued to make her home in Oregon.

Further Reading

Bittner, James, Approaches to the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin, UMI Research Press, 1984.

Bleiler, E.F., editor, Science Fiction Writers, Scribner's, 1982.

Cogell, Elizabeth Cummings, Understanding Ursula K. Le Guin, University of South Carolina Press, 1990.

Feminist Writers, St. James Press, 1997.

Greenburg, Martin H., and Joseph D. Olander, Ursula Le Guin, Taplinger, 1979.

Slusser, George Edgar, The Farthest Shores of Ursula K. Le Guin, Borgo Press, 1976.

Spivack, Charlotte, Ursula Le Guin, Twayne, 1984.

Science-Fiction Studies, March 1976.

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Le Guin, Ursula K.

Le Guin, Ursula K. 1929-

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ursula K. Le Guin is a prolific writer of science fiction, childrens literature, poetry, and a great many essays and nonfiction works. She was born Ursula Kroeber in Berkeley, California, the daughter of anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber (18761960), known for his work among Native American tribes, and Theodora Kracaw Kroeber (18971979), a psychologist and the author of the best-selling Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America (1961). Raised by parents whose professional interests centered on observation and analysis, words, myth, and storytelling, Le Guin developed a fascination with strange worlds and places early on in her life. She submitted her first science fiction piece to Astounding Science Fiction Magazine at age eleven (it was rejected). In 1947 she left California to attend Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she received a B.A. in Romance literature in 1951. She continued her education at Columbia University, where she earned an M.A. and a Fulbright Scholarship in 1952. Sailing to France in 1953, she met the historian Charles Le Guin, whom she married in Paris several months later. The couple have lived for more than fifty years in Portland, Oregon, where they raised their three children.

The ostensible uneventfulness of Le Guins life stands in stark contrast to her extraordinary career and the range and variety of her work. With seventeen novels, eleven childrens books, more than a hundred short stories, two collections of essays, five volumes of poetry, and two volumes of translations and screenplays to her name, and having been lavished with numerous literary prizes, including the National Book Award, five Hugos, five Nebulas, the Kafka Prize, and several lifetime achievement awards, she figures as one of the most distinguished writers of her generation. Fighting at the forefront of the civil rights, feminist, and antiwar movements of the 1960s, Le Guin first gained fame with her 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness, an exploration of the effects of sexual identity and (non)gender on an androgynous race in an imaginary country set in the distant future. Both here and in her other science fiction works, such as the award-winning The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia (1974), Worlds of Exile and Illusion (1996), and The Telling (2000), Le Guin puts a strong emphasis on the social sciences, especially on sociology and anthropology, using strange, alien cultures to explore and assess aspects of her own culture.

Praised for her ability to invent credible imaginary worlds populated with highly likeable human and nonhuman characters, Le Guins work is different from that of other fantasy writers because she is primarily concerned with the human condition. She often uses the alien, non-earthly settings of her stories to present a critical perspective on sociocultural and political issues in our own world, imaginatively exploring new possibilities of living and being in alternative cultures. Politically progressive, witty, and a brilliant stylist, Le Guin has not only gained her reputation as a writer of speculative fiction: With her nonfiction works, such as Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places (1989) and Steering the Craft (1998), she has also established her name as an incisive social and cultural critic.

SEE ALSO Science Fiction

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cadden, Michael. 2005. Ursula K. Le Guin Beyond Genre: Fiction for Children and Adults. New York: Routledge.

Cummins, Elizabeth. 1993. Understanding Ursula K. Le Guin. Rev. ed. Columbia: South Carolina University Press.

Rochelle, Warren C. 2001. Communities of the Heart: The Rhetoric of Myth in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin. Liverpool, U.K.: Liverpool University Press.

Renée C. Hoogland

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Le Guin, Ursula K(roeber)

LE GUIN, Ursula K(roeber)

