Ursula K. Le Guin; The Complete Orsinia; Malafrena Stories and Songs
Le Guin, Ursula K.
The Library of America inaugurates its Ursula K. Le Guin edition with this first-of-its-kind collection of the complete Orsinian cycle, restored to print for the first time in decades
Before she upended the conventions of science fiction with such pathbreaking works as The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin created the richly imagined world of Orsinia, a central European country that serves as a backdrop for her extraordinary extended meditation on the interplay of individual will and the forces of history. The provocative novel Malafrena (written in the 1950s, but not published until 1979) is set in the 1820s, as Orsinia, a small principality of the Habsburg Empire, is swept up in the currents of revolution and nationalism that will transform the western world. Its hero, the idealistic young patriot Itale Sorde, follows his passions from his ancestral estate Val Malafrena into a turbulent wider world in the countryâ€™s capital. Thirteen additional stories, including all those originally collected as Orsinian Tales (1976), range from the Middle Ages to the collapse of the communism in 1989 to enact a range personal dramas amid larger social and historical movements. Rounding out the collection are three poems, or songs, including â€œFolksong from the Montayna Province,â€ Le Guinâ€™s first published work, which lend additional texture to the intricate Orsinian tapestry.