Madeleine L'Engle: Overview

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Editor: Laura Standley Berger
Date: 1994
Publisher: Gale
Series: Twentieth-Century Writers Series
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 835 words

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The award-winning author of more than forty published books including plays, poems, essays, autobiographies, and novels, Madeline L'Engle is one of America's most popular writers of books for young adults. L'Engle's literate stories are ageless, weaving family life, values, science, history, and theology into complex, often suspenseful plots with life-affirming messages.

L'Engle's popularity mushroomed after winning the Newbery Medal in 1963 for A Wrinkle in Time, the first in her time-fantasy trilogy (including A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet). L'Engle said winning the Newbery was especially rewarding because the book had been rejected by almost every publisher in New York because of its difficulty level and uncertainty about the audience.

L'Engle's books do offer young adults a reading challenge. She writes for intelligent readers, using carefully chosen vocabulary and literary allusions throughout her stories. She blends references to mythology and carefully researched details of history, science, architecture, and philosophy into her tales. The reader must accept references to the principles of physics, cellular biology, and extrasensory communication in the time-fantasy series. L'Engle tackles such concepts as human communication with dolphins, the future impacting the past, and regeneration in other novels.

Young adults rise to L'Engle's literary challenges because she creates recurring families and characters...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420004912