Madeleine L’Engle, author of more than sixty books ranging from religion and philosophy to the beloved “Wrinkle in Time” series, died last week. She was an artist in residency at St. John the Divine while Sara and I were in NY. It may be encouraging to note that “A Wrinkle in Time”, which has sold millions of copies, was rejected by 26 publishers before FSG took it on saying that she shouldn’t expect it to do well. Here’s the link to the Times article where you can read for yourself. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/08/books/07cnd-lengle.html?em&ex=1189483200&en=6085d935d8c5c173&ei=5087%0A
Madeleine L’Engle 1918-2007
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This is indeed sad news. I read A WRINKLE IN TIME and the other books in that series by L’Engle when I was pretty young, and loved them. I even remember going to a book club kind of event for kids at the McPherson Library, and people made costumes and such and we even went through a make-believe tesseract in order to move through time. It was fun. I haven’t read anything else of L’Engle’s to be honest, but know that people were very influenced by her writings on Christian spirituality and marriage and aging and so on. She is definitely an important author in my young development.
Toby’s comment made me realize that marking some of these deaths may seem somewhat sad or even morbid, but for me it is really just away to celebrate my youth, past, and influences. To recognize the strand that runs through authors, artists, musicians, and creative people. How we are fed by and through each other. I do feel somewhat melancholy when I first see them but then usually grateful.
I agree with Ned on this score. Noting these passings is also one of the ways we mark the passage of time for ourselves and for each other, and stand in gratitude to what has shaped us.
I suppose the comment about the sadness was me not really examining my emotions properly, or perhaps trying to excuse frivolity in the midst of something more meaningful to the group. It was mostly due to the fact that the juxtaposition of something so meaningful (like someone’s life and their contributions to art / literature / the world) next to something fairly vacuous in popular culture (is there “high art,” which has gotten Roger Ebert into some controversy?).
I’ve never seen death in a mere maudlin way â€” although that seems the way it is described in the media and cultural avenues, at times. We’re supposed to act all broken up about it, like a newscaster feeding off the moment with tinges of forced sincerity in his voice. My apologies for contributing to that in a trite manner.
My explainations don’t seem to really decribe well, but as a Christian, I don’t believe it’s the end of the story. I suppose even as a non-Christian I might not either. However, I’ve always been attracted to the Edward Goreys and macabre anyway. 🙂
On a side note, I think I was there too for the Wrinkle in Time library event. It was somewhere in the mix of 4th grade to Middle School. I remember acting out parts of the book…and us closing our eyes and the librarians pressing fuzzy pink fabric into our hands. I had that piece of fabric stuck in a drawer somewhere for years. I’m surprised I don’t remember you being there, Jeff.