Talk:Ursula K. Le Guin

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Writers-influenced-by section?[edit]

The one that leaps to (my) mind is Orson Scott Card, who refers to the ansible in "Ender's Game." Briankharvey 23:53, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

I disagree; I think that makes the article lose focus. I would say, if you can think of writers who specifically say that they've been influenced by her work or find research that discusses her influence on the genre, that's OK. --Mistsrider (talk) 02:42, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Another has been leaping into my mind on and off since I read the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. It seems more than just co-incidental that each main character travels to his respective "school of wizardry" by way of ancient forms of transportation emphasizing times long past. Their respective studies seem so similar in terms of "learning the true names of things as a means of "mastering" them" and the substance of the shadow world again seems so similar. Does anyone else think that some form of acknowledgement seems appropriate?Riktaylr (talk) 05:59, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

No, the idea that everyone has a true name that is intrinsically linked to their essence, and knowledge of which gives power over that person, is widespread in the world. I don't mean just in fiction, but in real-world belief and tradition, past and present. See the article. --Thnidu (talk) 03:36, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Editing the "themes" section[edit]

I just posted an edit to the "Themes" section. I think I managed to address a lot of the "Peacock" word issues, though it's far from fixed, please let me know what you think. As I got to the last couple of paragraphs, I realized I was having a hard time dealing with all the material on the Ekumen that has been added here. It seems to me that this should be a section primarily discussion themes across UKL's work, including the Ekumen novels, but isn't exactly the place for a detailed discussion of her approach to faster-than-light travel technology in these books. The page on the Hainish Cycle might be a better place for this information. I've left most of it, I'm too tired to figure it out now. please let me know what you think. Conurbation (talk) 10:19, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I made some corrections. The ansible was invented just before the formation of the League of Worlds, used by them and also by the later Ekumen. As far as I recall, we are not told whether or not the original Hainish expansion had it. My reading - though it's a point of view - is that we are to see the original expansion as being too dependent on technology and not respectful of human values.
I think that Rocannon's World and The Word for World is Forest are the only novels in which the ansible is seen to have a direct role in anything. In the first of these it is used to draw down lethal military force, rather different from the later themes. --GwydionM (talk) 18:25, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Cornubation, just followed the edits you did in the article history, really good job cleaning up the peacock word issues. I remember looking at that section myself a couple years back and being at a total loss where to start. I'm going to see if I can improve the flow of the Themes section and introduce some reliable sources. --Mistsrider (talk) 05:11, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

I just updated the Themes section, I didn't deleate anything, just moved two paragraphs around and added information about the underlying themes of anarchism and environmentalism in her works. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eliza Pearce (talkcontribs) 18:33, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

I suggest deleting or strengthening the first paragraph of the environmentalism subsection of the 'Themes' section which currently reads "Le Guin is a long-time resident of Portland, OR, the heart of the US environmental movement. This may be one reason that environmental themes often appear in her work." The first problem is that the Wikipedia article on Portland does not substantiate the claim that the city is the heart of the US environmental movement; that article states that "Portland has been recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world" - being a green city is not the same as being a center or the center of a movement. Furthermore, it's more likely that her formative years in the environmentally and socially conscious city of Berkeley influenced her writing - but without sources neither city should be cited as an influence... particularly given that Berkeley in the '40s and Portland in the '60s should not be assumed to have the same level of concern for the environmental awareness (and therefore influence on Le Guin) as they have today.Penelope Gordon (talk) 08:51, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Unintelligible sentence[edit]

"Such themes can place her work in the category of feminist science fiction,[8] but nescesairily so."

