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Showing posts with label MadeleineLEngle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MadeleineLEngle. Show all posts

Friday, 10 August 2018

A Light So Lovely The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle Author of A Wrinkle in Time - Sarah Arthur

A Light So Lovely:
The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle,
Author of A Wrinkle in Time
Sarah Arthur
ISBN 9780310353409
eISBN 9780310353423


I was introduced to the works of L'Engle in my 20's and that was 20 years ago. In the last 20 years I have read over thirty of her books, and few authors have had such a huge impact on my life, my faith, and ironically my returning to the Catholic church. But I read most of her books before I got into reviewing, and have yet to write a review of any of her work. And for the most part that is what this book is about, it is about the impact L'Engle has had on art and artists. Earlier this year I read Becoming Madeleine A Biography of the Author of a Wrinkle in Time written by L'Engle's granddaughters Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy. The two books are completely different and yet both give us greater insight into L'Engle the woman, the artist, and the icon.

There is of course great interest in all things Madeleine L'Engle of late, as we are fast approaching the centaury of her birth, November 29th, 1918. And the release early in 2018 or the politically correct adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time. Likely part of the reason both books include in their subtitle 'Author of A Winkle in Time'.  The chapters in this volume are:

Foreword by Charlotte Jones Voiklis
1 Icon and Iconoclast
2 Sacred and Secular
3 Truth and Story
4 Faith and Science
5 Religion and Art
6 Fact and Fiction
7 Light in the Darkness
Epilogue: Tesser Well
Recommended Books

But what makes this book unique in the emerging field of L'Engle Studies is that it was written after a series of interviews. Charlotte Jones Voiklis in the forward writes:

"… as Sarah asked me questions and shared her thoughts about my grandmother, I knew I'd met someone with deep compassion, curiosity, and intellect. We talked about my grandmother's life: her habits, milestones, and challenges, and what we each knew to be her impact on others. As we spoke, what moved me to tears was Sarah's willingness to look at Madeleine and accept her as a full and flawed human being; an icon and iconoclast, not an idol."

And that is what we get in this volume, an honest look at L'Engle flaws and all. Not a Saint placed upon a pedestal, but a human, and a human that had faults. Arthur presents L'Engle not in an intentionally unfavorable light, but also not glossing over faults and failures. She presents the artist who lived blurry lines between art and reality, between what she believed and what actually happened. But someone who strived to live her life in line with her faith. Arthur states that her purpose was to trace L'Engle's journey, and the impact of her works. She decided to do so through Seven themes:

"Chapter One-We'll survey her life and works as a whole, attempting to identify her spheres of influence, both as a cherished friend and mentor as well as a complex, flawed human being.

Chapter Two-We'll dive into her story where many readers do, with A Wrinkle in Time-a book that, like Madeleine herself, somehow bridges the often vastly different worlds of sacred and secular in American culture.

Chapter Three-We'll step back and trace her own spiritual formation as a child through the influence of great stories that gave her hints and glimpses of God's truth.

Chapter Four-We'll track the life-changing
impact of scientists on her conversion to Christianity when she was a youngish write-at- home mom.

Chapter Five-We'll chart her profound spiritual influence on others during her prolific middle age, particularly her continued assertion that artistic practice is a religious vocation.

Chapter Six-We'll make the difficult turn toward her personal challenges later in life-the loss of her son, among other things-and her troubling propensity to blur fact and fiction.

Chapter Seven-Finally, we'll identify the ways that Madeleine attempted to battle the darkness, especially in her own soul, and to cling with resolute desperation to the light."

As such the book is a great addition to the growing canon of work on L'Engle's life and influence. It is well written and engaging. It can easily be read by older teen fans of L'Engle's works, and those of us even older than that will appreciate it greatly. Personally, as a fan of all of her works, especially her religious works this book sheds so good light on the icon and her process. L'Engle was an enigma in her lifetime, many Christians disliked her work as not orthodox enough, and non-Christians and the intelligentsia looks at her works with suspicion because of all the religious content. This book in part looks at how she handled that, and how the artist in her continued on and continued to create. Well worth the read for any fan of her works, and looking for a glimpse of the impact she has had on authors and artists over the last 60 plus years.

Note: I in part owe my own writing reviews to L'Engle, I met her at a conference in 1997, I grew up with a dual form of dyslexia and was told by a high school teacher that half of what I wrote was worth publishing, the other half for wiping his a.. L'Engle encouraged me to write, and I have published over 2000 reviews and written for 8 different publications.

