This case study explores intertextual references in L.M. Montgomery’s Emily trilogy, originally written and marketed for a dual audience of adults and teenage girls. Emily’s reading and interaction with other texts empower her by inspiring her writing, supporting her maturation into womanhood, and underpinning her development as a reader and writer, whereby Montgomery subversively challenges the conventions of traditional female gender roles. In the Swedish 1950s translations abridged for a younger target audience than the originals, many intertextual references are lost. As a result, Swedish readers are presented with a more conventional and constrained and less challenging image of Emily and girlhood because Emily’s reading and writerly ambitions are downplayed.


L.M. Montgomery’s Emily trilogy (1923–1927) is a female Bildungsroman about Emily Byrd Starr’s journey to becoming a woman and a writer. Reading is an inseparable part of this journey as “books were Emily’s friends wherever she found them.”1 As Elizabeth Epperly notes, the literature Emily reads is a key to her personality, her conception of art, and her relationship to literature: “the books and poems she savours are shaping and reflecting her own sense of self.”2 Throughout the trilogy, references to Emily’s reading characterize her as a creative and empowered reader because her interaction with texts by other writers inspires her writing and supports her development as a person and as a reader and writer. Empowerment of proto-feminist protagonists like Emily means “they are able to do what they want to do.”3 Emily wants to read and write, but her Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Ruth, who are the main authorities in her upbringing, restrict and discourage her writing and creativity, and Miss Brownell, one of her teachers, even ridicules her writerly ambitions.4 Emily is thus confined by the conventions of traditional female gender roles of the early twentieth century that women in her family and community represent and enforce, which have little room for literary or creative enjoyment or ambitions. She subversively challenges these conventions in her interaction with the texts she reads as they help her reach outside the domestic sphere, the conventional site of femininity in this novel and its wider culture. 

Left: Book cover of Emily of New Moon. Cover illustration by M.L. Kirk. Stokes, 1923. Ryrie-Campbell Collection, KindredSpaces.ca, 542 ENM-MS-1ST. Center: Book cover of Emily Climbs. 1928. Cover illustration by M.L. Kirk. Stokes, 1925. Ryrie-Campbell Coll
Left: Book cover of Emily of New Moon. Cover illustration by M.L. Kirk. Stokes, 1923. Ryrie-Campbell Collection, KindredSpaces.ca, 542 ENM-MS-1ST.
Centre: Book cover of Emily Climbs. 1928. Cover illustration by M.L. Kirk. Stokes, 1925. Ryrie-Campbell Collection, KindredSpaces.ca, 543 EC-MS-1ST.
Right: Book cover of Emily’s Quest. 1928. Cover illustration by M.L. Kirk. Stokes, 1927. Ryrie-Campbell Collection, KindredSpaces.ca, 545 EQ-MS-1ST.


Montgomery’s incorporation of references to other texts in Emily’s story can be called an intertextual dialogue between texts, which is a concept introduced by Julia Kristeva drawing on Mikhael Bakhtin’s dialogism. According to Kristeva, “any text is constructed as a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and transformation of another.”5 In Montgomery’s Emily trilogy, Emily’s intertextual dialogue or interaction is seen most clearly in that she adopts phrases from texts she reads. One of these phrases repeated throughout the trilogy to reinforce Emily’s writerly ambitions is “random word” from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem “The Poet” (1844). Emily uses this phrase as a metaphor for inspiration that can be as hard to find as “some random word [the gods] say” that Emerson’s poet overhears.6 This is one of many examples where references originating from canonical works by and about males centralize female writerly experience in Montgomery’s texts. Such references create what Trinna S. Frever calls a gender shift as the aspiring young female author identifies with Emerson’s male poet and thus links herself to the canonical literary tradition.7

Intertextual references such as the Emerson reference require deep knowledge of other works for the reader to recognize the references and understand all their underlying layers of meaning. The references are part of Montgomery addressing a dual or crossover audience of both adults and teenage girls. This means that a young or inexperienced reader can understand and enjoy the surface layer of Emily’s story without registering all the subversive layers such as the gender shift in the Emerson reference, but to fully understand the link between Emily and other writers, for example Emerson, the reader needs to recognize that Emily is quoting Emerson, a well-known American poet and writer, and that the phrase in Emerson’s poem refers to a male poet whose struggles Emily identifies with. Therefore, the subversive layers target older or advanced readers who share Montgomery’s literary and cultural environment.

Montgomery’s Canadian texts are part of a wider context of English-speaking cultures; thus, the majority of her references are to works of authors writing in English, with a bias toward canonical British and American writers who were an important part of Montgomery’s and her contemporary Canadians’ and colonials’ reading.8 Intertextualities found in the Emily trilogy include canonical works such as poems by Emerson, John Keats, John Milton, Walter Scott, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and William Wordsworth; plays by William Shakespeare; and novels and stories by Charlotte Brontë, John Bunyan, Lewis Carroll, and Rudyard Kipling, but also stories by lesser-known popular female authors such as Ella Rodham Church and Augusta De Bubna published in magazines in Montgomery’s time.9 The referenced authors now considered canonical are predominantly male, thus the empowering links between Emily and other authors often involve a gender shift. In Montgomery’s time, the references may have been recognized also by some younger English-speaking readers because many of the works Montgomery referenced were included in The Royal Readers that Montgomery and her contemporaries read at school.10 

In the Swedish 1950s translations of the Emily books, as a result of abridging the translations for an audience of girls younger than the original adult/teenager crossover audience, and due to the translations being published as girls’ books in a juvenile series with a restrictive page count, references to Emerson’s “random word” as well as many other intertextual references originally targeting a dual audience and supporting Emily’s writerly ambitions have been omitted. As Sandra Beckett points out, abridgement and adaptation of crossover books originally targeting both children and adults reveal much about contemporary educational attitudes and expectations regarding child readers and childhood, or, in Montgomery’s case, girlhood.11 According to Dawn Sardella-Ayres and Ashley N. Reese, girls’ Bildungsromane such as Montgomery’s Emily trilogy construct “a particular ideology about what it means to be a girl in a certain place and time.”12 The books and their translations play a part in the socialization of their girl readers, which is evidenced in Catherine Ross and Åsa Warnqvist’s studies of Canadian and Swedish reading experiences of Montgomery’s books that show that the books influence readers by, for example, shaping their personalities, affecting their career choices, and helping them make difficult decisions.13 

Examining the omissions in the Swedish Emily translations reveals that the Swedish texts reflect conservative and protective attitudes toward the young girl readers because the translations suppress Montgomery’s subversive characterization of Emily as an empowered reader and writer in creative interaction with other texts. By reducing Emily’s intertextual interactions, the Swedish publisher presents the Swedish readers with a more conventional and constrained image of girlhood, in which writerly ambitions are downplayed. The abridgement also means that the Swedish target readers have fewer opportunities to engage in literary interactions of their own by discovering links between Montgomery’s texts and other texts, of which they are unaware because the copyright or title pages of the books contain no information that they are abridged translations. 

