Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
L'Engle, Madeleine

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Writing name of Madelaine (sic) L'Engle Camp Franklin (1918-2007), who, after a short period of acting and writing for the stage in the early 1940s, began producing novels for adults with The Small Rain (1945) and then for children with And Both Were Young (1949), neither fantasy. Her later works shifted towards Children's Fantasy. Her best-known work, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is A Wrinkle in Time (1962), the first in a series about Meg Murry, the daughter of a scientist. In this novel Meg's father vanishes through the fifth dimension to an alien planet and is captured by an evil brain. Although written as a rebellion against Christian piety, the book is an intensely religious Allegory of Good and Evil. The series offers a curiously appropriate blend of hard science and mysticism: A Wind in the Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978), Many Waters (1986) and An Acceptable Time (1989).

ML first hit success with her highly moralistic children's novel Meet the Austins (1960), set in small-town New England. This and its immediate sequel, The Moon By Night (1963), are nonfantastic, but the next, The Young Unicorns (1968), shows the disintegration of the family under both social and alien pressures. As with A Wrinkle in Time, it portrays Children who rise above their disabilities to combat evil (in the shape of a scientist intent on taking over New York), and again has a strong religious theme. Both this and The Arm of the Starfish (1965), linked to the Meg Murry series, share some common characters. [MA]

Madeleine L'Engle


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.