Related Articles:
Madeleine L'Engle Bibliography
Becoming Madeleine A Biography of the Author of a Wrinkle in Time - Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy
A Light So Lovely The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time - Sarah Arthur

Reviews of Books by Madeleine L'Engle:
Penguins and Golden Calves
Bright Evening Star
The Rock That Is Higher


Friday, 16 March 2018

Becoming Madeleine A Biography of the Author of a Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters - Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy

Becoming Madeleine
A Biography of the Author of a Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters
Charlotte Jones Voiklis
Léna Roy
Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN 9780374307646
eISBN 9780374307653

I was introduced to the works of Madeleine L'Engle in the fall of 1995, as the age of 25 I was a little older to be discovering the woman and her works. But within three years I would have read 33 of her books. Reading all the local library had, and any I could get through interlibrary loans. And then I got to spend a weekend with L'Engle at a conference / retreat where she was the keynote speaker. I have been fascinated with the woman and her works since I first encountered them and have been a fan for nearly 25 years now. So, when I found out that there was a new biography coming out to celebrate the centenary of her birth and that it was written by two of her granddaughters I was extremely excited.

This book did not disappoint. The book is written with insight that only close family members would have. It celebrates the life and the works of Madeleine L'Engle 1918-2007. It is written with a middle grade audience in mind, but to be honest is so well written any fan of L'Engle or her works will appreciate the history. L'Engle herself wrote many non-fiction books and a number of those were autobiographical in nature. But this book looks at her life from a very different angle. The book begins with a quote from Circle of Quiet, one of L'Engle's autobiographical works:

"A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming."

And the prologue begins with these words:

"We were young when our grandmother, Madeleine L'Engle, started sharing with us the patchwork of events, relationships, and emotions that shaped her into the person she was always becoming. She described her childhood as solitary, and we thought it must have been lonely-after all, even we, who had each other, had periods of loneliness. But her stories about growing up and becoming the writer and grandmother we knew gave us the assurance that, just like her, we could survive the hurts and joys of childhood and adolescence."

The chapters in this volume are:
Before Madeleine
A New York City Childhood
Trouble at School
From Child to Teen
The Eustace Affair
Senior Year
The College Years
The Best School for a Writer
Making a Living
Work and Love
Marriage and Children
Making the Leap
Authors' Note

The authors note at the end of the book begins with this:

"Writing this book has been quite a journey. We were reluctant at first to try to tackle our grandmother's biography. After all, she herself spoke and wrote about her life a good deal, and we were aware of the fact that the lines between fiction, nonfiction, and memoir can be blurry, for our grandmother no less than for everyone else. How could we write about her in a way that would bring her to life in all her contradictory richness? That would do her justice and honor? That would be honest and fair?"

But their fears were unwarranted. They have written a wonderful book. It is open and honest. It shares L'Engle's troubles, sorrows, triumphs and maintains a balance I believe many would find hard to achieve. The only regret I have about this book is for the most part it ends with the publishing of A Wrinkle in Time. The rest of her life is summed up very briefly. I only home that there will be a second volume that continues in more details like the majority of this book but begins with the publishing of A Wrinkle in Time and goes unto her passing.

Madeleine did write about life, and for her that line between faith, fiction and autobiography were often blurred. Maybe for that reason Canon Tallisis one of my favorite characters, like Madeleine put parts of her self and her story in many of her characters and stories, Tallis crosses all the lines in the stories, he appears in the Kairos books, the Chronos books and in the autobiographical works. The authors of this work state:

"As we read more and more of her books, and heard more and more of her own personal stories, we began to see how connected they were. Many of her own experiences were given to Camilla in Camilla Dickinson, Katherine in A Small Rain, and Flip in And Both Were Young. Many of her own characteristics were given to Meg in A Wrinkle in Time and Vicky in Meet the Austins." 

I throughout my university career, which spanned 20 years, I often quoted L'Engle, form my notes of her speaking at a conference and from many of her works. This is a book I would have drawn from to write about life, about faith and about art. I will likely circle back in a few years after reading some of L'Engle's works with my children and reread this book with them.

This is a wonderful book about an amazing woman. If you are a fan in any way shape or form, you owe it to yourself to read this book!

Related Articles:
Madeleine L'Engle Bibliography
Becoming Madeleine A Biography of the Author of a Wrinkle in Time - Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy
A Light So Lovely The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time - Sarah Arthur

Reviews of Books by Madeleine L'Engle:
Penguins and Golden Calves
Bright Evening Star
The Rock That Is Higher


Friday, 9 February 2018

Madeleine L’Engle Bibliography

Madeleine L’Engle A Bibliography:

I first discovered the writings of Madeleine L’Engle in the fall of 1995, a friend and I had each picked 10 books for the other to read, all 10 on the list I received were books by L’Engle. This was round the same time that I started keeping track of what books I had read. I have read her books a total of 33 times; and have read 29 different books to date. With the soon to be released new Wrinkle In Time movie I have been looking at her writings again. I currently have 36 of her eBooks, and still have physical copies of a few. It looks like all of her books are slowly being released in eBook format.