Nationality: American. Born: Berkeley, California, 21 October 1929; daughter of the anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber. Education: Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, AB in French 1951 (Phi Beta Kappa); Columbia University, New York (Faculty fellow; Fulbright fellow, 1953), MA in romance languages 1952. Family: Married Charles A. Le Guin in 1953; two daughters and one son Career: Instructor in French, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia, 1954, and University of Idaho, Moscow, 1956; department secretary, Emory University, Atlanta, 1955; taught writing workshops at Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon, 1971, University of Washington, Seattle, 1971-73, Portland State University, Oregon, 1974, 1977, 1979, 1995, in Melbourne, Australia, 1975, at the University of Reading, England, 1976, Indiana Writers Conference, Bloomington, 1978 and 1983, and University of California, San Diego, 1979. Awards: Boston Globe-Horn Book award, 1968; Nebula award, 1969, 1975, 1990, 1996; Hugo award, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1988; National Book award, 1972; Newbery Silver Medal award, 1972; Locus award, 1973, 1984, 1995, 1996; Jupiter award, 1975 (twice), 1976; Gandalf award, 1979; Lewis Carroll Shelf award, 1979; University of Oregon Distinguished Service award, 1981; Janet Kafka award, 1986; Prix Lectures-Jeunesse (France), 1987; Pushcart prize, 1991; Harold Vursell award, 1991; Oregon Institute of Literary Arts HL Davis award, 1992; Hubbub Annual Poetry award, 1995; Asimov's Reader's award, 1995; James Tiptree, Jr. Award, 1995; Theodore Sturgeon Award, 1995; Retrospective Award, 1996, 1997. Guest of Honor, World Science Fiction Convention, 1975. DLitt: Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, 1978; Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, 1979; DHL: Lewis and Clark College, Portland, 1983; Occidental College, Los Angeles, 1985. Lives in Portland, Oregon. Agent: Virginia Kidd, 538 East Harford Street, Milford, Pennsylvania 18337, USA

Publications

Novels

Rocannon's World. New York, Ace, 1966; London, Tandem, 1972.

Planet of Exile. New York, Ace, 1966; London, Tandem, 1972.

City of Illusions. New York, Ace, 1967; London, Gollancz, 1971.

A Wizard of Earthsea. Berkeley, California, Parnassus Press, 1968; London, Gollancz, 1971

The Left Hand of Darkness. New York, Ace, and London, Macdonald, 1969; 25th anniversary edition, with a new afterword and appendices by the author, New York, Walker, 1994.

The Lathe of Heaven. New York, Scribner, 1971; London, Gollancz, 1972.

The Tombs of Atuan. New York, Atheneum, 1971; London, Gollancz, 1972.

The Farthest Shore. New York, Atheneum, 1972; London, Gollancz, 1973.

The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia. New York, Harper, and London, Gollancz, 1974.

The Word for World Is Forest. New York, Putnam, 1976; London, Gollancz, 1977.

Earthsea. London, Gollancz, 1977; as The Earthsea Trilogy, London, Penguin, 1979.

Malafrena. New York, Putnam, 1979; London, Gollancz, 1980.

The Eye of the Heron. New York, Harper, and London, Gollancz, 1983.

Always Coming Home. New York, Harper, 1985; London, Gollancz, 1986.

Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea. New York, Atheneum, and London, Gollancz, 1990.

Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight, illustrated by Susan Seddon Boulet, San Francisco, Pomegranate Artbooks, 1994.

Four Ways to Forgiveness. New York, HarperPrism, 1995.

Short Stories

The Wind's Twelve Quarters. New York, Harper, 1975; London, Gollancz, 1976.

The Water Is Wide. Portland, Oregon, Pendragon Press, 1976.

Orsinian Tales. New York, Harper, 1976; London, Gollancz, 1977.

The Compass Rose. New York, Harper, 1982; London, Gollancz, 1983.

The Visionary: The Life Story of Flicker of the Serpentine, with Wonders Hidden, by Scott Russell Sanders Santa Barbara, California, Capra Press, 1984.

Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences. (includes verse) Santa Barbara, California, Capra Press, 1987; as Buffalo Gals, London, Gollancz, 1990.

Searoad. New York, HarperCollins, 1991; London, Gollancz, 1992.

A Fisherman of the Inland Sea: Science Fiction Stories, New York, HarperPerennial, 1994.

Worlds of Exile and Illusion. New York, Orb, 1996.

Fiction (for children)

Very Far Away from Anywhere Else. New York, Atheneun, 1976; as A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else, London, Gollancz, 1976.

Leese Webster. New York, Atheneum, 1979; London, Gollancz, 1981.

The Beginning Place. New York, Harper, 1980; as Threshold, London, Gollancz, 1980

The Adventure of Cobbler's Rune. New York, Virginia, Cheap Street, 1982.

Solomon Leviathan's Nine Hundred and Thirty-First Trip Around the World. New Castle, Virginia, Cheap Street, 1983.

A Visit from Dr Katz. New York, Atheneum, 1988; as Dr Katz, London, Collins, 1988.

Catwings. New York, Orchard, 1988.

Catwings Return. New York, Orchard, 1989.

Fire and Stone. New York, Atheneum, 1989.

