Quotations by L’Engle, Madeleine


It takes a lot of intellect to have faith, which is why so many people only have religiosity.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
“I Dare You,” Newsweek (interview) (7 May 2003)

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Added on 12-Jun-07 | Last updated 12-Jun-07
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Q. What are you against?
A. Narrow-mindedness. I’m against people taking the Bible absolutely literally, rather than letting some of it be real fantasy, like Jonah. You know, the whole story of David is a novel … Faith is best expressed in story.
Q. If the Bible is not literally true, does that mean we don’t need to take it seriously?
A. Oh no, you do, because it’s truth, not fact, and you have to take truth seriously even when it expands beyond the facts.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
“I Dare You,” Newsweek (interview) (7 May 2003)

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If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather, it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession but participation.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
“The Irrational Season” (1977)
Added on 8-Sep-07 | Last updated 8-Sep-07
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No long-term marriage is made easily, and there have been times when I’ve been so angry or so hurt that I thought my love would never recover. And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again — till next time. I’ve learned that there will always be a next time, and that I will submerge in darkness and misery, but that I won’t stay submerged. And each time something has been learned under the waters; something has been gained; and a new kind of love has grown. The best I can ask for is that this love, which has been built on countless failures, will continue to grow. I can say no more than that this is mystery, and gift, and that somehow or other, through grace, our failures can be redeemed and blessed.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
“The Irrational Season” (1977)
Added on 8-Sep-07 | Last updated 8-Sep-07
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It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
“The Summer of the Great-Grandmother”
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
(Attributed)

Who Moved My Cheese? calendar
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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I have sometimes felt closest to God when I have been furious.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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That’s something I’ve noticed about food: whenever there’s a crisis if you can get people to eating normally things get better.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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It’s hard to let go of anything we love. We live in a world that teaches us to clutch. But when we clutch we’re left with a fist full of ashes.

LEngle - fist full of ashes - wist_info quote

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
A Ring of Endless Light, ch. 4 [Adam] (1980)
Added on 11-Jun-16 | Last updated 11-Jun-16
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As the skipping rope hit the pavement, so did the ball. As the rope curved over the head of the jumping child, the child with the ball caught the ball. Down came the ropes. Down came the balls. Over and over again. Up. Down. All in rhythm. All identical. Like the houses. Like the paths. Like the flowers.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
Added on 8-Sep-07 | Last updated 8-Sep-07
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You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
Added on 8-Sep-07 | Last updated 8-Sep-07
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The Great God Science. It has failed us, because it was never meant to be a god, but only a few true scientists understand that.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
Dragons in the Waters (1976)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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There’s more to life than just the things that can be explained by encyclopedias and facts. Facts alone are not adequate.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
Penguins and Golden Calves (2003)
Added on 12-Oct-07 | Last updated 12-Oct-07
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That’s the way things come clear. All of a sudden. And then you realize how obvious they’ve been all along.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
The Arm of the Starfish (1965)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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I cannot believe that God wants punishment to go on interminably any more than does a loving parent. The entire purpose of loving punishment is to teach, and it lasts only as long as is needed for the lesson. And the lesson is always love.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
The Irrational Season (1977)
Added on 11-Sep-07 | Last updated 11-Sep-07
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I know a number of highly sensitive and intelligent people in my own communion who consider as a heresy my faith that God’s loving concern for his creation will outlast all our willfulness and pride. No matter how many eons it takes, he will not rest until all of creation, including Satan, is reconciled to him, until there is no creature who cannot return his look of love with a joyful response of love […] Some people feel it to be heresy because it appears to deny man his freedom to refuse to love God. But this, it seems to me, denies God his freedom to go on loving us beyond all our willfulness and pride. If the Word of God is the light of the world, and this light cannot be put out, ultimately it will brighten all the dark corners of our hearts and we will be able to see, and seeing, will be given the grace to respond with love — and of our own free will.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
The Irrational Season (1977)
Added on 19-Sep-07 | Last updated 14-Nov-15
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Readers usually grossly underestimate their own importance. If a reader cannot create a book along with the writer, the book will never come to life. Creative involvement: that’s the difference between reading a book and watching TV. In watching TV, we are passive — sponges; we do nothing. In reading, we must become creators, imagining the setting of the story, seeing the facial expressions, hearing the inflection of the voices. The author and the reader “know” each other; they meet on the bridge of words.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art (1982)
Added on 12-Aug-14 | Last updated 12-Aug-14
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If the artist works only when he feels like it, he’s not apt to build up much of a body of work. Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it, because the largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work, and to go where it tells him to go.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
Walking on Water (1980)
Added on 5-Nov-07 | Last updated 5-Nov-07
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