The Swedish Translations and Their Translation Norms 

Abridgement generally means that the translator or publisher has chosen to apply target context–oriented translation strategies rather than source text–oriented ones, which, according to pioneering translation scholar Gideon Toury, is a basic initial choice in all translation.14 Target context–oriented strategies are influenced by norms or constraints originating from the publisher and the target context where the translations are published. From a cultural point of view, the choice between either retaining or erasing intertextual references that are part of the source culture is also associated with the concepts of domestication and its opposite, foreignization, originally introduced by Friedrich Schleiermacher and later named by Lawrence Venuti. In Venuti’s words, Schleiermacher illustrated the difference as “bringing the author back home” and “sending the reader abroad.”15 Domesticating translations make for familiar reading, while foreignizing translations challenge the reader to interpret references to another culture than their own. Abridged translations such as the Swedish 1950s Emily books are domesticating translations because choices about omission are made based on constraints set in the target context. These choices result in clashes with the source-oriented norms of formal equivalence between source and target texts because they require modification of the text content.16 

The target context constraints of the Swedish Emily translations originated with the Swedish publisher Gleerup considering Montgomery’s books too long for their series of juvenile books called C.W.K. Gleerups ungdomsböcker [C.W.K. Gleerup’s Juvenile Books].17 Such publisher series that targeted a specific age group and gender were a common phenomenon within children’s literature publishing in the Nordic countries in the 1950s because they were cheap to produce and easy to market due to their uniform page counts and covers.18 As noted by Warnqvist who has researched the publishing history of the Swedish version of Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (1908) in the same series, the translations published in the Gleerup juvenile series were abridged on the publisher’s request.19 Correspondence between the editor Ingrid Schaar and the translator Stina Hergin shows that the requirement of abridgement and the decisions of what to omit were influenced by commercial constraints related to printing costs and the publisher’s opinion about the appropriate length of girls’ books.20 Montgomery’s originals are about 350 pages, while the Swedish translations are about 200 pages with a slightly smaller font size than the originals. In total, the first book, Emily of New Moon, was cut by thirteen per cent and the second book, Emily Climbs, by sixteen per cent.21

To meet the publisher’s requirements, the Swedish Emily trilogy underwent a major modification: the first two books, Emily of New Moon and Emily Climbs, were split into three volumes called Emily (1955), Emily och hennes vänner [Emily and Her Friends] (1956), and Emily på egna vägar [Emily Follows Her Own Path] (1957). The first volume ends with Emily’s first Christmas at New Moon and her successful adjustment to the new home, the second volume ends just before Emily leaves for high school in Shrewsbury, and the third volume covers her Shrewsbury school years. Despite the split into three volumes, extensive abridgement was required. Correspondence between the editor Schaar and the translator Hergin shows they collaborated on selecting the omissions, but the editor had the final say.22 For example, the correspondence discusses deletion of nature descriptions that were considered too sentimental, and these were cut in the translations.23 The correspondence did not specifically discuss deletion of subversive elements and intertextual references. Plot-driven narration was considered the norm for children’s literature,24 and descriptive passages represented the opposite of that; many intertextual references may have been cut as part of longer passages omitted in the translations due to the publisher’s wish to reduce description and the “sentimentality” of the text.25 Thus, subversive elements and intertextual references may have been cut intuitively as a part of abridging the books and targeting them at a younger readership than Montgomery’s original dual audience.

Left: Book cover of Emily. Swedish translation. Cover illustration by Eva Laurell. Gleerups, 1955. Center: Book cover of Emily och hennes vänner. Swedish translation. Cover illustration by Eva Laurell. Gleerups, 1956. Right: Book cover of Emily på egna vä
Left: Book cover of Emily. Swedish translation. Cover illustration by Eva Laurell. Gleerups, 1955. All Rights Reserved.
Centre: Book cover of Emily och hennes vänner. Swedish translation. Cover illustration by Eva Laurell. Gleerups, 1956. All Rights Reserved.
Right: Book cover of Emily på egna vägar. Swedish translation. Cover illustration by Eva Laurell. Gleerups, 1957. All Rights Reserved.


The dual audience of Montgomery’s originals is apparent in a contemporary advertisement of the first Emily book that states, “We’ve Yet to Find the Girl or Woman Who Doesn’t Like Emily of New Moon.”26 Today, this target readership would be called a youth/adult crossover audience. There is no specific information about the age of these girls and women, but, according to an advertisement of Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside (1921), this book was aimed at “young girls of 15 to 20 as well as their elders.”27 The Emily books probably targeted a similar age range because as a contemporary reviewer wrote about Emily’s psychological age, Emily (who is eleven to thirteen years old in the first book) “is far older than the calendar allows.”28 Also Benjamin Lefebvre’s summary of contemporary reviews of the Emily books indicates that Montgomery’s originals were understood to be enjoyed by teenage girls as well as adults.29 

