For reasons unknown, this region is home to some of the very best writers of science-fiction and fantasy: Frank Herbert (Dune), for example, and Ursula K. Le Guin (The Left Hand of Darkness, The Tombs of Atuan and many others).
Ursula K. Le Guin is hands down one of my all-time favorite authors. As I child I read all of her "children's" books which are deep and dark - they both entertained and disturbed me. Her sci-fi is just as good and her essays are outstanding. One of the first books I gave to the younger Frenchling when she expressed interest in becoming a writer was The Language of the Night which is a series of superb essays on fantasy and science fiction. In that collection is one that I have read and re-read many times over the course of my life called "The Child and the Shadow." It's an interpretation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a man who sends his shadow off to meet a beautiful girl in a house across the street because he's too afraid to go himself. His life is never the same after he loses the dark side and it doesn't end well. Le Guin described it as "a story about insanity, ending in humiliation and death." And the lesson to be learned from it?
"Reduced to the language of daylight, Andersen's story says that a man who will not confront and accept his shadow is a lost soul. It also says something specifically about itself, about art. It says that if you wish to enter the House of Poetry, you have to enter it in the flesh, the solid, imperfect, unwieldy body, which has corns and greeds and passions, the body that casts a shadow. It says that if the author ignores evil, he will never enter into the House of Light."I never met Le Guin when I was living in Seattle but Loic had an opportunity recently to do so at an event organized by one of Seattle's many fine public libraries. He wrote two posts about the encounter: Une soirée avec Ursula K. Le Guin and Une soirée avec Ursula K. Le Guin II.
I learned a few things from Loic's post. Le Guin is married to a Frenchman (I had no idea) and she does translations. The event, in fact, was a presentation of a partial English translation of Squaring the Circle by Gheorghe Sasarman.
And here is where it gets very interesting. Why a partial translation and not a complete one? Loic said that the second half of her answer to that question surprised him.
"L'autre raison est complètement différente: Ursula K. Le Guin n'a pas traduit certains textes car ils présentaient une vision de la femme qui la choquaient profondément."In other words, this woman author who was censored decided to censor someone else's work because she did not like what he had to say on a subject she felt strongly about.
(The other reason is completely different: Ursula K. Le Guin did not translate certain texts because they presented a vision of woman that profoundly shocked her.)
And I have to wonder if this means that Le Guin sent her own shadow out into the world while she did this work. Did she "ignore evil" by not translating words or ideas that shocked her? In doing this, did she cast herself out of the House of Light?
"Unadmitted to consciousness, the shadow is projected outward, onto others. There is nothing wrong with me - it's them... If the individual wants to live in the real world, he must withdraw his projections; he must admit that the hateful, the evil, exists within himself. "All good questions for a Monday morning. Read Loic's posts and, if it amuses you during the day, set your gray matter to answering them for yourself.