What does "nescesairily" mean? I cannot find a definition in Google Define, Webster's Online Dictionary or Wiktionary. If this word exists, it is very uncommon. It should be replaced with a more common one to make the article more accessible. Pgan002 (talk) 20:02, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

I'd call that a pretty obvious misspelling of "necessarily"...which makes no sense there. --Thnidu (talk) 03:43, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Difference between a pseudonym and a married name[edit]

Authors have the right to choose their pseudonyms and even to give them a whimsical pronunciation (for instance, Pablo Neruda used a Czech surname, but he gave it a Spanish pronunciation). However when a woman get married with a French husband, she accepts his last name with its pronunciation, she cannot modify it. I know Ursula K. Le Guin divorced from her French husband, but she kept her married name. So there is no reason for asking her how to pronounce her last name whether it is clearly French /lǝ gɛ̃/.

Hlnodovic (talk) 15:01, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

@Hlnodovic: Oh, is it? Even in America? Because they moved to the US, y'know, and she writes in English, not French, and [lǝ gɛ̃] isn't a possible English pronunciation. I happen to think people own their names, within reason, and that's not how she pronounces it.
Looking at your user page... In American English, we say
  • Victor Hugo: /ˈhjuːɡoʊ/, not [ygo:]
  • Napoléon Napoleon: /nəˈpoʊliən, -ˈpoʊljən/, not [napoleɔ̃]
  • Stefan Zweig: /'stɛfɑn zwaɪɡ/ or /...swaɪɡ/, not ['ʃtɛfan tsvaɪk]
I would guess that your surname is of Croat or Slavic origin, and that you pronounce it ['nodovit͡ʃ] or ['nodovic͡ç], but that most people you meet in Chile pronounce it [noðo'βik]. If that's the case, I sympathize with you and fully support your pronunciation, but I don't expect most Chileans to use it. I do my best to pronounce people's names as they prefer, but I'm a lifelong language geek and a career-long linguist. --Thnidu (talk) 01:37, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
Actually it is an Old High German given name and I pronounce it /ˈxlnodovik/, but most of people pronounce it /xlˈnoðoβik/ once they have heard me. Usually people suppose it is a Croatian last name and say /ˈnodoβit͡ʃ/, since Chileans are familiarised with Croatian names. I do not have Slavic heritage at all, but seemingly I look Slavic when I travel abroad since the staff pronounce the name as if it were Czech or Croat (and deliver me the brochures in Russian or speak me in Slovak). Even in John Wells's blog some members assumed I was a Serbian. Getting back to the topic, I do not expect people pronounce perfectly foreign names, an effort from their own sound system would be good enough.Hlnodovic (talk) 13:42, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

@Hlnodovic: I beg your pardon. That is interesting! And now that you mention OHG, I see the resemblance to "Lodovic" and similar names. I'd never seen an initial cluster like that, and I assumed that "Hl" represented your first and middle initials. And of course there are tons of Slavic surnames ending in -ović, which are a much more familiar sight to most than OHG given names.

Of course you're entitled to pronounce your last name with fidelity to its origins, and to request an attempt at cooperation from others. And by the same reckoning, UKL is entitled to pronounce her last name according to the phonology and orthography of the language of the country she lives in -- which is not the country of origin of the name -- and to spare other residents the difficulties attendant on an alien pronunciation with an incompatible orthography. This may be more self-evident in the United States, this great "melting pot" (as we call it) of immigrants from all over the world and their descendants, than in Chile or any other country I can think of.

Names in themselves are mindless inanimate objects. Unlike their bearers, names have no feelings, no rights. And that, together with the divorce and* the change of environment from la belle France to this nation of immigrants, is why I disagree with your opinion that "when a woman get married with a French husband, she accepts his last name with its pronunciation, she cannot modify it." --Thnidu (talk) 18:59, 9 August 2015 (UTC)

@Hlnodovic: In fact, no divorce. Scroll down a few lines. I don't know where that idea came from in the first place. And he's not French, either, as far as the sources go. They married in Paris and his surname is evidently French, as mine is German and your given name is Old High German. if it were Smith or Müller there'd be much less tendency to assume he was French. --Thnidu (talk) 04:30, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
@Hlnodovic: Fresh data, supporting the claim that it depends on where she is (or what language one is speaking); see new § below, #Pronouncing "Le Guin". --Thnidu (talk) 05:47, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Thank for the information. Well, the surname is Breton, apparently in old fashion spelling, so it should be pronounced like Breton (then its Americanised IPA transcription is right).Hlnodovic (talk) 00:47, 12 August 2015 (UTC)


