Friday, September 7, 2007
Madeleine L'Engle 1918 - 2007
Madeleine L'Engle, Newbery Medal winning novelist for A Wrinkle in Time and the Austin Family books has died. A Ring of Endless Light was a Newbery Honor book, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet won the American Book Award. Besides fantasies and other books for children she wrote nearly a dozen novels for adults, and just as many nonfiction books, as well as plays and poems. She was also a teacher and frequent editor.
During her life, her writing career was interrupted for about ten years by being a parent, and for a time she and her husband ran a grocery store while she wrote stories in her off hours that were frequently rejected. In fact, A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by twenty-six publishers over two years before an editor at Farrar, Straus who had liked one of her earlier novels chose to publish it. It was more complex than standard children's stories and L'Engle trusted children of the post Orwell era to understand it.
From the article about her in Contemporary Authors Online, available to library cardholders through Glendale Public Library Online Resources, is her own statement that the book "was written in the terms of a modern world in which children know about brainwashing and the corruption of evil. It's based on Einstein's theory of relativity and Planck's quantum theory. It's good, solid science, but also it's good, solid theology. My rebuttal to the German theologians [who] attack God with their intellect on the assumption that the finite can comprehend the infinite, and I don't think that's possible."
Madeleine L'Engle was eighty-eight when she passed on September 6, 2007.