Saturday, September 8, 2007

Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L’Engle died last week. Ms. L'Engle was the author A Wrinkle in Time, a truly enchanting book that I thoroughly enjoyed in my youth. The NY Times obituary summarizes her masterpiece as follows:

Meg Murray, with help from her psychic baby brother, uses time travel and extrasensory perception to rescue her father, a gifted scientist, from a planet controlled by the Dark Thing. She does so through the power of love.

As a child, I simply enjoyed the book and had no idea that this book was in any way controversial. However, while some have called her "one of the truly important writers of juvenile fiction...", it came as a surprise to me that:

Such accolades did not come from pulling punches: “Wrinkle” is one of the most banned books because of its treatment of the deity.

And as a testament to how difficult it must be to evaluate great books before they become acknowledged as such:

What turned out to be her masterpiece was rejected by 26 publishers. Editors at Farrar, Straus and Giroux loved it enough to publish it, but told her that she should not be disappointed if it failed.

You have to wonder what those 26 publishers were thinking. Or is it that it is much easier to appreciate a book that is already acknowledged to be great?

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