The too-short Life ends, "Le Guin has lived in Portland, Oregon since 1958. She has three children." If she and Charles Le Guin divorced, that should be covered. --P64 (talk) 20:51, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
@P64: The Biographical Sketch on her own website says they didn't: "She married Charles A. Le Guin, a historian, in Paris in 1953; they have lived in Portland, Oregon, since 1958, and have three children and four grandchildren." Emphasis added. I've just added that sketch to the External links, as a sub-bullet of her website. --Thnidu (talk) 04:17, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Here's more evidence: Her blog, with the Christmas entries under "Annals of Pard (a cat) XIII", and especially the video clip Helping Charles Unwrap, titled more fully PardXmas-PardHelpsCharlesUnwrap-Computer.m4v. --Thnidu (talk) 04:46, 11 August 2015 (UTC)


See also #Worldcon GOH note (above). -P64

The awards section (discussed above in the Worldcon note), which could be the awards & honors section, is a bit dull and dry and doesn't really explain anything about her as an author. I suggest changing it to "Awards and Critical Reception" or maybe simply "Reception of her works" and incorporate actual reviews as well as all the actual awards. --Mistsrider (talk) 06:07, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

I have added the standard external link to her biography at the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
Our article section SFHOF lists annual classes [2001] with no reference except the official site --which currently gives no induction dates, not even years, for any but the current class.
Yes check.svg Done winter 2013 -P64
My quick google search for her SFHOF induction does not hit any contemporary coverage by professional news or by fans in attendance. Such coverage has been useful for a few other SFHOF members. --P64 (talk) 20:30, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
The list of selected works is cluttered by Awards data. (Maybe that will improve at little no cost if we replace paren with dash or delete all the sameyear/nextyear dates.(done) I haven't tried it.)
Done partly. Today I and cut from Selected works listings many repetitive words and links concerning awards. -P64
The same goes for the complete(?) Ursula K. Le Guin bibliography.
While each one may be notable, I doubt that all the awards for particular works should be noted in the biography of a writer who has won so many. Perhaps a complete list should only be part of the Bibliography and/or some should be listed only in the articles on particular books.
On the other hand, Le Guin placed second and third on the "All-Time Best Novels" polls by Locus magazine in 1987: The Left Hand of Darkness #2 science fiction behind Dune and The Wizard of Earthsea #3 fantasy behind Tolkien's pair.per ISFDB
I have written the latter into The Wizard of Earthsea and i'll write #2 SF into The Left Hand of Darkness now (with references). I'll leave her biography to others because there other Awards issues here (above). --P64 (talk) 20:20, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Done. Along the way I found a reference at instead of ISFDB.
"Locus Poll Best All-time Novel Results: 1987, sf novels". Locus. Retrieved 2012-04-12. Originally published in the monthly Locus, August 1987. 
• "Locus Poll Best All-time Novel Results" alternately displays the standings generated by three different subscriber polls.
--P64 (talk) 00:01, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Today I re-organized, re-worded, and expanded the Awards section. My four WP:COMMENTs in that section (copied here) both show the nature of the reorganization and suggest a possible improvement--that the Awards section should be inverted to beingbegin with other lifetime honors and end with annual book awards.
  • (1st par) !-- awards for particular works, perhaps should be last in this section -->
  • (2nd par) !-- career recognition, speculative fiction genre -->
  • (3rd par) !-- other lifetime honors, perhaps should lead this section -->
  • (ef Note) !-- strictly regional -->
Probably the Awards section should be relocated downward, perhaps as the last prose section prior to the Selected works.
--P64 (talk) 19:02, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done --Thnidu (talk) 14:19, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

Gedo Senki - Animation by Goro Miyazaki[edit]

I keep seeing the Author had "mixed feeling" about it. However, she's simply negative about it. If one were to read the whole EarthSea series, and saw Ged Senki, one would have a hard time making a connection at all. "she took issue with its moral delivery and plot execution?" There is no similarity in plot. "Taking an issue" is a great euphemism.