The target audiences of the three Swedish Emily books published in the 1950s were defined by the Swedish publisher Gleerup as girls aged ten to fourteen, eleven to fifteen, and eleven and older, respectively, which is noted in code on the back covers of the books in the form of the age and gender codes “F 10–14,” “F 11–15,” and “F11–,” where “F” stands for “flickor” [girls] and the numbers indicate the recommended age. This age range is younger and more limited than the original crossover target audience described in reviews and advertisements as teenage girls of perhaps fifteen to twenty as well as older women.30 The third book, Emily’s Quest, was not translated at all in the 1950s because the editor Schaar considered it “not as good as” the other books.31 Its content might also have been considered inappropriate for the publisher’s juvenile series and its young target audience, since this book is about Emily’s early adulthood from the age of seventeen to twenty-four. Regardless of the reason, the Swedish 1950s readers were presented with an abridged Emily trilogy, whereby the story ends with Emily finishing high school and choosing not to leave her village rather than with her becoming an author who has published a novel as in the original trilogy. Her writerly journey is much shorter in the Swedish trilogy, and the ending reinforces rather than challenges early twentieth-century female gender norms confining women to a predominantly domestic sphere, removed from professional or public creative endeavour. However, today’s Swedish readers have access also to the last part of Emily’s story since Emily’s Quest was published as Emily gör sitt val [Emily Makes Her Choice] in 1985. This unabridged translation by Margareta Eklöf, which is not part of any publisher series, does not follow the same commercial considerations as the 1950s translations and makes only a few minor omissions of intertextual references and other elements.32 The differing conditions set the translation of the last book apart from the abridged translations of the earlier books that were reprinted in the 1980s and 1990s without adding any of the missing passages.33 

Book cover of Emily göt sitt val.
Book cover of Emily göt sitt val. Swedish translation. Cover illustration by Tord Nygren. Liber, 1985. All Rights Reserved.


The commercial page count constraints were the initial motivation for the abridgement of the 1950s translations, but because the publisher treated the books as children’s books aimed at girls aged ten to fifteen years, the process was probably also affected by didactic and pedagogical norms or constraints. These are concepts introduced in children’s literature scholarship because of the perceived didactic and pedagogical functions of children’s literature.34 Didactic and pedagogical norms have different implications at different times and in different cultures.35 Like all translation norms, they can be reconstructed by comparing originals and translations.36 The didactic norms associated with the didactic function of children’s literature generally aim at providing children with appropriate behaviour models and require children’s books to enhance the intellectual and emotional development of the young reader and set virtuous, worthy examples.37 As I have shown in my earlier publications about the Swedish Emily translations, the influence of didactic norms has resulted in the translations cutting passages in which Emily questions adult authority by disobeying rules, for example those set by her Aunt Elizabeth, and sections in which Emily expresses pantheistic appreciation of nature that inspires her writing, which is at odds with her Presbyterian Christian milieu.38 Emily’s behaviours here represent unconventional girlhood. The pedagogical norms associated with the pedagogical function of children’s literature generally imply that children’s books should be easy to read and require adjustment to the perceived language skills and conceptual knowledge of the young reader.39 The pedagogical norms affecting how intertextual references are translated are based on the belief that young readers cannot relate to unfamiliar characters, settings, and references, and that the foreignness could disrupt their reading experience, which is an extensively debated topic.40 The influence of pedagogical norms on the Swedish Emily translations can be seen in that they leave out intertextual references such as the above-mentioned Emerson reference that represents Montgomery targeting a dual audience of teenage girls and adults instead of only young girls of ten to fifteen like the Swedish translations. When intertextual references have subversive functions, their omission can be linked to didactic and pedagogical norms and to conservative and protective trends in translation observed in Sweden and elsewhere in the 1950s.41

The Concept of Intertextuality

To analyze the impact of the omission of intertextual references in the Swedish translations, my case study requires a more concrete definition of intertextuality than the Kristevan definition outlined above, which indicates that all texts are transformed by elements borrowed from other texts, implying a dialogue between texts.42 Therefore, I turn to Gérard Genette, who introduced the concept of transtextuality as a general category accounting for all kinds of relations between texts and intertextuality as one of its five subcategories.43 In Genette’s terms, intertextuality is “a relationship of copresence between two texts or among several texts” or “the actual presence of one text within another.”44 This means that parts of previous texts become parts of new texts, which can take the form of quotation, plagiarism, or allusion.45 These more or less visible references to other texts (intertextual insertions, incorporated fragments) can also be called intertexts.46 Quotations are the easiest type of intertextuality to identify, since they are explicitly marked with quotation marks, with or without references to their origin. Allusions on the other hand presuppose the perception of a relationship with another text more implicitly than quotations because they are brief loans of linguistic material from another text in modified or unmodified form without quotation marks.47 When Montgomery’s narrator describes Emily by saying that “there is a destiny which shapes the ends of young misses who are born with the itch for writing tingling in their baby fingertips,” she alludes to the line “[t]here’s a divinity that shapes our ends” in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.48 An implicit allusion like this requires more effort than explicitly marked quotations since the reader needs to both recognize that another text is being referred to and that the referenced text is in this case Hamlet. If Montgomery had used quotation marks and Shakespeare’s exact wording, as she does in many other intertextual passages in her texts, this too would have been a quotation rather than an allusion. In addition to quotations and allusions, Montgomery’s texts also contain mentions of titles of literary works like Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress that Emily is reading or has read within the text, which is the most explicit type of intertextuality. Explicit mentions of titles are less likely to be omitted in translation because they are easy to translate literally and appear to belong to the surface layer rather than the deeper, often subversive layer of the text.

The Emily trilogy also illustrates two of Genette’s other transtextual subcategories representing broader relationships between texts: architextuality refers to a set of general categories, such as a literary genre, from which a text emerges.49 The Emily trilogy has an architextual relationship to the female Bildungsroman because it shares elements of a story about the development of a girl and young woman with this genre. Hypertextuality refers to one text being built on another without explicitly mentioning it.50 The Emily trilogy builds on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), another female Bildungsroman with which the Emily trilogy shares many implicit characteristics, as will be developed later.51 

As indicated by the examples of intertextual references to Emerson and Shakespeare discussed above, understanding the layers of intertextual references and their functions requires the reader’s recognition and interpretation. In the Emily trilogy, the reader includes both Emily as a reader embedded in the text and the actual reader reading the Emily books. As Eva M. Almazám García shows, the interpretation of intertextual references has two layers: the first layer, the relevance layer, consists of understanding the purpose of the intertextual reference in the textual context where it is found; the second layer, the intertextual layer, provides additional relevant interpretation when the reader recognizes the intertextual reference and can process it against the additional contextual information it provides.52 Layered interpretation means that a passage with an intertextual reference can seem logical even to a reader who does not recognize the reference and only interprets the relevance layer. Ritva Leppihalme provides a similar two-fold description of the interpretation of intertextual references, whereby the surface layer of the intertextual reference (the words themselves) is a clue to the meaning of the reference, which the reader needs to connect to an earlier use of the same or similar words in another text.53 Young or inexperienced readers are likely to interpret only the surface relevance layer, while adults and more advanced readers are more likely to also delve into the subversive intertextual layer.

