9

First general information: Gethenians are androgynous for about 3 weeks every month (period called "somer"), then they develop gender (male or female - any Gethenian can both sire or bear children) based on pheromones produced by nearby people - exposed to male pheromones Getenian would turn female and vice versa. This time of the month is called &...


8

In the essay ‘A Description of Earthsea’, included in Tales of Earthsea, Le Guin writes: Among the Hardic-speaking people of the Archipelago, the ability to do magic is an inborn talent, like the gift for music, though far rarer. Most people lack it entirely. In a few people, perhaps one in a hundred, it is a latent, cultivable talent. In a very few people ...


6

The passage you quote comes only two pages after Ged's first encounter with terrifying magic: As he read it, puzzling out the runes and symbols one by one, a horror came over him. His eyes were fixed, and he could not lift them till he had finished reading all the spell. Then raising his head he saw it was dark in the house. He had been reading ...


5

A Wizard of Earthsea has a third-person narrator who is "omniscient" in the sense that the narration dips into the thoughts of multiple characters. But the narration is also limited in the sense that it purports to be a story told within the fictional world, and so the narrator doesn't know everything, for example: If Estarriol of Iffish kept his promise ...


5

The raven's words are never explicitly translated, but they are referenced later. In Chapter 6, "Hunted", of the same book A Wizard of Earthsea: Hope and mistrust struggled in Ged’s mind as he listened. A wizardly man soon learns that few indeed of his meetings are chance ones, be they for good or for ill. "In what land is the Court of the ...


5

The section "A Description of Earthsea" at the end of Tales from Earthsea (2001) is explicit about the hierarchy: Witchery was restricted to women. All magic practiced by women was called “base craft”, even when it included practices otherwise called “high arts,” such as healing, chanting, changing, etc. Witches were to learn only from one another ...


4

After some more searching I found Wikiquote's Zhuangzi page, which points out that the epigraph to chapter three is based upon James Legge's 1891 translation, where the passage (in Chuang Zu XXIII.7) reads as follows: Those whom Heaven helps we call the Sons of Heaven. Those who would by learning attain to this seek for what they cannot learn. Those who ...


4

Like others have mentioned, your definition of feminism is too narrow. For argument's sake, we might distinguish between feminist politics and feminist thought or philosophy. Considering the social distinctions between men and women and questioning them would be encompassed by the latter definition. Le Guin's novel does this in literary form. By positing a ...


4

Le Guin collaborated with James P. Seaton, professor emeritus of Chinese at UNC-Chapel Hill, who has translated other classical Chinese works (e.g. The Wine of Endless Life: Taoist Drinking Songs from the Yuan Dynasty.) She worked on her version for forty years, starting with Paul Carus' 1898 edition which listed Chinese characters side by side with English ...


4

1889: "To Whom This May Come", a short story by Edward Bellamy, originally published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, February 1889. An 1898 reprint is available at Project Gutenberg. Plot summary from Science-Fiction: The Early Years by Everett F. Bleiler: An island in the Indian Ocean. The protagonist is shipwrecked on an unknown island peopled by ...


4

I don't know what the earliest use of telepathy in a work of fiction is, but I don't think there was much in the way of fiction about whole societies of telepaths (without which the lying thing doesn't come into play, since if you're the only telepath in the room, you can still lie) until John W. Campbell became an influential figure in science fiction. ...


4

I read the first four Earthsea books in my adolescence, and in the last several years have been reading Le Guin's adult works and re-reading Earthsea. I would say that there is no strict order that you need to read them in aside from reading Earthsea novels chronologically. You do not need to read any of the Earthsea short stories before starting with A ...


4

The difference between Ogion’s mode of teaching and that of the School of Wizardry on Roke is a dramatization of the themes of A Wizard of Earthsea. There is a sense in which Ogion stands at the end of the metaphorical road that Ged has to travel in the course of the novel, and so the disagreement between the two of them in chapter 2 prefigures the lessons ...


4

As far as I know, she always went by Ursula K. Le Guin¹. This is not another case of Iain “Maybe” Banks. (By the way, K is not a middle initial, it's the initial of her maiden name. I don't know why she chose to write under that name.) At that time and even later many female SF authors hid the fact that they were female by using a pseudonym that either had ...


4

The Old Speech is not like other languages in the world of Earthsea. In "A Description of Earthsea", the last chapter of Tales from Earthsea (2001), Ursula Le Guin also calls it the True Speech and the Language of the Making ("with which Segoy created the islands of Earthsea at the beginning of time"). Here are a few other comments on the ...


3

Ideas can be frightening, and can hurt those who produce them. See for an example the ideas of Galileo, and where they got him - house imprisonment, banned from discussing the heliocentric view. Science fiction, on the other hand, can be frightening, but it is contained. It is fiction. Yet still, like all literature, it contains an idea - it conveys the ...


2

Gareth Rees's answer covers the most important points, i.e. how to become the sort of wizard that the school of Roke approved of. The last novel in the Earthsea cycle, The Other Wind, mentions that there is another category of wizards in the world of Earthsea. One of the people at Lebannon's court is Seppel, a wizard from Paln, whom many people try to avoid (...


2

In The Wind's Twelve Quarters (1975), Le Guin included an introduction to each story; the one for Winter's King goes into some detail to discuss the pronouns. It is short, copied out in full here: When I wrote this story, a year before I began the novel The Left Hand of Darkness, I did not know that the inhabitants of the planet Winter or Gethen were ...


1

It is feminist because none of the inhabitants of Gethen are male or female; they are both. As Genly is the principal narrator of the story, and comes from Terra, he automatically refers to everyone he meets as "he", as his established convention is to default to the male pronoun, and he is used to men running society. If he referred to all the Gethenians as ...


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