Following is what she wrote about the entirely different plot. "Don't ask the book's author 'Why did they . . . ?' She is wondering too."

"I kept trying to find and follow the story of my books while watching an entirely different story, confusingly enacted by people with the same names as in my story, but with entirely different temperaments, histories, and destinies."

Indeed, she did write, "Much of it is beautiful."

But she is an author. She does not draw, paint, or take pictures. She writes plots. She writes stories. Which is what books are for. And this wiki page is about plots she wrote in her books. Adaptation of her books, or anybody's stories, by definition, should have some resemblance of the stories she had written. Goro Miyazaki's work took characters' names and plot departed greatly from the EarthSea, to the level of incoherence. No wonder Ursula Le Guin wrote, "Much of it was, I thought, incoherent." That also is an understatement.

If one were to assign Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo to the characters of "Desperate Housewives," would that make it an adaptation of Star Wars? If one were to read through Earthsea series word for word, to the very last word, and watched Ged Senki by Goro Miyazaki, she/he would feel as if she had seen an episode of "Desperate Housewives" with Star Wars characters' names attached to characters. "Mixed feelings" about it? Desparate Housewives could win many awards for "beautiful" cinematography, but frankly, who would care when the plot was so vastly different from Star Wars? I would be surprised if anybody could understand it as the author having a "mixed feeling," after reading her response:

She didn't even like her first response of "It is not my book. It is your movie. It is a good movie" being interpreted as her having liked the animated movie at all. Ursula Le Guin's words like "Anger and disappointment attended the making of this film" did not portray anything like "mixed feelings." How could "Anger and disappointment" change into "Mixed feelings?" That is as much mystery as Earthsea turning into Ged Senki. Hans-Vonluck 03:17, 8 December 2010 (UTC)Hans Von Luck

I did some rewriting of this article, drawing on Le Guin's own blog entry on it - and did my best to present a clearer picture of her reaction the the film which was an appreciation for how it looked and how well it was animated, but great dislike for how it had deviated from her own stories. --ScientificBuccaneer (talk) 10:48, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
@ScientificBuccaneer: Very well presented. --Thnidu, a fan of hers since the seventies (talk) 14:50, 7 August 2015 (UTC)


I remember reading a book or story by her of a civilization of Lesbians who lived on floating islands. Can anyone tell me the name of that story? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Skysong263 (talkcontribs) 04:08, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Influenced by Le Guin's work[edit]

I can think of a science fiction series (V 2009) and a major film (Avatar) that remind me of the story Paradises Lost and The Word for World is Forest, respectively. In the first, a civilisation of spaceship-dwellers who adhere to a religion called Bliss, and in the second, an arboreal society who manage to repel colonists. Has anyone found reliable sources where these influences or inspirations have been noted? Totorotroll (talk) 08:01, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Pronouncing "Le Guin"[edit]

The article has a very good reference already for how she pronounces her surname, "How to Pronounce Me" from her website.(Le Guin, Ursula. "How to Pronounce Me". Retrieved March 22, 2014. ) Here she tells an interviewer that it depends on the country:

Q: Do you pronounce your name the French way or, as most of your fans do, Luh Gwinn?
UKL: Een zees country we say Luh Gwinn. En France nous disons Le Guin, comme le vin or le gain; et en Bretagne - c'est un nom breton - je crois que c'est encore Luh Gwinn. (Like Gwyn in Welsh - I think it's the same word.) It is all my husband's fault, anyhow.
("Chronicles of Earthsea", The Guardian, retrieved March 22, 2014 )

That is:

[in French accent:] In this country we say Luh Gwinn (/ləˈɡwɪn/).
[in French:] In France we say Le Guin /ləgɛ̃ / like le vin (the wine) or le gain (the profit); and in Brittany – it's a Breton name — I think it's Luh Gwinn (/ləˈɡwɪn/) again.
[in English:] Like Gwyn in Welsh - I think it's the same word. It is all my husband's fault, anyhow.