The layers can be illustrated by an example from Emily Climbs when Emily says, “I hate to go mincing through life, afraid to take a single long step for fear somebody is watching. I want to ‘wave my wild tail and walk by my wild lone.’”54 The relevance layer enables the reader to recognize that the quotation is relevant to Emily’s view on life because the word “wild” can be linked to freedom, even without knowing that Emily is referring to Rudyard Kipling’s story “The Cat That Walked by Himself” from the collection Just So Stories (1902). The intertextual layer connecting the quotation to its context and Emily’s reading requires the reader to identify the source and draw a parallel between Emily as metaphorical cat and Kipling’s wise and clever cat who refuses to be constrained by the story’s humans. The humans represent the conventions of society by expecting the cat to serve them in accordance with their rules. The story ends with the cat helping the humans on its own terms by catching mice in return for milk and shelter, maintaining its freedom to leave them, unlike other farm animals like the horse or the cow. Emily similarly wishes to have the freedom to make her own choices and to do what she wants without being judged. Further knowledge about Kipling’s story enables the reader to connect the norms confining Emily to the conventions of a patriarchal society where creativity is rated low because in Kipling’s story the man tries to constrain the cat, while the woman of the story makes a flexible bargain with the cat that allows it freedom to come and go as it wants. In Kipling’s story, both the constrained cat and the constraining man are male, but in Montgomery’s books, both roles are attributed to girls and women. Emily is a young girl yearning for freedom, and she is constrained mainly by her matriarchal Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Ruth, who determine how she should behave and what she should read and write. Thus, the reference to Kipling’s story about the general human need of freedom creates a gender shift in Montgomery’s text by centralizing Emily’s and her aunts’ female experience in a constraining patriarchal society. Emily identifies with the cat while her aunts represent both the constraining man and woman in Kipling’s story as they sometimes subject Emily to strict restrictions and sometimes negotiate with her. The reference also foreshadows that the Emily trilogy will end similarly to Kipling’s story, as Emily will maintain her freedom to write but within a traditional marriage to her childhood friend Teddy, which means that, like Kipling’s cat, Emily will liberate herself by achieving a writing career but also remain a part of conventional society. A reader who has not read Kipling’s story cannot make the additional connections to a society that discourages creativity and where both men and women can propagate and resist restrictive conventions, or see Kipling’s story as a foreshadowing of Emily’s story. 

Full interpretation of the layers of intertextual references such as those in Montgomery’s texts requires cultural knowledge and is often difficult even for readers of original texts because cultural knowledge varies individually and with the passing of time. For example, Kipling was well known in the British Empire, including Canada, at the beginning of the twentieth century but is not widely read today. Therefore, intertextual references can be even more challenging for readers of translations than for readers of originals because those who read translations need to have knowledge of a culture other than their own to be able to fully interpret the references. To understand Montgomery’s intertextual references, Swedish readers need to have knowledge about the English-speaking cultural and literary context. A reader who recognizes for example the Emerson, Shakespeare, or Kipling quotations discussed above achieves a deeper understanding of the passage or text and thus participates in the creation of the text’s meaning. 

To transfer the culture-bound qualities of intertextual references into a translation, a translator needs to deconstruct the network of intertextual relations of the original and reconstruct a new network in the translation in a new cultural context, where the target readers of the translations are likely to have a different cultural referential framework than the author or the readers who are participants in the same culture as the source text.55 Ideally, the translator completes the task of transferring all intertextual meanings from the original to the translation to enable the target readers to engage in the same readings as those who read the source text. In practice, this is often not possible, and translated intertextual references can result in a culture bump, a concept Leppihalme introduced in translation studies for situations wherein a target reader has a problem understanding a source-culture allusion.56 However, in cases like the abridged Swedish translations of Montgomery’s Emily books, the translator and publisher did not even aim to transfer all the intertextual meanings because they needed to cut parts of the text to make the books “normal Swedish girls’ book length” and wanted to make the books easier to read for young readers.57 As the following analysis will show, this erasure of intertextuality results in the loss of those empowering subversive layers that transform the meaning of Montgomery’s texts.

Intertextuality Lost in Translation

The omissions of intertextual references to English-language works in the abridged Swedish Emily translations make the English-language literary traditions and the Canadian cultural context less visible in the translations and reduce the literary complexity of Montgomery’s texts.58 No complete list of intertextual references in the Emily trilogy has been compiled, but I estimate that roughly sixty per cent of all references in the original have been left out in the Swedish translation of Emily of New Moon based on the fact that nineteen of thirty references annotated in the Rock’s Mills Press edition are missing in the translation. Deleted intertextual references in the Swedish Emily translations concern English-language works that were well known to Montgomery’s contemporary Canadian readers, such as poems by British and American poets like Tennyson and Emerson; presumably, they were omitted because they were assumed to be unknown to the young Swedish target readers in the 1950s. The references that have not been deleted have been translated either literally (for example, James Thomson’s The Seasons becomes Årstider) or by reference to an existing Swedish translation of the referenced work (for example, Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress is referred to as Kristens resa). Substitution with a target culture reference, which is known as cultural adaptation in translation studies, is not applied to intertextual references in the Swedish Emily translations. The references that have been retained in the Swedish versions by literal translation or reference to an existing translation include mostly mentions of titles Emily is reading, while quotations and allusions such as the above Kipling example have often been omitted. Thus, longer and more implicit intertextual references tend to be cut. 

Both omission and literal translation erase the cultural connotations related to the English-speaking source culture. This means that the text is culturally standardized or neutralized because it then contains fewer elements that require knowledge about the source culture to be fully understood, and thus the text is easier to read for a younger Swedish target audience that is not expected to be familiar with the source’s cultural references. This standardization is part of converting crossover texts like Montgomery’s to single-address texts, which narrows down the age of the target audience to young people only. The following analysis of the Swedish translations will demonstrate that omission and literal translation of intertextual references focus on the pedagogical function to provide young readers with texts that are easier for them to read and that follow conservative didactic principles. The application of these constraints erases source cultural connotations and intertextual layers and alters the characterization, thematic, and subversive functions of Montgomery’s texts by reducing Emily’s creative interaction with literature and making her a more conventional girl, downplaying her literary ambitions as reader and writer. 

