Further information: Richard Bodman: Four by Ursula LeGuin
A Wizard of Earthsea 183 pp.
The Left Hand of Darkness 286 pp.
The Dispossessed 341 pp. pb
Lavinia 279 pp. pb
New copies of these books will be available at Content in Northfield. Anyone who prefers used copies needs to search online (see bookfinder.com, for example). The instructor will also provide periodic handouts via email.
Schedule of topics and activities (subject to revision):
Week 1: Introduction to the class and to the author.
Mini-lecture & discussion: What is fantasy? What is magic?
Read and discuss A Wizard of Earthsea, chaps 1-5.
Discuss: Le Guin, Preface to The Left Hand of Darkness
Optional viewing: (from YouTube): Neil Geiman presents lifetime achievement award to Ursula K. Le Guin at 2014 National Book Awards (11.36)
Poems: “Merlin” from Le Guin, So Far So Good, 2018; “A Hawk Roosting” by Ted Hughes, Lupercal, 1960; “A Dragon’s Hoard” from Le Guin, Hard Words, 1981; “Marrow” ibid. (shared via email)
Week 2: Mini-lecture & discussion: The self, the unconscious, the shadow
Read and discuss A Wizard of Earthsea, chaps. 6-10.
Read R. Bodman, “A Wizard of Earthsea: A Readers’ Guide” ca. 30 pp. (shared via email)
Optional reading: “The Child and the Shadow” “Dreams Must Explain Themselves” from Le Guin, The Language of the Night
Poem: Westering, from So Far So Good
Week 3: Mini-lecture & discussion: What is sci-fi?
Read and discuss: The Left Hand of Darkness, chaps 1-10.
Read readers’ guide for The Left Hand of Darkness, first half
Optional reading: “Is Gender Necessary? Redux” from Le Guin, The Language of the Night
Poems on writing: “To Her Task Master” “My Job” from Late in the Day; “The Mind Is Still” from Hard Words
Week 4: Mini-lecture: Le Guin and the Orient
Read and discuss: The Left Hand of Darkness, chaps 11-20.
Read reader’s guide, second half
Poems: It Used to Be, from So Far So Good
Week 5: Mini-lecture: Anarchism
Read and discuss The Dispossessed, chaps 1-6.
Read readers’ guide, first half
Poems: Whiteness; 2014: A Hymn, from Late in the Day; October 11, 1491, from Sixty-Odd
Week 6: Mini-lecture: The U.S. in the early 70s; simultaneity.
Read and discuss The Dispossessed, chaps 7-13.
Read readers’ guide, second half
Poems: The Small Indian Pestle at the Applegate House
Week 7: Mini-lecture: Vergil and the Aeneid
Read and discuss Lavinia, pp. 1-141.
Poems: To the Rain; Outsight; Night; Leaves; from So Far So Good.
Week 8: Discussion: Ursula Le Guin in old age
Read and discuss Lavinia, pp,. 141-279.
Poems: The Desert Crossing; Walking the Maze; Looking Back; from So Far So Good