My review of the new Wrinkle in Time movie has just appeared. It was a terrible film, and a blot on Madeline Engle’s work, for all that her heirs praised it. As mentioned in my review, “What an anonymous Wikipedia writer declared of Miss L’Engle is without doubt also true of her predecessors [amongst Patrimonial writers]: ‘A theme, often implied and occasionally explicit, in L’Engle’s works is that the phenomena that people call religion, science, and magic are simply different aspects of a single seamless reality.’” That sense of Christian wonder at creation and awareness of the titantic struggle between God and satan in, with, and under that creation is precisely what characterises patrimonial fiction.
However, “…I would not want to say that Miss L’Engle’s writing was flawless; her theology as expressed in her non-fiction suffered from the general doctrinal collapse of Anglicanism in the 20th century, and she was certainly a Christian Universalist. But her fiction was filled with scriptural and religious references, and in A Wrinkle in Time Christ is explicitly revealed as the chief of the ‘fighters of the light’ – unlike the others, His identity is revealed through an apropos quote from the Gospel of St. John.” Indeed, as has been the case with other writers of the Patrimony, Miss L’Engle’s fiction was at times more orthodox than her theological writings or expressed opinions. But she was writing from a mind formed to some degree by that orthodoxy, and in fiction had no need to update or “modernise” what she had received.
The question – and worry – in my mind is this: Was she the last of that line of story-tellers which includes C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, Dorothy Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, M. R. James, Ralph Adams Cram, and Arthur Machen? Certainly this is a precious part of the Patrimony that the Ordinariates bring to the Catholic Church; but can anyone think of living writers who are working in that manner? – if so, O good and gentle readers, please mention them! And if you or anyone you know are attempting to so, encourage them mightily!