Intertextuality and Emily’s Reading

Intertextual references that suggest character traits are crucial in Montgomery’s texts because, as Mary Rubio argues, her narrative method focuses on characters and their thoughts, feelings, and ideas, rather than on plots.59 Intertextual references as devices for characterization in Montgomery’s texts have been discussed by, for example, Wilmshurst, who notes that the protagonist of Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables is described as “a bookish, word-oriented child” through her use of quotations. Ann F. Howey, meanwhile, shows that Anne is an active, empowered reader who not only receives but also makes meaning from the texts she reads: for instance, when she enacts Tennyson’s Lily Maid and questions the narrative conventions of romance she has learned from the story.60 Montgomery similarly characterizes Emily as an active and empowered reader as the intertextual references in the Emily books express her love of books, show her in creative and reflective interaction with other texts, and indicate that her active reading and creativity empower her in relation to the constraining society around her. 

Emily is characterized through her reading from the first chapter of Emily of New Moon when her father is dying and she is found “curled herself up in the ragged, comfortable old wing-chair … read[ing] The Pilgrim’s Progress all the afternoon.”61 Emily’s escape from the insecure situation into reading suggests not only the importance of reading in Emily’s life but also the internal strength it provides her. Emily’s reading of this allegory of Christian life, which compares the active male Christian to the passive female Christiana, is retained in the translation with reference to the Swedish title Kristens resa, published in four retranslations in the 1940s.62 However, the rest of the original paragraph, which reads “Emily loved The Pilgrim’s Progress. Many a time had she walked the straight and narrow path with Christian and Christiana” and describes how Emily prefers Christian’s adventures to Christiana’s because Christiana “had not half the fascination of that solitary, intrepid figure who faced all alone the shadows of the Dark Valley” has been left out.63 The translation does not show that Emily identifies with the active male rather than the passive female character. Thus, the gender shift indicating Emily’s desire for independence is absent. In the translation, Emily’s reading of the book is mentioned only in passing without describing her thoughts about the story and the characters.64 The reader of the translation is not reminded of the plot or characters of The Pilgrim’s Progress and cannot make the connection between Emily’s fascination with the brave independent Christian and her experience of loneliness after her father’s death, which she manages to turn into a source of power by her identification with Christian. The relevance layer where Emily finds comfort in reading is maintained, while the intertextual layer is greatly obscured. This omission of the empowering description of Emily’s reading experience weakens her interaction with literature and presents her as a more conventional female character than in the original. 

A few chapters later, Emily discusses her reading in a letter to her now dead father, telling him that she has discovered she can write poetry, and then lists the books she has read from her aunts’ bookcase at her new home at New Moon.65 Emily thereby connects reading and writing from the outset of her literary development. Emily’s list includes a wide range of books, some by internationally well-known authors such as Rob Roy (1817), a novel by Walter Scott, and others by authors whose works were not available in Swedish such as The Seasons (1826–30), a long blank-verse poem by James Thomson. The Swedish translation retains the reference to Rob Roy, which had been translated into Swedish in 1824–1825, and renders the title The Seasons literally as Årstider despite there being no Swedish translation of the book.66 Titles like The Seasons that have been translated literally only maintain the relevance layer indicating that Emily has read the book because there is no Swedish book called Årstider that readers can recognize and make an intertextual connection to. The intertextual layer is lost in a similar way as when a reference has been omitted. References left out in this passage include “Mrs Hemans poems [Emily’s spelling],” referring to poems by the English poet Felicia Dorothea Hemans, who was widely read in schools in the British Empire.67 Hemans was a favourite author of Montgomery and is also a role model for Emily.68 Thus, a reference to one of Emily’s few female literary role models disappears, while the references to male writers in the passage are retained. In this passage describing Emily’s early reading, the Swedish translation also mentions fewer books than the original, which means that Emily’s reading is emphasized less.

The passage listing books ends with a more detailed discussion of two children’s novels, Carroll’s famous Alice in Wonderland (1865) and John A. Clarke’s didactic religious novel A Memoir of Anzonetta R. Peters (1882). In this section of Emily’s letter to her father in Montgomery’s original, Emily compares herself to Alice and Anzonetta: she “might be an Alice under more faverable circumstances [Emily’s spelling]” but “can never be as good as Anzonetta” and does not want to be because Anzonetta “never had any fun.”69 The reader is expected to know Alice, whom Emily does not describe, whereas Emily provides a description of Anzonetta, whom she presents as an exceptionally good girl who spoke in hymns, suggesting that Montgomery did not expect her contemporary Canadian readers to know the connotations of this reference. The Swedish translation renders both references literally as Alice i Underland and Anzonetta B. Peters memoarer and includes the description of Anzonetta.70 Anzonetta has no referent in Swedish, whereas a Swedish translation of Alice in Wonderland had been published in 1951 with the only slightly different title Alice i Underlandet, making the Alice reference recognizable. The translation conveys the relevance layer of both references by transferring the main connotations of Emily reading books about girls whom she compares herself to, but in the case of Anzonetta the intertextual layer and the additional interpretative context about Anzonetta’s story and personality that deeper knowledge about the book could provide are probably partially lost for Swedish readers unfamiliar with the book that was not translated into Swedish. Readers of the original may have been faced with a similar challenge because the book was perhaps not well known in Montgomery’s time. 

Later in the first novel, Emily explores two other bookcases, those of her neighbour Dr. Burnley and her Aunt Nancy. Both are associated with taboos because Emily is banned from Dr. Burnley’s bookcase after having read William Thackeray’s novel The History of Henry Esmond (1852), despite having previously been forbidden to read novels, and Aunt Nancy’s bookcase has a shelf of romance novels that she calls “French novels” that Emily is not allowed to read.71 Both episodes have been completely cut in the Swedish translation. These omissions of episodes that describe Emily defying or questioning restrictions to her development as a reader reflect the translation’s didactic purification of rebellious and unconventional values conveyed in Montgomery’s original text.72 In comparison with the retained references describing Emily’s reading discussed above, these didactic omissions indicate that the translation is more likely to retain superficial references to reading than references with subversive qualities. Thus, the descriptions of constraints associated with Emily’s development as a reader are lost.

