Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Happy Birthday, Ursula K Le Guin

I wanted to write a long post about Lavinia for today, but I haven't been able to. So this is just to say: happy 80th birthday, Ursula K Le Guin. Lavinia is one of the most rich, beautiful, intelligent and moving encounters with Vergil since he took Dante's hand and led him into the Inferno; 'The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas' has changed the way I and many of my students think about utopia, literature, and the social; 'The Author of the Acacia Seeds' has done the same for language, humanity, and the limits of communication; 'The Diary of the Rose', for dream and politics.

Not even to mention Earthsea, The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness.

Like so many other people in the world, I am profoundly and unrepayably in your debt. Thank you, and happy birthday!


Una McCormack said...

UKLG responds to birthday wishes!

Sarah said...

Hi - we met briefly at Bristol about a year ago at the Milton colloquium - we had an interesting chat about Blake's 7!

I very much enjoyed Lavinia too - perhaps particularly the first half - I would have liked more of that metafictional, almost sf, element with Lavinia actually talking to Virgil and seeing visions of the future. I'm working on the relationship between allusion and the uncanny and want to write something about Lavinia as part of a chapter on katabasis.

I would have loved to submit a proposal for your conference in July by the way but unfortunately it clashes with holiday plans.

Ika said...

Hi, Sarah - nice to see you!

Yes, I liked the first half of Lavinia better too - I had some reservations about her treatment of the older Ascanius, but I loved everything about Vergil and everything about Aeneas so much. So nice to see a sympathetic Aeneas!

I've actually ended up supervising two undergraduate dissertations on Lavinia this year, which is going to be very interesting, I think.