A Ride on the Red Mare's Back. New York, Orchard, 1992.

Fish Soup. New York, Atheneum, 1992. Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings. New York, Orchard, 1994.

Tom Mouse, illustrated by Julie Downing, New York, DK, 1998.

Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale, illustrations by S.D. Schindler. New York, Orchard Books, 1999.

Plays

No Use to Talk to Me, in The Altered Eye, edited by Lee Harding Melbourne, Norstrilia Press, 1976; New York, Berkley, 1980.

King Dog (screenplay), with Dorstoevsky, by Raymond Carver and Tess Gallagher Santa Barbara, California, Capra Press, 1985.

Poetry

Wild Angels. Santa Barbara, California, Capra Press, 1975.

Tillai and Tylissos, with Theodora K. Quinn. Np, Red Bull Press, 1979.

Torrey Pines Reserve. Northridge, California, Lord John Press, 1980.

Gwilan's Harp. Northridge, California, Lord John Press, 1981.

Hard Words and Other Poems. New York, Harper, 1981.

In the Red Zone. Northridge, California, Lord John Press, 1983.

Wild Oats and Fireweed. New York, Harper, 1988.

Blue Moon over Thurman Street. Portland, Oregon, NewSage Press, 1993.

Going Out with Peacocks and Other Poems New York, HarperPerennial, 1994

Sixty Odd: New Poems. Boston, Shambhala, 1999.

Other

From Elfland to Poughkeepsie (lecture). Portland, Oregon, Pendragon Press, 1973.

Dreams Must Explain Themselves. New York, Algol Press, 1975.

The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Susan Wood. New York, Putnam, 1979; revised edition, London, Women's Press, 1989.

The Seasons of Oling: For Narrator, Viola, Cello, Piano, Percussion (words), music by Elinor Armer. Albany, California, Overland Music Distributors, 1987.

Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places. New York, Grove Press, and London, Gollancz, 1989.

The Way the Water's Going: Images of the Northern California Coastal Range, photographs by Ernest Waugh and Alan Nicolson. New York, Harper, 1989.

Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way (Paraphraser, with J.P. Seaton), by Lao Tzu. Boston, Shambhala, 1997.

Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew. Portland, Oregon, Eighth Mountain Press, 1998.

Editor, Nebula Award Stories 11. London, Gollancz, 1976; New York, Harper, 1977.

Editor, with Virginia Kidd, Interfaces. New York, Ace, 1980.

Editor, with Virginia Kidd, Edges. New York, Pocket Books, 1980. Editor, with Brian Attebery, The Norton Book of Science Fiction: North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990. New York, Norton, 1993.

Recordings: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, Alternate World, 1976; Gwilan's Harp and Intracom, Caedmon, 1977; The Earthsea Triology, Colophone, 1981; Music and Poetry of the Kesh, Valley Productions, 1985

*

Bibliography:

Ursula K Le Guin: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography by Elizabeth Cummins Cogell, Boston, Hall, 1983.

Manuscript Collection:

University of Oregon Library, Eugene.

Critical Studies:

The Farthest Shores of Ursula K. Le Guin by George Edgar Slusser, San Bernardino, California, Borgo Press, 1976; "Ursula Le Guin Issue" of Science-Fiction Studies (Terre Haute, Indiana), March 1976; Ursula Le Guin by Joseph D. Olander and Martin H. Greenberg, New York, Taplinger, and Edinburgh, Harris, 1979; Ursula K. Le Guin: Voyage to Inner Lands and to Outer Space edited by Joseph W. De Bolt, Port Washington, New York, Kennikat Press, 1979; Ursula K. Le Guin by Barbara J. Bucknall, New York, Ungar, 1981; Ursula K. Le Guin by Charlotte Spivack, Boston, Twayne, 1984; Approaches to the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin by James Bittner, Ann Arbor, Michigan, UMI Research Press, and Epping, Essex, Bowker, 1984; Understanding Ursula K. Le Guin by Elizabeth Cummins Cogell, Columbia, University of South Carolina Press, 1990; Zephyr and Boreas: Winds of Change in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin: A Festschrift in Memory of Pilgrim Award Winner, Marjorie Hope Nicolson (1894-1981), edited by Robert Reginald and George Edgar Slusser, San Bernardino, California, Borgo Press, 1996; Between Two Worlds: The Literary Dilemma of Ursula K. Le Guin by George Edgar Slusser, San Bernardino, Calif., Borgo Press, 1996; Presenting Ursula K. Le Guin by Suzanne Elizabeth Reid, New York, Twayne Publishers and London, Prentice Hall International, 1997.