In addition to mentioning the titles of books Emily reads, in the originals, Montgomery incorporates quotations, which characterize Emily as an interactive and empowered reader. In the Emily trilogy, quotations are included either by the narrator or by Emily herself. In particular, the narrator’s quotations are a crossover feature intended primarily for adult or advanced readers. How the intertextual references characterizing Emily function in the series depends on whether the intertextual reference is made by the narrator or Emily herself. Particularly in the first book, the narrator’s intertextual references foreshadow Emily’s literary future and what Emily will read later. For example, in Emily of the New Moon, when Emily is still at the beginning of her creative development and interaction with literature, the narrator describes her friends with a passage from Tennyson’s poem “Locksley Hall” (1842) about a rejected suitor, saying that “certainly Rhoda Stuart and Dot Payne compared to Ilse were ‘as moonlight unto sunlight and as water unto wine’—or would have been if Emily had as yet known anything more of her Tennyson than ‘The Bugle Song.’”73 This represents an intellectual gap between young Emily and the narrator, who is implied to be Emily’s biographer and thus writes retrospectively. The explicit purpose of the narratorial comment referring to Tennyson is to describe Emily’s close relationship with her best friend Ilse, while the implicit purpose is to foreshadow Emily’s development as a reader and her understanding of human nature and relationships. The narrator provides the reader with two different intertextual references by indicating that Emily does not yet know Tennyson’s “Locksley Hall,” which is a more advanced poem in which the line quoted above compares women and men. She only knows “Bugle Song” (1847), which was included in school readers in Montgomery’s and Emily’s time. Thus, the narrator speaks to a reader more sophisticated than the eleven-year-old protagonist, a typical example of Montgomery specifically addressing an adult reader. The passage about Tennyson and the references to his poems are omitted in the Swedish translation, which results in loss of the dual address and the intertextual play characterizing Emily as a reader who will delve deeper into the world of canonical literature. Thus, the narrator’s role of empowering Emily and supporting her unconventional writerly ambitions is reduced.

Quotations used by the narrator dominate the beginning of the trilogy, while quotations used by Emily herself dominate the end. Emily’s development as a writer is thus illustrated by her learning to use intertextual references, which empowers her in conversations with other characters as well as in her writing. In Emily Climbs, Emily alludes to Kipling’s above discussed story “The Cat That Walked by Himself” (1902) to express a wish for freedom: when leaving for high school, she describes her desire for independence by telling Dean Priest, her possessive future suitor, when he questions her need for education, that “I’m like Kipling’s cat—I walk by my wild lone and wave my wild tail where so it pleases me.”74 Later, Emily makes the same reference to Kipling’s cat “waving his wild tail and walking by his wild lone,” an alliterative phrase repeated throughout Kipling’s story, this time to criticize conventions that condemn Emily’s innocent interaction with her friend Perry who teasingly tries to kiss her.75 In the first case describing Emily’s wish for independence at high school, the relevance layer of the reference to Kipling is retained in the Swedish translation through a literal translation of the quotation, whereas in the second case related to Emily’s interaction with Perry, the quotation is cut, eliminating Emily’s wish for freedom to interact with her friends without having to abide by conventions governing young female sexuality.76 Considering that according to B.J. Epstein the 1950s was a conservative period in translations,77 the omission of the second quotation can be attributed to its subversive qualities that emphasize Emily’s resistance to social norms concerning propriety through her wish for independence rather than to the quotation’s cultural foreignness in the Swedish context. The deletion of the Tennyson and Kipling quotations and other similar intertextual references decreases Emily’s interaction with literature and makes Montgomery’s text less complex because the role of empowering reading is diminished in the characterization of Emily.

Intertextuality Emphasizing Creativity

As Leppihalme notes, in addition to a characterization function, intertextual references also have a thematic function as they reinforce themes by implying that a situation or character is particularly important for the interpretation of a text as a whole.78 In the Emily trilogy, the literary references reinforce the creativity theme and Emily’s development as a writer. Phrases from poems serve as recurring metaphors that echo Emily’s creative moments throughout the trilogy, the main one being her progress along “the Alpine Path” from the poem “The Fringed Gentian,” which describes a woman’s dream of becoming a famous poet. It is from a serialized magazine story Tam: The Story of a Woman (1884) by Church and De Bubna, which Montgomery discovered as a child.79 Montgomery adopted climbing “the Alpine Path” as a metaphor for her own as well as Emily’s career and quest for attaining success as a writer.80 The following verse quoted by Dean in a letter to Emily at the end of Emily of New Moon inspires Emily to invoke climbing “the Alpine Path” as a recurring metaphor for her quest for success as an author throughout the trilogy: 

Then whisper, blossom, in thy sleep
How I may upward climb
The Alpine Path, so hard, so steep,
That leads to heights sublime.
How I may reach that far-off goal
Of true and honoured fame
And write upon its shining scroll
A woman’s humble name.81

The lengthy quotation is crucial for the understanding of the recurring allusion since the poem was probably unknown even to most of Montgomery’s contemporary readers as it was only available in a magazine. The poem inspires Emily to make a vow that “I, Emily Byrd Starr, do solemnly vow this day that I will climb the Alpine Path and write my name on the scroll of fame.”82 Later references to the poem are related to this vow, which encapsulates Emily’s ambition. In the abridged Swedish translation, the whole passage introducing the poem is omitted, and therefore all later references to “the Alpine Path” in Emily of New Moon (three references) and Emily Climbs (eleven references) are also either left out or otherwise neutralized.83 In the cases when references to “the Alpine Path” are not cut, they are replaced with various generic phases related to success: nå ärans tinnar [reach the pinnacles of glory], författardrömmar [writer dreams], framgång [success], på den banan [on the path], vägen till framgång [the path to success], and lång väg att gå [long way to go].84 These phrases maintain the relevance layer, but the intertextual layer and the poetic context are lost. The idea represented by the repeated phrase loses it urgency; a woman’s success and Emily’s writerly ambitions are thus not emphasized. However, in the 1985 unabridged translation of Emily’s Quest, all seven references to “the Alpine Path” have been retained in the form of the literal translation alpstigen [the alpine path], but the source and connotations of the reference are not explained because the earlier books in the series were reprinted in their abridged form without adding “the Alpine Path” quotation or providing the context for the references.85 The loss of “the Alpine Path” metaphor results in considerable de-emphasis of the female literary ambition theme, which is woven into the original Emily’s Quest through this thematic intertextuality. 

