Madeleine L’Engle: In Her Own Words

“Artists of all disciplines must be willing to go into the dark, let go control, be surprised.”

“We die alone. But I wish that most deaths today did not come in nursing homes or in hospitals. Death is an act which should not happen in such brutal settings. Future generations may well regard our hopitals and “rest” homes and institutions for the mentally ill with as much horror as we regard Bedlam.” The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, p. 41.

” . . . it comes to me that if I am not free to accept guilt when I do wrong, then I am not free at all. If all my mistakes are excused, if there’s an alibi, a rationalization, for every blunder, then I am not free at all. I have become subhuman.” The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, p. 50.

“Change is a basic law of life, and when change stops, death comes.” The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, p. 105.

“It would be simpler to restrict myself to the things I can hear and see and touch, to the things I can prove, to the things I can control.” The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, p. 122.

“So according to our human perception of time a century may seem long, but all that has happened since that first moment of creation is no more than the flicker of God’s eye. In the life span of a star, an ordinary star like our sun, our lives are such a fragment of a fragment as to seem practically nonexistent, even if we live four score years and ten, like my mother, or even five score, like my grandfather. So, according to one perception of time, the zealous creationists are right—God created everything in an instant—or, rather, seven days; and according to another perception of time, the pragmatic evolutionists are right, and life has evolved slowly over our chronological millennia.” And It Was Good.

“What I believe is so magnificent, so glorious, that it is beyond finite comprehension. To believe that the universe was created by a purposeful, benign Creator is one thing. To believe that this Creator took on human vesture, accepted death and mortality, was tempted, betrayed, broken, and all for love of us, defies reason. It is so wild that it terrifies some Christians who try to dogmatize their fear by lashing out at other Christians, because tidy Christianity with all answers given is easier than one which reaches out to the wild wonder of God’s love, a love we don’t even have to earn.” Penguins and Golden Calves, p. 31.

“Prayer was never meant to be magic,” Mother said.
“Then why bother with it?” Suzy scowled.
“Because it’s an act of love,” Mother said.
A Ring Of Endless Light, p. 288-289.

“If you want to see the stars you must go out into the country where there are no lights to dim them. But if you really want to see the stars then you must be out in the middle of the ocean. Then you can see them as the sailors and navigators saw them in the days when stars were known as very few people know them now.”
Arm of the Starfish

“What is forever? It cannot be in time, because time can be measured, and forever cannot. Time is inextricably tangled up with place, and can be measured only against place (dark of night in New York; grey of morning in Beja). Time has meaning only in relation to its position in space, the movement of a planet about a sun, of a night through stars.”
The Love Letters

“Oh, child, your language is so utterly simple and limited that it has the effect of extreme complication.” A Wrinkle in Time, p. 169.

“Progo! Help me! How can I feel love for Mr. Jenkins?”

Immediately he opened a large number of eyes very wide. “What a strange idea. Love isn’t feeling. If it were, I wouldn’t be able to love. Cherubim don’t have feelings.”
A Wind in the Door

1 thought on “Madeleine L’Engle: In Her Own Words

  1. How timely! We have just started reading A Wrinkle in Time this past week. I have been waiting breathlessly until my son was old enough for these books!

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