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Ursula K. Le Guin,

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  • odzer@aol.com
    ... If you have Le Guin s critical books handy, a few quotes would go down well. This one, which I have handy from a post I made recently to another list,
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 7, 2002
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      >>
      If you have Le Guin's critical books handy, a few quotes would go down
      well. This one, which I have handy from a post I made recently to another
      list, isn't directly addressed at Turkle's point but is useful anyway:

      "I shall never cease to wonder at the critics who find Tolkien a 'simple'
      writer. What marvelously simple minds they must have!" - Ursula K. Le
      Guin, "Science Fiction and Mrs. Brown"



      ‘What kind of answer, after all, is it to drop a magic ring into an imaginary
      volcano? No ideologues, not even religious ones, are going to be happy with
      Tolkien, unless they manage it by misreading him. For like all great artists
      he escapes ideology by being too quick for its nets, too complex for its
      grand simplicities, too fantastic for its rationality, too real for its
      generalizations.’

      U.K. LeGuin
    • SusanPal@aol.com
      My favorite of Le Guin s statements on Tolkien is in her essay The Child and the Shadow, which I routinely teach; I don t have in front of me at the moment,
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 8, 2002
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        My favorite of Le Guin's statements on Tolkien is in her essay "The Child and
        the Shadow," which I routinely teach; I don't have in front of me at the
        moment, though, so I can't quote it. She deals directly with the "fantasy is
        simple" misapprehension.

        But while I'm honored that David thinks I should write a letter to Sherry
        Turkle, I'm wondering if there's really any point. I suppose I've gotten
        weary of arguing with anti-fantasists, largely because I've never found any
        argument that would convince them. It's a lot like discussing faith with
        non-believers: they just Don't Get It, not because they're bad people, but
        because their brains don't work that way, or something. It's like playing a
        piece of gorgeous music for someone who's tone-deaf; it's a perception or
        processing problem.

        Also, Le Guin's preaching to the converted, and the anti-fantasy folk to whom
        I''ve given her work have had the same negative reaction to it that they had
        to fantasy in the first place, perhaps because she tends to insult them.
        "What marvelously simple minds they must have!" Well, even if the people on
        this list agree with that statement, is it likely to do anything other than
        annoy Sherry Turkle? How would you feel if someone told you that you had a
        marvelously simple mind? (Well, we know how we feel when Sherry Turkle
        accuses us of it, right?)

        In short, this is a really thorny rhetorical problem. If anyone's found a
        way to convince anti-fantasists that they should give the stuff a try (and
        stop dissing it in the meantime), I'd love to hear about your experiences!
        (And maybe *you* should write to Sherry Turkle.)

        But perhaps I'm just discouraged after an evening of reading really bad
        undergraduate essays.

        *Sigh*

        Susan
      • David E. Cote
        ... From: To: Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 3:08 AM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Ursula K. Le Guin, ... and ... is ... I
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 8, 2002
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: <SusanPal@...>
          To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 3:08 AM
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Ursula K. Le Guin,


          > My favorite of Le Guin's statements on Tolkien is in her essay "The Child
          and
          > the Shadow," which I routinely teach; I don't have in front of me at the
          > moment, though, so I can't quote it. She deals directly with the "fantasy
          is
          > simple" misapprehension.

          I have read some of these essays- are they collected anywhere?

          > Also, Le Guin's preaching to the converted, and the anti-fantasy folk to
          whom
          > I''ve given her work have had the same negative reaction to it that they
          had
          > to fantasy in the first place, perhaps because she tends to insult them.
          > "What marvelously simple minds they must have!" Well, even if the people
          on
          > this list agree with that statement, is it likely to do anything other
          than
          > annoy Sherry Turkle? How would you feel if someone told you that you had
          a

          Why isn't that worthwhile per se? :)
        • Margaret Dean
          ... THE LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT collects that one and a number of others (including the famous From Elfland to Poughkeepsie ). I don t know if it s still in
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 8, 2002
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            "David E. Cote" wrote:
            >
            > From: <SusanPal@...>
            >
            > > My favorite of Le Guin's statements on Tolkien is in her essay "The Child
            > > and the Shadow," which I routinely teach; I don't have in front of me at
            > > the moment, though, so I can't quote it. She deals directly with the
            > > "fantasy is simple" misapprehension.
            >
            > I have read some of these essays- are they collected anywhere?

            THE LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT collects that one and a number of
            others (including the famous "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie"). I
            don't know if it's still in print, but it couldn't hurt to check
            Amazon, or failing that, Bibliofind.


            --Margaret Dean
            <margdean@...>
          • SusanPal@aol.com
            In a message dated 3/8/2002 7:00:25 AM Pacific Standard Time, ... THE LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT, as Margaret mentioned; also DANCING AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, a
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 8, 2002
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              In a message dated 3/8/2002 7:00:25 AM Pacific Standard Time,
              davidecote@... writes:


              > I have read some of these essays- are they collected anywhere?
              >
              THE LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT, as Margaret mentioned; also DANCING AT THE EDGE OF
              THE WORLD, a more recent collection.


