Monday, September 10, 2007

'A Wrinkle in Time' author Madeleine L'Engle dies at 88

The death of Madeleine L'Englehas me seriously analyzing my literary roots. As a child I often read mysteries, but it was L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time that expanded my horizons, not only to science fiction, but to the realm of literature beyond. More importantly, though, she stretched my imagination.

L'Engle's bibliography extends past her fictional and young adult works, but it was those for which she was known best. She was and is often dubbed as a children's literature author but she took exception to that label in that she never 'wrote down' to obtain any particular audience.
"'Why do you write for children?' My immediate response to this question is, 'I don't.' ... If it's not good enough for adults, it's not good enough for children. If a book that is going to be marketed for children does not interest me, a grownup, then I am dishonoring the children for whom the book is intended, and I am dishonoring books. And words." ~Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet (1972)
Like Jim Henson, L'Engle's themes were presented in a simple way, easy for a child to understand yet at the same time often carried ideals perhaps loftier than a child may immediately grasp, engaging the minds of all audiences.
"Sometimes I answer that if I have something I want to say that is too difficult for adults to swallow, then I will write it in a book for children. This is usually good for a slightly startled laugh, but it's perfectly true. Children still haven't closed themselves off with fear of the unknown, fear of revolution, or the scramble for security. They are still familiar with the inborn vocabulary of myth. It was adults who thought that children would be afraid of the Dark Thing in Wrinkle, not children, who understand the need to see thingness, non-ness, and to fight it." ~Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet (1972)
For me, she introduced the concept that religion, science, and magic all coexist as different facets of the same reality. For her works of literature, I'm profoundly grateful.
"Just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist." ~Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time (1962)


Julie September 11, 2007 at 10:57 AM  

I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time in about 4th grade but I never moved past it to her other books.

It's always sad when a great author passes on. You can only hope there's another one out there that can somewhat fill the hole.

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