Selinger, Bernard

Leguin and Identity in Contemporary Fiction
1988 0-7734-2006-1
Synthesizes the work of "identity-theorists" such as Norman N. Holland, Heinz Lichtenstein, Bruno Bettelheim, Hans Loewald, and Margaret Mahler in an attempt to formulate a non-essentialist theory of identity formation that can be fruitfully applied to literature. The working conclusion of the synthesis is that the artist constantly works creative variations on a kind of identity theme that was established during the autistic phase of childhood development. The book then melds identity theory with more contemporary critical theory. Theorists such as Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, and Julia Kristeva are clearly summarized and flexibly applied to Le Guin's major fictional works, yielding fresh insights into LeGuin's work and the nature of fiction in general. This book dramatically changes the direction of scholarship on LeGuin - moves the criticism away from the usual mythological, Jungian, and thematic readings to readings which focus much more closely on the texts, aided by contemporary critical theory.