Madeline L’Engle’s Time Quintet

Our second session in year two of the series focuses on Madeline L’Engle’s “Time Quintet”, a series of short novels published from 1962-1989, blending together time-travel, coming-of-age, matters of micro-and-macrocosm, and an age-old struggle between good and evil.  These books are often classed as “young adult,” but they really do hold up as excellent literature for mature adults.  L’Engle herself classes them as “science fantasy” – a hybrid genre designation that works as well for C.S. Lewis’ “Space Trilogy,” discussed during the series last year.

The talk took place Thursday, February 9 at the Brookfield Public Library.  Here is the videorecording of the talk:

L’Engle’s Time Quintet takes the members of the Murray family and Calvin O’Keefe across time and space, inducting them into an ongoing cosmic struggle between good and evil, light and darkness.  They encounter and interact with a host of powerful beings on both sides, come to understand at least some of the fundamental principles of the universe, forge close and tested bonds with each other, and glimpse the relations between macrocosm and microcosms.

The philosophical themes I focused upon during the talk were:

  • tesseracts and travel through space and time
  • macrocosm, microcosm, and persons
  • the limited assistance from the good and divine
  • the nature of evil in the stories
  • naming and unnaming the things of the cosmos

I’ll be building this page out more fully in the coming weeks.

The Time Quintet Novels

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For those who would like to purchase or otherwise acquire the books, here are some Amazon links to them.

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