Friday, September 07, 2007

One more tesseract

Madeleine L'Engle travels in elephants.

Besides her better-known children's books, she also wrote some surprisingly (for an Episcopalian) orthodox Christian material. I had no idea of htis unti a friend loaned me his copy of Walking on Water, tackling the arts from a Christian perspective. Even better was Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols which explored the role of the visual in Christianity. I had just begun looking into traditional Christianity when I read both those books, and they hinted of more things in heaven and earth than were dream't of in my Baptist upbringing.

Her books for kids (she hated being a "children's author") were still the jewel in her literary crown, though. Unlike an awful lot of people who write for kids, her characters were believable and identifiable, even over the generations. I went through much of puberty feeling like I knew the O'Keeffes and the people they encountered. Bright people, strange families (as whose isn't?) and stories that may not have been, strictly speaking, magical but nevertheless set the imagination racing.

Thank you, ma'am. You made millions of children dream bigger, brighter dreams. Rest now.

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