A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle (1972)

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle

From the 1972 Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of A Circle of Quiet (The Crosswicks Journals) by Madeleine L’Engle: The title of Madeleine L’Engle’s book comes from the text itself:

“Every so often I need out — away from all of these people I love most in the world — in order to regain a sense of proportion. My special place is a small brook in a green glade, a circle of quiet from which there is no visible sign of human beings … there I move slowly into a kind of peace that is indeed marvelous, ‘annihilating all that’s made to a green thought in a green shade.’”

This book is the attempt of a gifted woman to define and explore the meaning of her life, a life which, like many women today, is complex —that of wife, mother of three children, grandmother of two, teacher, frequent public speaker, practicing Christian, and writer who has published seventeen books.


Fears and self-doubts along with success and fulfillment

A Circle of Quiet is not a “story of success,” nor is it an account of the functioning of a human machine filled with energy and geared to mass production. It is a record the fears and failures, and often, self-doubt along with the dearly won successes and moments of high fulfillment.

It is in short, in attempt to ask and to find answers to ultimate questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing with my life? As such, A Circle of Quiet  addresses itself particularly to a wide audience of women; it will also be read with interest by parents, teachers, librarians, and writers, especially by those who wish to write for children.

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A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle on Amazon
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Quotes from A Circle of Quiet

“I can only affirm did the people in my stories have as complete and free a life of their own as do my family and friends; to the extent that they become alive for the reader, the story has succeeded. For me, this says a lot about the nature of reality.”

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“I am often asked how I came to write A Wrinkle in Time. Even with all of the hindsight of which I am capable I can’t quite explain it. It was during a time of transition … while we were on our ten-week trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back again, we drove through a world of deserts and buttes at least less mountains, wholly new an alien to me.

And suddenly into my mind came the names, Mrs Whatsit. Mrs Who. Mrs Which.  I turned to the children and said, ‘Hey, kids, listen to these three great names that just popped into my mind; I’ll have to write a book about them.’

Why did these names come to me just then, and from where? I haven’t the faintest idea. I suppose that my writing mind, which is always at work matter what is happening on the surface level, took over from there.”

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A wrinkle in Time 50th anniversary cover

You might also like: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

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“I have a friend, a beautiful and talented young woman, who is afraid to have a child and who is afraid to use her talent to write. She does not yet understand the joy that follows the pain of birth. I’ve experienced the pain and joy of the birth of babies and birth of books and there’s nothing like it …”

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“The more limited our languages, the more limited we are; the more limited the literature we give to our children, the more limited their capacity to respond, and therefore, in their turn, to create. The more our vocabulary is controlled, the less we will be able to think for ourselves. We do think in words, and the more words we know, the more restricted our thoughts. As our vocabulary expands, so does our power to think.”

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More about A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle 

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