Anarchist Novel — Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed

Anarchist novels, part 1: The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin

    Platypus Bill

What is an anarchist novel? Even if we include those that merely feature an anarchist main character, or an anarchist mode of thought, the list is fairly short. Caleb Williams by William Godwin, penned some two-hundred years ago might qualify as the first case in point. The Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy is also often mentioned. Then there are several modern examples, especially within the genre of cyberpunk. However, if we limit the definition to stories that describe an anarchic society, the list shrinks down considerably. I can only think of two examples: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein, and The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. And since Le Guin considers her book to be the first to deal with the topic of an anarchist society [reference required], I can only assume that she would opt for an even shorter list. Or maybe she excludes The Moon on the grounds that it describes an anarchist revolution, that once it has succeeded in overthrowing the old guards, quickly adopts a parliamentary system.

The Dispossessed is certainly the only novel I know of that deals extensively with the structure and functioning of an anarchic society.

2 thoughts on “Anarchist Novel — Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed”

  1. I just wrote, or rewrote another one.

    its called The Free and is set in an anarchist revolution coinciding with the collapse of capitalism and climate chaos.

    Its awaiting publicatiin by PM Press
    You can read it online HERE.

    Its brilliant (though not coz I wrote it)

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