I don't see that it's necessary to put this on the page, but here it is as a resource. --Thnidu (talk) 05:40, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Charles Le Guin's nationality[edit]

I mentioned these ongoing discussions to an acquaintance, who replied with overwhelming, well-documented proof that Charles Le Guin was not French but American. I quote here from his email:

UKL met her husband while they were both Fulbright scholars bound for Paris in 1953. "a young historian named Charles LeGuin, a tall, handsome Georgian with a flattop who was studying at Emory University in Atlanta." - Julie Phillips [also biographer of Alice Sheldon aka James Tiptree Jr], in an untitled biographical article in 80!: Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin, ed. Karen Joy Fowler and Debbie Notkin (Seattle: Aqueduct Press, 2010), p. 171. Possibly the fact that they were in Paris when they got married has confused people. It was the French registrar who was responsible for insisting on the space between the "Le" and the "Guin".[*] Later: "In the summer of 1954, the Le Guins returned to the United States ... took the train to Macon, Georgia, Charles's hometown. Charles got a job teaching history at Mercer University in Macon, and Ursula was hired as an instructor in French." - Phillips, op. cit, p. 173-4. [boldface emphasis added --Thnidu (talk)]
Also, there's his edition of his grandmother's diaries.

* Although Charles's grandmother's diary also spells the name with a space, "Le Guin".

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Thnidu (talkcontribs) 23:03, August 10, 2015‎

Sociology, anthropology and psychology[edit]

I undid Icarus of old's good-faith but mistaken revision 691387917 to § Sociology, anthropology and psychology.

  1. Planet of Exile, City of Illusion, & The Word for World Is Forest, 3 of the 4 books whose mentions were deleted, are not mentioned at beginning of the section; only The Dispossessed is.
  2. All of LeGuin's characters except the Shing are of Hainish origin, i.e., human: we Terrans are of unmodified Hainish stock, possibly as an experiment to see how Hainish seed might have evolved differently. (I'm pretty sure a character in one of the books speculated on this, but don't ask me for a ref.) This is an important element of the series, which I made explicit in the just-previous revision, which Icarus of old was largely concerned with reverting. In fact, I'd call it an essential element, and have brought it out more clearly in this edit:
    a loose collection of societies, of various related human species (see Hainish Cycle)
If her protagonists were not fundamentally like us (though with some differences), how could we identify with them so closely, and how would these stories be matters of "sociology, anthropology and psychology" at all?

--Thnidu (talk) 21:08, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

I was more worried about the typo introduced in your edit. All best. Icarus of old (talk) 21:13, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
@Icarus of old: Ah, I see. Thanks for that. --Thnidu (talk) 19:20, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

no mention of the Earthsea series on this page until the "Adaptations of her work" section[edit]

It seems very odd to me that there is no mention of the Earthsea series on this page until the "Adaptations of her work" section. Why isn't it mentioned in the "Writing career" section? (talk) 23:43, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done --Orange Mike | Talk 00:30, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

Women in green[edit]

This article has been tagged by Wikipedia:WikiProject Women/Women in Green as a vital article to bring up to GA status. I'm interested, and wanted to ping the talk page to see if any other editors who have this page watchlisted would like to collaborate on such a project. Montanabw(talk) 05:43, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

Le Guin on Tolkien[edit]

May be of interest/use for this article: Rhythmic Patterning in The Lord of the Rings by Ursula K. LeGuin (an excerpt from the essay collection Meditations on Middle-earth). Carcharoth (talk) 11:52, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

Library Of America[edit]

"The Complete Orsinia" has just been published by the Library of America. I think this should be added to the article but i'm not sure under which section. It's not exactly an award. Does it warrant it's own section? Phersh (talk) 04:04, 31 August 2016 (UTC)