I have compiled the below list of her works from the website dedicated to her works, Wikipedia, Goodreads, and a deep scrounging of numerous books sites on the internet. I am not sure if the list if 100% but it is as good as I can get currently. (If you notice any omissions and can document them I would be happy to add them.)

Books by Madeleine L'Engle


• Meet the Austins (1960)
• The Moon by Night (1963)
• The Young Unicorns (1968)
• A Ring of Endless Light (1980) Newbery Honor
• The Anti-Muffins (1980)
• The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas (1984)
• Troubling a Star (1994)
• A Full House: An Austin Family Christmas (1999)

The two Christmas books are shorter works, heavily illustrated but not actually picture books. The events in each of these stories take place prior to the events of Meet the Austins.

First-generation (Murry)

• A Wrinkle in Time (1962) Newbery Award Winner
• A Wind in the Door (1973
• A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978)
• Many Waters (1986)
• Wrinkle in Time Graphic Novel (with Hope Larson) (2012)
• Intergalectic P.S. 3 (2018) with Hope Larson.

Second-generation (O'Keefe)
• The Arm of the Starfish (1965)
• Dragons in the Waters (1976)
• A House Like a Lotus (1984)
• An Acceptable Time (1989)

Other fiction
Katherine Forrester series

• The Small Rain (1945)
• Prelude (1968), no ISBN, an adaptation of the first half of The Small Rain
• A Severed Wasp (1982)

Camilla Dickinson
• Camilla Dickinson (1951), later republished in slightly different form as Camilla (1965),
• A Live Coal in the Sea (1996)

• Ilsa (1946)
• And Both Were Young (1949)
• A Winter's Love (1957)
• The Love Letters (1966)
• The Other Side of the Sun (1971)
• Everyday Prayers (1981)
• The Sphinx at Dawn (1982) 2 Short Stories
• Certain Women (1996)
• The Joys of Love (2008)
• The Other Dog (2001) Illustrated by Christine Davenier

• Lines Scribbled on an Envelope (1969)
• The Weather of the Heart (1978)
• A Cry Like a Bell (1987)
• The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L'Engle (2005)

Crosswicks Journals

• A Circle of Quiet (1972)
• The Summer of the Great-grandmother (1974)
• The Irrational Season (1977)
• Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage (1988)

Genesis Trilogy
• And It Was Good (1983)
• A Stone for a Pillow (1986)
• Sold into Egypt (1989)

Other works
• Journey With Jonah (1967)
• Dance in the Desert (1969)
• Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art (1982)
• Ladder of Angels (1988)
• The Glorious Impossible (1990)
• The Rock That Is Higher: Story as Truth (1993)
• Anytime Prayers (1994)
• Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols in Antarctica 

   and Other Spiritual Places (1996, 2003)
• Mothers and Daughters (1997)
• Glimpses of Grace (1997)
• A Prayerbook for Spiritual Friends (with Luci Shaw) (1999)
• Miracle on 10th Street and Other Christmas Writings (2000)
• Friends For The Journey (with Luci Shaw) (1997
• Bright Evening Star: Mystery of the Incarnation (2001)
• Madeleine L'Engle (2001), Carole F Chase, ed., 

   Madeleine L'Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life.
• WinterSong Christmas Readings (2004)
• Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? (2012)

Books about madeleine L'Engel:
• Madeleine L'Engle Faith During Adversity - Shel Horowitz (2006)
Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of a Wrinkle in Time 

  by Her Granddaughters (2018)
• A Light So Lovely The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time - Sarah Arthur (2018)

Reviews of Books by Madeleine L'Engle:
Penguins and Golden Calves
Bright Evening Star
The Rock That Is Higher

If I search my blog I come up with 83 posts that make reference to L'Engle. Many in my Author Profile and interview series, and many in essays I have written or when I compare other books to her works. But I read her books back before I started writing reviews for my university paper and started this blog.

I had the opportunity to meet L’Engle in 1997, at the 53rd Weekend retreat in the Anglican Diocese of London, Ontario. I filled an entire journal with notes of her talks that weekend. In fact, I believe she was the first author I met in person.

So I think it is time to go and fill in some of the gaps in my reading and to start reading these books with my own children. So reviews should start appearing soon.