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31

On Fantasy and Science Fiction

1
terms
4
notes

K. Le Guin, U. (1979). On Fantasy and Science Fiction. In K. Le Guin, U. Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction. G.P. Putnam's Sons, pp. 31-126

31

We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel - or have done and thought and felt; or might do and think and feel - is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become. A person who had never known another human being [...] could not know anything about himself, no matter how long he lived with himself. And a person who had never listened to nor read a tale or myth or parable or story, would remain ignorant of his own emotional and spiritual heights and depths, would not know fully what it is to be human. [...]

—p.31 by Ursula K. Le Guin 4 years, 6 months ago

We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel - or have done and thought and felt; or might do and think and feel - is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become. A person who had never known another human being [...] could not know anything about himself, no matter how long he lived with himself. And a person who had never listened to nor read a tale or myth or parable or story, would remain ignorant of his own emotional and spiritual heights and depths, would not know fully what it is to be human. [...]

—p.31 by Ursula K. Le Guin 4 years, 6 months ago
64

[...] the shadow stands on the threshold. We can let it bar the way to the creative depths of the unconscious, or we can let it lead us to them. For the shadow is not simply evil [...] without it, the person is nothing. What is a body that casts no shadow? Nothing, a formlessness, two-dimensional, a comic-strip character. The person who denies his own profound relationship with evil denies his own reality. He cannot do, or make; he can only undo, unmake.

—p.64 by Ursula K. Le Guin 4 years, 6 months ago

[...] the shadow stands on the threshold. We can let it bar the way to the creative depths of the unconscious, or we can let it lead us to them. For the shadow is not simply evil [...] without it, the person is nothing. What is a body that casts no shadow? Nothing, a formlessness, two-dimensional, a comic-strip character. The person who denies his own profound relationship with evil denies his own reality. He cannot do, or make; he can only undo, unmake.

—p.64 by Ursula K. Le Guin 4 years, 6 months ago
66

[...] There is no right way to act when you're the hero or heroine of a fairy tale. There is no system of conduct, there are no standards of what a nice prince does and what a good little girl doesn't do. I mean, do good little girls usually push old ladies into baking ovens, and get rewarded for it? [...]

In the fairy tale, though there is no "right" and "wrong", there is a different standard, which is perhaps best called "appropriateness." [...] under the conditions of fairy tale, in the language of the archetypes, we can say with perfect conviction that it may be appropriate to do so. Because, in those terms, the witch is not an old lady, nor is Gretel a little girl. Both are psychic factors, elements of the complex soul. Gretel is the archaic child-soul, innocent, defenseless; the witch is the archaic crone, the possessor and destroyer, the mother who feeds you cookies and who must be destroyed before she eats you like a cookie, so that you can grow up and be a mother too. [...]

—p.66 by Ursula K. Le Guin 4 years, 6 months ago

[...] There is no right way to act when you're the hero or heroine of a fairy tale. There is no system of conduct, there are no standards of what a nice prince does and what a good little girl doesn't do. I mean, do good little girls usually push old ladies into baking ovens, and get rewarded for it? [...]

In the fairy tale, though there is no "right" and "wrong", there is a different standard, which is perhaps best called "appropriateness." [...] under the conditions of fairy tale, in the language of the archetypes, we can say with perfect conviction that it may be appropriate to do so. Because, in those terms, the witch is not an old lady, nor is Gretel a little girl. Both are psychic factors, elements of the complex soul. Gretel is the archaic child-soul, innocent, defenseless; the witch is the archaic crone, the possessor and destroyer, the mother who feeds you cookies and who must be destroyed before she eats you like a cookie, so that you can grow up and be a mother too. [...]

—p.66 by Ursula K. Le Guin 4 years, 6 months ago
78

[...] Nothing is more personal, more unshareable, than pain; the worst thing about suffering is that you suffer alone. Yet those who have not suffered, or will not admit that they suffer, are those who are cut off in cold isolation from their fellow men. Pain, the loneliest experience, gives rise to sympathy, to love: the bridge between self and other, the means of communion. So with art. The artist who goes into himself most deeply - and it is a painful journey - is the artist who touches us most closely, speaks to us most clearly.

—p.78 by Ursula K. Le Guin 4 years, 6 months ago

[...] Nothing is more personal, more unshareable, than pain; the worst thing about suffering is that you suffer alone. Yet those who have not suffered, or will not admit that they suffer, are those who are cut off in cold isolation from their fellow men. Pain, the loneliest experience, gives rise to sympathy, to love: the bridge between self and other, the means of communion. So with art. The artist who goes into himself most deeply - and it is a painful journey - is the artist who touches us most closely, speaks to us most clearly.

—p.78 by Ursula K. Le Guin 4 years, 6 months ago

a thing that is very old or old-fashioned (i.e., archaic)

90

That prose, in spite of or because of its archaisms, is good prose: exact, clear, powerful.

—p.90 by Ursula K. Le Guin
notable
4 years, 6 months ago

That prose, in spite of or because of its archaisms, is good prose: exact, clear, powerful.

—p.90 by Ursula K. Le Guin
notable
4 years, 6 months ago