Another similar recurring thematic intertextual reference is introduced in the first chapter of Emily Climbs where Dean quotes a verse from Emerson’s poem “The Poet” (1844) to encourage Emily in her writing. In the quoted verse, which was discussed in the beginning of this essay, the poet overhears “one [sic] random word they [the gods] say.”86 As Epperly notes, the encouragement is ambivalent, since the quotation can also suggest that even the inspired hear only a random piece of the truth.87 This ambivalence suggests that creativity is associated with a lack of control. In the Swedish translation of Emily Climbs, this passage and all subsequent references to “the random word” are omitted, which erases both the relevance and intertextual layers, resulting in the loss of the link to Emerson and the emphasis of Emily’s creativity. In the original trilogy, Emerson’s poem inspires Emily to use the phrase “random word” as a metaphor for the inspiration to write that is sometimes hard to find. For example, after one of her walks in the woods she calls “The Land of Uprightness,” she writes in her journal that “one of my wonder moments came to me—It seemed to me that I got out of my body and was free—I’m sure I heard an echo of that ‘random word’ of the gods—and I wanted some unused language to express what I saw and felt [my italics].”88 Here the Swedish translation leaves out the insertion (marked in italics) referring to “the random word,” which results in the empowering link between the personal creative moment and the canonical literary tradition that constitutes Emily’s literary landscape disappearing.

In Montgomery’s original, Emily finds similar inspiration in John Keats’s poem “Endymion” (1818), which is a shepherd-prince’s quest for love, joy, and beauty. The verse quoted in Montgomery’s text contains the phrase “airy voices,” which inspires Emily to “follow them through every discouragement and doubt and disbelief till they lead us to our City of Fulfilment, wherever it may be.”89 In the Swedish translation, the whole passage in which Emily describes her experience of reading Keats and quotes lines from his poems has been left out. The chapter entitled “Airy Voices” in the original has been greatly abridged and given the prosaic title “Sommar och höst” [“Summer and Fall”] in Swedish. Emily’s active association with a canonical writer is once again missing, and focus shifts from Emily’s active inspiration to a passive change of seasons indicated by the chapter title. Due to these omissions and other neutralizations of recurring literary phrases associated with creativity, all central and recurrent intertextual thematic metaphors linked to Emily’s development as a writer and the creativity theme of the trilogy are lost in the Swedish translations. Thus, Emily’s empowering creativity is reduced. 

Intertextuality with Subversive Qualities

Alongside their characterization and thematic function, intertextual references reinforce subversive themes; this is one of Montgomery’s nine strategies for subtle social criticism identified by Rubio.90 Subversive qualities of intertextual references indicate that they hint at a taboo topic.91 Many of the reinforcements are based on irony and related to criticism of the conventions of Montgomery’s time.92 I have already shown subversive qualities in some of the omitted intertextual references discussed above, but a crucial hypertextual subversive reference related to girlhood and sexuality missing in the Swedish Emily translations is an allusion to Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Similarities between the Emily trilogy and Jane Eyre have been discussed by many scholars, most extensively by Epperly, who sees this polemical novel as one of the most important intertextual references of the trilogy and points out many similarities in plots and themes: on the thematic level, both protagonists are orphans who love reading and develop into women who want to be more independent than the female gender roles allow and earn their own living, and episodic similarities include both experiencing being locked up in a frightening room and meeting their suitors in rescue scenes.93 Also Rubio notes a subversive intertextual discourse between the Emily books and Brontë’s Jane Eyre and other women-authored books that describe the conditions of women in a patriarchal world.94 

Although implicit similarities are evident early in the first Emily book, Jane Eyre is not explicitly referenced until the latter part of the book in a scene when Emily meets her future suitor Dean for the first time. As Kathleen Miller notes, this is the first instance Montgomery “self-consciously calls attention to Emily’s intertextuality with Brontë’s novel.”95 In this scene, Dean saves Emily from falling down a cliff, and the scene ends with Dean’s placing a wild aster Emily was attempting to pick between the leaves of his copy of Jane Eyre next to the verse “All glorious rose upon my sight / That child of shower and gleam.”96 As Holly Pike argues, the quotation suggests that Dean associates Emily with Brontë’s novel97 and implies that Dean identifies with Jane’s suitor Rochester. The passage seems quite innocent to readers not familiar with Brontë’s novel, but the quotation is actually from a poem about passion and love that Rochester sings for Jane in the novel, foreshadowing for advanced readers that just as Rochester falls in love with the younger Jane, thirty-six-year-old Dean will fall in love with Emily, who is only thirteen. According to Epperly, the quotation provides the key to interpret Emily and Dean’s love affair that ends with a broken engagement as a contrastive parallel to that of Jane and Rochester’s, which ends in a happy marriage.98 In Brontë’s novel, Jane rescues Rochester, while Montgomery’s conventional male-rescues-female plot foreshadows that Emily and Dean’s relationship will not develop into an equal marriage. Instead, Emily rejects Dean in the third book of the Emily trilogy. As both Rubio and Epperly point out, Dean’s character has more similarities with Jane’s other, rejected suitor, the self-absorbed minister, St. John Rivers.99 Dean and Emily’s relationship is characterized by Dean’s possessiveness, alluded to in their first meeting, when he tells Emily that “your life belongs to me henceforth,” igniting Emily’s rebellious spirit.100 The Jane Eyre passage concluding the scene and chapter emphasizes the romantic and possessive implications of this scene. As Gabriella Åhmansson notes, the quotation and the parallels to Jane Eyre reveal Dean’s romantic intentions toward Emily already at their first meeting, resulting in a passage that is somewhat erotically charged and thus a taboo because of their age difference.101 

The elimination of the quotation in the Swedish translation makes the subversive confinement of women centralized by the parallels and contrasts with Brontë’s novel considerably less obvious, and readers are less likely to make hypertextual connections to Brontë. By leaving out the allusion, the translation also rules out possible erotic interpretations of the passage in both the relevance and intertextual layer, and the episode in which Emily meets Dean is simplified and loses many of its dual-address features. Because of the deletion in the translation targeted at younger readers than the original, Dean’s intentions, which can be considered inappropriate because of the age difference between the characters, are less apparent at this early stage. The omission of subversive intertextual references like the Jane Eyre reference is also part of downplaying the empowering characterization of Emily.


