Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ursula Le Guin: Part III

I believe I said that there was a book by Ursula Le Guin I had to find and read at some point. It would appear I was mistaken.

There were two. And one of them finally gave me a name for a collection of Tolkien's literary criticism, which I've found surprisingly hard to find...

From Cheek by Jowl:

-"The mandarins of modernism and some of the pundits of postmodernism were shocked to be told that a fantasy trilogy by a professor of philology is the best-loved English novel of the twentieth century."
-"To throw a book out of serious consideration because it was written for children, or because it is read by children, is in fact a monstrous act of anti-intellectualism. But it happens daily in academia."
-"What fantasy often does that the realistic novel generally cannot do is include the nonhuman as essential."
-"What reality may be, what really happened, we cannot tell; what we can tell is the story, the infinitely flexible, wonderfully rearrangeable, extremely useful story. With it we remake reality."

And from The Language of the Night:

-"I think we have a terrible thing here: a hardworking, upright, responsible citizen, a full-grown, educated person, who is afraid of dragons, and afraid of hobbits, and scared to death of fairies. It's funny, but it's also terrible."
-"Some people can talk on the telephone. They must really believe in the thing. For me the telephone is for making appointments with the doctor with and canceling appointments with the dentist with. It is not a medium of human communication. I can't stand there in the hall with the child and the cat both circling around my legs frisking and purring and demanding cookies and catfood, and explain to a disembodied voice in my ear that the Jungian spectrum of introvert/extrovert can usefully be applied not only to human beings but also to authors. That is, there are some authors who want and need to tell about themselves, you know, like Norman Mailer, and there are others who want and need privacy. Privacy!"
-"The way of art, after all, i neither to cut adrift from the emotions, the senses, the body, etc., and to sail off into the void of pure meaning, nor to blind the mind's eye and wallow in irrational, amoral meaninglessness--but to keep open the tenuous, difficult, essential connections between the two extremes."
-"I invite you to meditate on a pair of sisters. Emily and Charlotte. Their life experience was an isolated vicarage in a small, dreary English village, a couple of bad years at a girls' school, another year or two in Brussels, which is surely the dullest city in all of Europe, and a lot of housework. Out of that seething mass of raw, vital, brutal, gutsy Experience they made two of the greatest novels ever written: Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights."
-"You may have gathered from all this that I am not encouraging people to try to be writers. Well, I can't. You hate to see a nice young person run up to the edge of a cliff and jump off, you know. On the other hand, it is awfully nice to know that some other people are just as nutty and just as determined to jump off the cliff as you are. You just hope they realize what they're in for."