New York: Walker and Company, 1969. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's blue-gray paper-covered boards, spine stamped in black, top edge stained blue-gray, original illustrated dust jacket.
First hardcover edition of LeGuin's groundbreaking Nebula and Hugo Award-winning novel: "Light is the left hand of darkness/and darkness the right hand of light./Two are one, life and death, lying/together like lovers in kemmer/like hands joined together,/like the end and the way." Part of her loosely connected "Hainish Cycle" of novels and stories, The Left Hand of Darkness tells of a human ethnologist's fraught engagement with the gender-fluid, "ambisexual" inhabitants of the planet Gethen. LeGuin's world-building rivals that of Frank Herbert's in Dune, published four years earlier, while her exploration of the themes of social equality and sexual identity established the book as an epochal work of feminist science fiction. "Delicate yet daring in its handling of sexual themes, narrated with immense gravitas, The Left Hand of Darkness remains Ursula LeGuin's masterpiece" (David Pringle, Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels). This hardcover edition was preceded by a pulp paperback edition published by Ace Books earlier the same year. Faint foxing to endpapers; some creasing and light edgewear to unclipped dust jacket. Near fine. Item #328