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Ursula K. Le Guin
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From Elfland to Poughkeepsie

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Paperback, 31 pages
Published June 1st 1973 by Pendragon Pr
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Mary Catelli
Leguin's classic essay on the importance of style, the dangers in going about it the wrong way, and its use in fantasy.

(Interesting to remember the era -- she speaks of the increasing availability of fantasy, in the midst of sparseness that readers who know only today know nothing of.)
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
an interesting, thought-provoking read. i don't necessarily agree 100% -- i think the fantasy genre has expanded a little too far & in too many directions to say that anything less than perfect formal prose is fantasy -- but also like. she's not wrong lmfao. people have gotten very lazy & it's easy to tell. ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this essay in The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction. Ursula K. Le Guin takes her work as a writer of fantasy very seriously, and it is because of this she is so renowned and respected. ...more
Zachary Keesey
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
"When fantasy is the real thing, nothing, after all, is realler." (P. 28) ...more
This little volume consists of a speech Ursula K. Le Guin gave in 1972 to the second annual Science Fiction Writers' Workshop, with an introduction by Vonda McIntyre. I'm not a huge fan of "how to write" books and courses, but everything I've read on the topic by Ursula Le Guin has been pertinent, humane, and beautifully written.[return][return]Here, she looks at the importance of style to fantasy, in transporting us away from Poughkeepsie and into Elfland. She illustrates the lecture with both ...more
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An essay arguing that the most essential part of Fantasy is the language, for in the language you could easily discern the writer's style.

"The style, of course, is the book. If you remove the cake, all you have left is a recipe. If you remove the style, all you have left is a synopsis of the plot" - Ursula K. Le Guin
Javier Maldonado
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ojalá todo escritor que pretenda escribir Fantasía leyera este ensayo. Yo mismo debí leerlo mucho tiempo atrás.
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Ursula K. Le Guin published twenty-two novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many awards: Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud, etc. Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia, an essay collection, Cheek by Jowl, and The Wild Girls. She lived in Portland, Orego ...more

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63 likes · 15 comments
“A fantasy is a journey. It is a journey into the subconscious mind, just as psychoanalysis is. Like psychoanalysis, it can be dangerous; and it will change you.” 2 likes
“Let us consider Elfland as a great national park, a vast and beautiful place where a person goes by himself, on foot, to get in touch with reality in a special, private, profound fashion. But what happens when it is considered merely as a place to "get away to"?

Well, you know what has happened to Yosemite. Everybody comes, not with an ax and a box of matches, but in a trailer with a motorbike on the back and a motorboat on top and a butane stove, five aluminum folding chairs, and a transistor radio on the inside. They arrive totally encapsulated in a secondhand reality. And then they move on to Yellowstone, and it's just the same there, all trailers and transistors. They go from park to park, but they never really go anywhere; except when one of them who thinks that even the wildlife isn't real gets chewed up by a genuine, firsthand bear.

The same sort of thing seems to be happening to Elfland, lately.”
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