* * *

Ursula K. Le Guin's earliest works attracted, almost exclusively, the devoted audience of science-fiction readers. Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions are interconnected novels which depict a situation entirely familiar to such readers. Earth and other planets of a far-future "League of All Worlds" are peopled by "Human" races which must struggle to recognize one another as such. The League prepares to meet a rather vaguely defined invasion from afar. Heroes out of touch with lost civilization undertake quests of self-discovery, or get the enemy's location through to headquarters just in time to repel the invasion. In short, Le Guin offers us space opera, although the delicate tone, the theme of communication, and the imagery of light and darkness suggest her future development.

With The Left Hand of Darkness, The Word for World Is Forest, the Earthsea fantasy trilogy, and The Disposessed, Le Guin moved to another level, and began, deservedly, to attract an audience outside the science-fiction ghetto. The treatment of androgyny in The Left Hand of Darkness has made the book into a minor classic. The League of All Worlds has been succeeded by a non-imperialistic "Ekumen," which sends a lone envoy, Genly Ai, to make an alliance with the isolated planet Winter (Gethen). The Ekumen has no wish to subdue Winter but to extend "the evolutionary tendency inherent in Being; one manifestation of which is exploration." Subverting the stock situation of civilization brought to the savages, Le Guin has Ai learn at least as much from the relatively primitive Gethenians as they from him. Gethenians mate only once a month, and they may adopt alternatively male and females roles. We learn at one point that "the King is pregnant." Ai, a male chauvinist, learns how difficult it is to think of our fellow humans as people rather than as men and women. When he forms an alliance with a Gethenian called Estraven, Ai learns how close together the words "patriot" and "traitor" can be. Ai's loyalty begins to shift from the Ekumen to Gethen, but this shift is a precondition of his mission's success. Conversely, Estraven's loyalty shifts to Ai, but only because he loves his country well enough to want Ai to succeed.

Although Ai and Estraven grow closer to one another, a vast distance also remains between them. Humans are alienated from one another in a wintry universe. But hope springs from the melancholy. The universe is dark but young, and spring will follow winter. The book reverberates with a non-theistic prayer: "Praise then darkness and Creation unfinished."

Although they meet as equal individuals, Ai and Estraven are members of differing societies. Le Guin would insist on Aristotle's definition of people as social animals. In her ambivalent utopia The Dispossessed, Le Guin preserves this insistencewhile making it equally clear that anarchism is one of her centers of value. The book is an important break in science fiction's anti-utopian trend. A scientist, Shevek, moves to and fro between an anarchist utopia which is becoming middle-aged, and a worldobviously analogous to our ownthat is divided between propertarian (capitalist) and statist (communist) countries. Nowhere does he find full self-expression; conversely, full self-expression requires one's participation in a society. In alternating chapters which disrupt sequential chronology, Shevek moves both away from the anarchist utopia and back toward it. Le Guin identifies herself both as a stylistic artist and as a thinker. Her stark, wintry worlds are philosophically rich with dialectical Taoism, and the co-reality of such opposites as light and darkness, religion and politics, and language and power. In A Wizard of Earthsea the magician has power over things when he knows their true names, so that his power is the artist's power. Le Guin plays with the notion, in "The Author of the Acacia Seeds and Other Extracts from The Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics, " that ants, penguins, and even plants might be producing what could be called language and art.

Since writing The Dispossessed, Le Guin has been turning in the direction of fantasy. Malafrena is a compelling mixture of fantasy and historical fiction. Le Guin sets the imaginary country of Orsinia into central Europe in the 19th century. It is Itale Sorde's story: he rejects the ease of an inherited landed estate (Malafrena) to work for revolution against Orsinia's domination by the Austrian Empire. After being jailed for several years and after a failed insurrection in 1830, he returns to Malafrena, but there are hints that he will leave again. True voyage is return, and structure and theme coalesce, as in The Dispossessed.

In subsequent works Le Guin often presents us with the ambiguity of revolution, once again the theme of a long short story, "The Eye of the Heron." A colony of young counter-culturalists attempts to break away from their elders, with typically ambiguous results. A central paradox in Le Guin's fiction is her simultaneous recognition of the need for harmony and the need for revolt.

