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Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Binding: Paperback / Publisher: Grove Press / Pub. Date: 1997-09-24 Attributes: Book, 320 pp / Stock#: 2049817 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places Paperback


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Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places + The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination + Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (September 24, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802135293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802135292
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chronologically arranged, these 33 talks and essays and 17 reviews of books and films, dating from 1976 through 1987, record Le Guin's responses to ethical and political climates, the transforming effect of certain literary ideas and the changes of a supple, disciplined mind. Aiming "to subvert as much as possible without hurting anybody's feelings," the noted science fiction writer eloquently discusses feminism, social responsibility, literature and travel. We read her deeply considered views on abortion, menopause, motherhood, family planning; censorship, criticism, myth in contemporary life, women writers, the reciprocity of prose and poetry, the language of power; the advantages and pleasures of travel by Amtrak; heroism in Scott and Amundsen; the ideas of Doris Lessing and Italo Calvino; and how science fiction addresses the issue of nuclear war.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Le Guin is one of the most important American fiction writers working today. With this anthology, which collects her essays, addresses, and reviews from the last decade, she demonstrates that she is also one of the most significant. These pieces, which include Le Guin's reflections on her own work, writing in general, women, and the world, comprise a record of recent history as experienced by one actor/observer whose social critique does not exclude self-analysis and revision. Le Guin is an irreverent demystifier of the industry currently known as "literary criticism" and a consummate storyteller who enlightens with her perfect weave of myth and fact, fantasy and common sense. Essential reading for anyone who imagines herself literate and/or socially concerned or who wants to learn what it means to be such. Mollie Brodsky, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, N.J.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book presents a body of one woman's opinions. This might not sound like much but, given that these are Ursula Le Guin's opinions, it is well worth reading. She writes entertainingly and even though she wants to make you think it does not hurt one bit. Given the dearth of decent criticism of Science Fiction available at student level prices this is an excellent introduction to the genre for them. It is probably the first time most of them will have discovered serious thought behind SF. She also addresses other issues, often concerning her own experiences and the problems of being a woman writer, which would make this a useful text for anyone interested in gender studies. To sum up, buy it; it is very good; you will read these essays more than once, guaranteed.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "botatoe" on April 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I had never read a word of Ursula K. Le Guin until I recently picked up "Dancing at the Edge of the World," a chronologically arranged collection of essays, talks and book reviews written by Le Guin during the period 1976 through 1988. It is a collection that is intended, in the author's words, "[to] provide a sort of mental biography, a record of responses to ethical and political climates, of the transforming effect of certain literary ideas, and of the changes of a mind."
Each of the essays listed in the table of contents is denoted with a glyph that categorizes the essay as dealing with feminism, social responsibility, literature, or travel. This categorization gives the reader a good idea of the range of the collection and of Le Guin's interests, which extend far beyond the science fiction genre for which she is most well known.
The quality of the essays is uneven. Some of the travel pieces are soporific ("Places Names," "Along the Platte" and "Over the Hills and a Great Way Off"), although they might be more interesting to readers who have been to the places Le Guin describes. Other pieces seem to suffer from the loss caused by transforming what were originally spoken presentations into writing. The feminist writings in some cases are the victim of changing times. What is useful, however, even in these weaker pieces, are Le Guin's introductions, which provide a useful contextual background that helps the reader understand the import of the essay.
While some of the essays are unremarkable, there also are several exceptional writings that are worth the price of admission.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Vesna from how-to-cook-with-vesna .com on May 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
Around pp. 165-167, in the essay "The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction," LeGuin discusses the possibility that the first human invention was not the weapon, but the container -- the sling, the sack, the bag, the carrier. (I remembered it as "the vessel," but that term doesn't appear in the book.) What good is generating a lot of stuff to eat if you don't have any way to get it back to camp? She argues the point persuasively and passionately.

I read this book in 1991 or 1992, nearly 20 years ago. I've not seen the idea anywhere else (although she cites an anthropologist writing in 1975) but it has shaped my perception since. Not to diminish the rest of the book, but this single idea in this one essay is, I believe, worth getting the whole book for.
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Format: Paperback
Dancing at the End of the World - Ursula K. Le Guin [2014-03-10 513]

"Dancing at the End of the World" (1989) is a collection of essays, talks, reviews and some travel notes by the highly esteemed author Ursula K. Le Guin. For many years I have greatly admired her novels particularly "The Lathe of Heaven". I am cautiously optimistic that by reading non-fiction books by authors I hold in high esteem I may become more nuanced in my appreciation of their fiction.

I sought out this book because I had reviewed the table of contents on the ISFDB (Internet Science Fiction Data Base) and I greatly desired to read a couple of items - a book review of a C.S. Lewis collection and an essay titled "Where Do you Get Your Ideas From". Both readings were informative but the essay was of particularly interest. To summarize ideas flow up from the subconscious and are an amalgamation of life experiences.

I surveyed the book from cover to cover sampling a page or two from each entry. To be honest, with one exception, and the two pieces noted I passed on the other writings. The unexpected gem of this book for this reader was a diary like essay about Ms. LeGuin's experiences during filming of her novel "The Lathe of Heaven" - note the 1980 version! Very interesting and informative indeed to this reader since I was not previously aware it had be make into a movie and as it turns out twice - but that's another story altogether.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
I had never read a word of Ursula K. Le Guin until I recently picked up "Dancing at the Edge of the World," a chronologically arranged collection of essays, talks and book reviews written by Le Guin during the period 1976 through 1988. It is a collection that is intended, in the author's words, "[to] provide a sort of mental biography, a record of responses to ethical and political climates, of the transforming effect of certain literary ideas, and of the changes of a mind."
Each of the essays listed in the table of contents is denoted with a glyph that categorizes the essay as dealing with feminism, social responsibility, literature, or travel. This categorization gives the reader a good idea of the range of the collection and of Le Guin's interests, which extend far beyond the science fiction genre for which she is most well known.
The quality of the essays is uneven. Some of the travel pieces are soporific ("Places Names," "Along the Platte" and "Over the Hills and a Great Way Off"), although they might be more interesting to readers who have been to the places Le Guin describes. Other pieces seem to suffer from the loss caused by transforming what were originally spoken presentations into writing. The feminist writings in some cases are the victim of changing times. What is useful, however, even in these weaker pieces, are Le Guin's introductions, which provide a useful contextual background that helps the reader understand the import of the essay.
While some of the essays are unremarkable, there also are several exceptional writings that are worth the price of admission.
Read more ›
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