              > > Also, Le Guin's preaching to the converted, and the anti-fantasy folk to
              > whom
              > > I''ve given her work have had the same negative reaction to it that they
              > had
              > > to fantasy in the first place, perhaps because she tends to insult them.
              > > "What marvelously simple minds they must have!" Well, even if the people
              > on
              > > this list agree with that statement, is it likely to do anything other
              > than
              > > annoy Sherry Turkle? How would you feel if someone told you that you had
              > a
              >
              > Why isn't that worthwhile per se? :)

              Um, because the first rule of intellectual argument is that you don't
              (deliberately) insult the people you're trying to convince, because then they
              won't listen to you?

              Susan



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • David S. Bratman
              Susan - I m not interested in persuading Turkle to enjoy fantasy, I just want her to stop mischaracterizing it. I didn t think that particular quote by Le
              Message 6 of 8 , Mar 8, 2002
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                Susan -

                I'm not interested in persuading Turkle to enjoy fantasy, I just want her
                to stop mischaracterizing it. I didn't think that particular quote by Le
                Guin was on the mark, it was just the one I had handy. But it shouldn't be
                difficult to find relevant quotes that show that Tolkien is subtler than a
                mechanistic computer game and that women can find his work rewarding.

                You note a strong allergy among science-fiction writers to the most
                innocent fantasy tropes. I suspect they've developed this allergy through
                fear of their hard-wired technophilic future-oriented literature being
                taken over by medievalist fantasy, much of which is very bad, and which has
                cast a retroactive shadow over even Tolkien. Have you seen China
                Mieville's interview in the new Locus? This is a guy who wouldn't be
                attuned to medievalist fantasy in the first place - I mean, he's a Marxist
                activist - but he disses Tolkien in terms that make it sound as if all he
                actually knows are the cheap lousy imitations.

                Some times ago, I told some science-fiction readers that while I preferred
                fantasy, I thought that bad fantasy was right now a much bigger threat to
                the quality of the imaginative-literature/spec-fic/whatever field than bad
                science-fiction is. And they said that I was the only fantasy reader they
                knew who admitted that there WAS such a thing as bad fantasy.


                Trudy -

                Anybody who might enjoy _Lives of the Monster Dogs_ would have no trouble
                with fantasy per se, though they might find both Le Guin and Tolkien to be
                too much sweetness-and-light. Strange as such a judgment might seem to
                anybody else.


                David Cote -

                You want, as others have mentioned, Le Guin's essay collection _The
                Language of the Night_. This contains "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie", "The
                Child and the Shadow", "The Staring Eye", and "Science Fiction and Mrs.
                Brown", four of her five major statements on Tolkien (though most of these
                are not _just_ about Tolkien). The fifth is in the new book _Meditations
                on Middle-earth_ edited by Karen Haber. There is, as I recall, little or
                nothing about Tolkien in Le Guin's other essay collection, _Dancing at the
                Edge of the World_.


                - David Bratman
              • ERATRIANO@aol.com
                ... Um, because the first rule of intellectual argument is that you don t (deliberately) insult the people you re trying to convince, because then they won t
                Message 7 of 8 , Mar 8, 2002
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                  > Why isn't that worthwhile per se? :)

                  Um, because the first rule of intellectual argument is that you don't
                  (deliberately) insult the people you're trying to convince, because then they

                  won't listen to you?

                  Not just that, but annoying people is really best done in person...

                  Lizzie ;-)


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • David E. Cote
                  ... From: To: Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 11:31 AM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Ursula K. Le Guin, ... OF ... Thanks!
                  Message 8 of 8 , Mar 8, 2002
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                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: <SusanPal@...>
                    To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 11:31 AM
                    Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Ursula K. Le Guin,


                    > In a message dated 3/8/2002 7:00:25 AM Pacific Standard Time,
                    > davidecote@... writes:
                    >
                    >
                    > > I have read some of these essays- are they collected anywhere?
                    > >
                    > THE LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT, as Margaret mentioned; also DANCING AT THE EDGE
                    OF
                    > THE WORLD, a more recent collection.

                    Thanks!

                    > > > Also, Le Guin's preaching to the converted, and the anti-fantasy folk
                    to
                    > > whom
                    > > > I''ve given her work have had the same negative reaction to it that
                    they
                    > > had
                    > > > to fantasy in the first place, perhaps because she tends to insult
                    them.
                    > > > "What marvelously simple minds they must have!" Well, even if the
                    people
                    > > on
                    > > > this list agree with that statement, is it likely to do anything other
                    > > than
                    > > > annoy Sherry Turkle? How would you feel if someone told you that you
                    had
                    > > a
                    > >
                    > > Why isn't that worthwhile per se? :)
                    >
                    > Um, because the first rule of intellectual argument is that you don't
                    > (deliberately) insult the people you're trying to convince, because then
                    they
                    > won't listen to you?

                    Have to polish up my use of irony apparently.
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