Art on Anarres

This quote from Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed resonates strongly with me:

“No distinction was drawn between the arts and the crafts; art was not considered as having a place in life, but as being a basic technique of life, like speech.”

(As with art, so with science.)

The quote is an excerpt from a description of the egalitarian culture of the protagonist’s homeland.

The book is a dialectical dissection of ideas about culture and society and belonging and belongings, told through the device of the main character’s attempt to bridge two very different but intimately related worlds. From my vantage point halfway through the book, the central question is whether the two peoples will be reunited – or whether the reuniter will ultimately find himself without a people. The title underscores that risk, and reminds me of the challenges faced by all who would seek compromise.

Posted on Sunday, April 3rd, 2011. Tags: , , , .