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DAVIS, Laurence & Peter STILLMAN (eds.), The New Utopian Politics of Ursula K. le Guin’s The Dispossessed
Article published on 18 December 2006

by r-c.
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Ursula Le Guin
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Lanham (MD), Lexington Books, 2005, xxvii, 324 pages.

"For three decades Le Guin’s The Dispossessed has inspired debates about competing ideologies, about notions of gender, about space-time continuums, about forms of utopian expression-indeed about topics as broad as human communication and as intensely personal as the emotional epiphanies of the novel’s hero Shevek. So, to say that this lively first collection of essays about the book is welcome and long overdue is to make a grand understatement. Like Le Guin’s novel the collection is wide-ranging, open-ended, and provocative. It offers analyses of expected topics and images—anarchism, ecology, and walls, for instance— from multiple viewpoints, as well as discussions of important less-expected issues, notably consumerism. Contributors examine rich networks of connections and parallels between Le Guin’s thought and art and the works of Lao Tzu, Kropotkin, Paul Goodman, Marcuse, Hegel, Hannah Arendt, and French and Italian architects and designers. Le Guin’s essay, which concludes the collection, is a frank and feisty response to critics who reduce her novel to treatise status, and a complex advocacy of art that teaches. This fine collection will invigorate discussion of The Dispossessed and of Le Guin’s other works, especially Always Coming Home, and engage any serious reader of utopian and science fiction and political and social theory."—Kenneth M. Roemer, Author of The Obsolete Necessity, Build Your Own Utopia, America as Utopia, and Utopian Audiences


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