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Womanspace: The underground and the labyrinth in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea narratives

Show simple item record Douglas, Lynette Byrne, Deirdre 2014-05-15T05:54:27Z 2014-05-15T05:54:27Z 2014-05-15
dc.description.abstract Ursula K. Le Guin’s renowned Earthsea cycle, spanning 20 years and five texts, is often acknowledged to be a textual space for the creative exploration and interrogation of gender. The two spaces in the title – ‘earth’ and ‘sea’ – are held in equilibrium, both by the author’s craft and by magic. Unfortunately, though, few critics have explored how these spaces function in the narrative. In this article, we explore the representation of underground spaces and labyrinths as meaningful landscapes in the Earthsea cycle. These spaces are found throughout Le Guin’s Earthsea fiction, but are foregrounded in four narratives: ‘The finder’ and ‘The bones of the earth’ (Tales from Earthsea), The Tombs of Atuan and The Other Wind. Le Guin’s writing consistently identifies the earth as feminine, in keeping with the archetype of ‘Mother Earth’, and we find that subterranean spaces and labyrinths are depicted as sites of power and empowerment for women. Nevertheless, we argue that Le Guin’s affinity for gender equity and balance prevents these tropes from becoming another tired revisioning of an easy equation of earthy forces and ‘the feminine’. Rather, for Le Guin, the underground and the labyrinth are sites of union between masculine and feminine elements and characters, through the empowerment of the feminine. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION en
dc.subject Ursula Le Guin, Earthsea series, underground, labyrinth, power of the feminine, Mother Earth, synthesis, second wave feminism, gender, en
dc.title Womanspace: The underground and the labyrinth in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea narratives en
dc.type Article en
dc.description.department English Studies en

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