Praise for Le Guin has been hightoo uniformly high. Her style is unexceptional and her desire for peace and harmony borders on sentimentality at times. But she has taken important steps toward blending politics and art in her novels, and she is still experimenting with both form and content. Thus Always Coming Home both returns to the anthropological format of The Left Hand of Darkness and greatly expands that format. Le Guin has gathered together stories, folklore, histories, and other materials into what she calls "an archaeology" of primitive people living in a far-future northern California. The central story (occupying only a small part of the book) is of the coming of age of the woman "Stone Telling," whose mother lives in the peaceful Valley, which is integrated with nature, and whose father is of the war-like Condor people. Stone Telling leaves her valley to join her father for a while, but she becomes "woman always coming home" when she returns, her to-and-fro motion reminding us of The Dispossessed. When we discover that the Condor can build bridges and that they have electric lights, we may wonder how their traditional culture is supposed to have survived. But Le Guin's ability to capture the language, culture, and thought of primitive people is, despite some lapses, generally remarkable.

Harmony with nature is more than just a greeting card sentiment in Le Guin's short story collection Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences and the novel Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come out Tonight. In Animal Presences, the gap between the natural world and the human has become a virtual chasm. Shifting points of view allow even a lab rat his voice of protest. But voice alone is not sufficient to narrow the gap: one must set fire to complacency and open oneself up to hearing voices other than one's own, as in the story "May's Lion," about a woman who transcends her fears to help a mountain lion to die. The intriguing novella Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come out Tonight, which first appeared in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, is a parable of the disintegrating relationship between hu-mankind and the natural world. A remarkably resilient girl-child survives a plane crash only to find herself in different plane of reality, a desert world not unlike pre-settlement America, where the line between animals and man is less clearly drawn. As the girl becomes increasingly aware of the sour smell of humanity and its encroachments, she becomes more and more uprooted and unsure of her place. She eventually returns to her own people, but with an eye, both figuratively and literally, to seeing the world differently. Although occasionally heavy-handed, the story is compelling and visually rich. The girl protagonist speaks with the recognizable and sympathetic voice of a child.

The short story collection, Searoad, reveals how definitions of mainstream fiction and science fiction are not mutually exclusive. Though clearly a work of realistic fiction, the novel contains aspects of myth and ritual that fall into the realm of fantasy. Each story can be read as a separate entity, yet each contributes to one unified vision. This vision is unabashedly feminist, and as such is chiefly and somewhat exclusively concerned with the lives of women. Set in the small resort town of Klatsand, located on the Oregon coast, the stories contrast the different ways in which males and females communicate, the first being authoritative and unyielding, the other conversational and communal. This rigid polarity marks one of the problems with the novel, especially in terms of its persuasiveness. Male characters are impotent, if not downright evil; female characters are still waters running effortlessly deep. This seems to diminish rather than enhance believability. In addition, one questions the validity of rejecting outright the male world as a means of acquiring personal freedom. Nonetheless, characterization is compelling enough to sustain interest. One admires the resiliency of women who have also recognized the incontrovertibility of choice, or as the character Jilly in the story "In and Out" realizes, "doing something wasn't just a kind of practice for something that would keep happening . You didn't get to practice".

In A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, Le Guin returns to science fiction, with a disparate collection of tales, both humorous and serious, that asserts many of the recurrent themes in her work: the responsibility we have to nature; cultural diversity and ethnic tolerance; the importance of communication in spite of the inadequacies of language; and the interdependency of peoples. Among the most compelling stories in the collection is "Newton's Sleep," which casts a circumspect eye on the elitism of technology and suggests the need for the irrational, for the unknown and unseen in our lives. As with all of the author's work, this collection seeks to expand and challenge the reader's ideas as to what it means to be human. In Four Ways to Forgiveness, a quartet of novellas, Le Guin returned to the Hainish culture first examined in The Left Hand of Darkness. This time, however, the setting runs as far afield as the planets Werel and Yeowe, explained by the author in copious footnotes; and the roles of men and women are treated with much greater complexity and reality.

Curtis C. Smith,

updated by Lynda Schrecengost

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Le Guin, Ursula Kroeber

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (ûr´sələ krō´bər lə gwĬn´), 1929–, American writer, b. Berkeley, Calif.; daughter of anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber. Possessing a keen eye for physical and cultural detail, she uses science fiction to explore contemporary society. A prolific writer of both adult and children's fiction, she gained fame beginning in the 1960s with her series of books about beings from Hain, including Rocannon's World (1966), The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), The Dispossessed (1974), and The Telling (2000). She is also known for her cycle of Earthsea books, such as A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), The Tombs of Atuan (1971), Tehanu (1990), and Tales from Earthsea (2001). Le Guin is also an essayist and poet.

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"Le Guin, Ursula Kroeber." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Le Guin, Ursula Kroeber." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/le-guin-ursula-kroeber