Feminist Narratives of Mid-Century America: Reading Aesthetics in Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness Through Lolita’s Lens
The portrayal, or lack thereof, of feminine power in Ursula Le Guin’s 1969 novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, is contentious: scholars either praise the text for portraying
a feminist utopia or criticise it for a failed attempt at equalising genders. Using aestheticization in Nabokov’s Lolita to illustrate that mass consumerism and female subjugation are inextricably linked in mid-century America, I argue that, in The Left Hand of Darkness, the absence of aesthetics—from the material objects, atmosphere, and Gethenian attitudes toward sexuality—strengthens its reading as a feminist text.
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