NOVELS: "A Wrinkle In Time" Moves On...
I just read some sad news in the NY Times:
Madeleine L’Engle, an author whose childhood fables, religious meditations and fanciful science fiction transcended both genre and generation, most memorably in her children’s classic “A Wrinkle in Time,” died on Thursday in Litchfield, Conn. She was 88.
Her death was announced yesterday by her publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux. A spokeswoman said Ms. L’Engle (pronounced LENG-el) had died of natural causes at a nursing home, which she entered three years ago. Before then the author had maintained homes in Manhattan and Goshen, Conn.
“A Wrinkle in Time” was rejected by 26 publishers before editors at Farrar, Straus & Giroux read it and enthusiastically accepted it. It proved to be her masterpiece, winning the John Newbery Medal as the best children’s book of 1963 and selling, so far, eight million copies. It is now in its 69th printing.
In the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Marygail G. Parker notes “a peculiar splendor” in Ms. L’Engle’s oeuvre, and some of that splendor is owed to sheer literary range. Her works included poetry, plays, autobiography and books on prayer, and almost all were deeply, quixotically personal.
But it was in her vivid children’s characters that readers most clearly glimpsed her passionate search for answers to the questions that mattered most. She sometimes spoke of her writing as if she were taking dictation from her subconscious.
“Of course I’m Meg,” Ms. L’Engle said about the beloved protagonist of “A Wrinkle in Time.”
The St. James Guide to Children’s Writers called Ms. L’Engle “one of the truly important writers of juvenile fiction in recent decades.” Such accolades did not come from pulling punches. “Wrinkle” has been one of the most banned books in the United States, accused by religious conservatives of offering an inaccurate portrayal of God and nurturing in the young an unholy belief in myth and fantasy.
Ms. L’Engle, who often wrote about her Christian faith, was taken aback by the attacks. “It seems people are willing to damn the book without reading it,” Ms. L’Engle said in an interview with The New York Times in 2001. “Nonsense about witchcraft and fantasy. First I felt horror, then anger, and finally I said, ‘Ah, the hell with it.’ It’s great publicity, really.”
TOP: One of the many covers of “A Wrinkle in Time.”
The book begins, “It was a dark and stormy night,” repeating the line of a 19th-century novelist, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton. “Wrinkle” then takes off. Meg Murray, with help from her psychic baby brother, uses time travel and extrasensory perception to rescue her father, a gifted scientist, from a planet controlled by the Dark Thing. She does so through the power of love.
The book uses concepts that Ms. L’Engle said she had plucked from Einstein’s theory of relativity and Planck’s quantum theory, almost flaunting her frequent assertion that children’s literature is literature too difficult for adults to understand.
“Wrinkle” is part of Ms. L’Engle’s Time series of children’s books, which includes “A Wind in the Door,” “A Swiftly Tilting Planet,” “Many Waters” and “An Acceptable Time.” The series combines elements of science fiction with insights into love and moral purpose.
...(article continued at link below).
TOP: One of the earliest covers of “A Wrinkle in Time.”
As a former elementary school teacher, I loved Madeleine L'Engle's books... they're all very strange and don't keep to the mold that children's literature often comes in: plain, predictable, packaged, with simple "politically correct" moral lessons that don't promote really introspective thought. Too many children's novels these days come in a packaged "pap" form, much like most television programming, that promote the ideas of conformity and cultural relativism rather than what the NY Times wrote as thus:
The series combines elements of science fiction with insights into love and moral purpose.
OK. Rant mode off.
Here are a few links about Mrs. L'Engle and her works:
A Wiki entry about her best-known work:
The Wiki biography entry on Mrs. L'Engle:
The NY Times obituary for her:
I can't recommend Madeleine L'Engle's books enough... If you haven't read any of her writing, go out to your local library and check out a copy of a L'Engle... I don't think that you'll be disappointed.
Have a great Sunday!
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