Large parts of Montgomery’s rich literary landscape and Emily’s empowering literary interaction, which are integral parts of Montgomery’s complex, proto-feminist texts, have been lost in the Swedish Emily translations abridged for a juvenile audience of girls aged ten to fifteen. The dilution of Montgomery’s multi-layered texts results in Swedish readers meeting a conventionalized, less compelling and complex heroine who expresses less creativity than Montgomery’s original Emily does. The abridged 1950s translations support earlier research showing this period to be a conservative one in translation102 as the Emily translations present a more constrained image of girlhood than Montgomery’s originals. The translations suppress Montgomery’s reinforcement of subversive themes challenging the constraining conventions of womanhood and traditional gender roles restricting creativity and independence and discouraging writing as a profession for women. The crucial role of reading in Emily’s life is reduced, and the focus of the books shifts from the creativity and literary ambition theme and Emily’s development as a reader and writer to Emily’s domestic adventures, such as her relationships with her friends and classmates. Swedish readers who read the books in the 1950s did not even see Emily fulfilling her dream of becoming an author since the final book of the trilogy was missing, making Emily’s climb on “the Alpine Path” much shorter, and less successful, than in the original trilogy. Analysis of the abridgement shows that in addition to commercial constraints requiring a reduced page count, the translations were subject to pedagogical constraints resulting in the removal of intertextual references that the young target readers were not expected to recognize and to didactic constraints resulting in purification of unconventional behaviour models in intertextual passages challenging female gender norms that do not encourage creativity and independence. The combination of these constraints means that some omissions of intertextual references were probably made because their context was deemed inappropriate for young readers rather than only because the referent was considered unfamiliar to the readers. 

Commercial page-count constraints and a conservative ideology about girlhood were given priority over opportunities for readers to engage in dialogue between Montgomery’s texts and the texts she refers to and to create links of their own as there are fewer intertextual clues and underlying layers available to interpret. As the 1950s translations cut many intertextual references, which represent Emily’s reading and reading in Montgomery’s early twentieth-century Canada, their readers lose many opportunities to learn about English-language literary cultures. Omission of intertextuality makes Montgomery’s books more culturally neutral because readers of the translations are not confronted with interpreting source-cultural references to the same extent as readers of the original texts. The translations that contain fewer source-cultural intertextual references may be easier to read for young readers unfamiliar with the references. But the erasure of the references also results in the loss of the dual-address level of the text, whereby Montgomery speaks to a reader who knows or who, like Emily, is learning about the canonical literary works of her culture and time by characterizing Emily as an empowered reader in creative interaction with a literary landscape consisting of both men and women writers and both canonical and lesser-known authors. Simplification of the texts and suppression of Montgomery’s and Emily’s intertextual dialogue results in the link that Montgomery creates between her own and Emily’s writing and that of canonical, predominantly male, writers being lost. Because many of Montgomery’s empowering subversive themes reinforced by intertextual references are missing in the translations, the texts also lose features that could empower their female readers. If more intertextual passages had been retained in the translations, the subversive, empowering influence of the texts noted by Warnqvist in her analysis of Swedish reading experiences could have been even stronger.103

The omission of intertextuality in the Swedish Emily translations is associated with the process of transforming Montgomery’s crossover texts written for a dual audience of teenage girls and adults to more strictly single-audience texts targeting younger readers. Today these translations expressing protective attitudes to readers no longer correspond to the prevailing translation norms. New translations aimed at a crossover audience including both adults and children and retaining the intertextual references and other crossover features are called for to make Montgomery’s rich literary landscape and the multi-faceted functions of her intertextual references available to modern Swedish readers ready to engage in Montgomery’s intertextual dialogue. In Poland, another country to have early abridged translations of Montgomery’s books, retranslations emphasizing subversive traits have already emerged for Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.105 Montgomery’s continuous cross-generational popularity in Sweden warrants the challenge of retranslation to be taken on by a new publisher and translator. Annotated translations emphasizing the intertextual, dialogic qualities of Montgomery texts could be used to convey the underlying layers of Montgomery’s original empowering meanings to readers around the world as some layers of the intertextual references are inevitably lost if the new target readers do not recognize a reference. If Montgomery were translated and marketed as a crossover author, her work would gain an even larger global audience.


About the Author: Laura Leden, a Ph.D. candidate in Swedish Translation Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland, is a regular participant at the LMMI biennial conference. Her soon to be published Ph.D. thesis examines adaptation in translations of girls’ books. With her expertise in girlhood studies, translation, and paratexts, as evidenced by a strong publication and conference record in children’s literature journals (for example, Barnboken—Journal of Children's Literature Research, 2019), collections (for example, Translating Boundaries: Constraints, Limits, Opportunities, Stuttgart, 2018), and venues (for example, the IRSCL conference in Stockholm, 2019), her contribution to Montgomery scholarship internationally is immense.


Banner image derived from an image featuring book covers of Emily (1955), Emily och hennes vänner (1956), and Emily på egna vägar (1957), illustrated by Eva Laurell. Photo by Laura Leden, 2020. 


  • 1 Montgomery, ENM 42.
  • 2 Epperly, Fragrance 148–9.
  • 3 Trites, Waking 8.
  • 4 Emily’s writing is encouraged mainly by marginalized men in her community, such as by her “simple-minded” Cousin Jimmy; her teacher Mr. Carpenter, who suffers from alcoholism; Father Cassidy, who is a Catholic priest in a predominantly Presbyterian community; and Dean “Jarback” Priest, who suffers a physical disability.
  • 5 Kristeva, Desire 66.
  • 6 Emerson, “The Poet.”
  • 7 Frever, “Adaptive Interplay” 3. Frever describes similar centering of female experience in Montgomery’s adaptation of Shakespeare references in the Anne books (3–10).
  • 8 In her analysis of Emily’s interaction with portraits of Lord Byron, Queen Alexandra, Giovanna Degli Albizzi, and the Mona Lisa, Clement notes that in the Emily trilogy, Montgomery includes “pictorial as well as literary references” (“Visual Culture” 20–26).
  • 9 Intertextual references found in the Emily trilogy include: Brontë, Jane Eyre; Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress; Carroll, Alice in Wonderland; Emerson, “The Poet”; Keats, “Endymion”; Kipling, “The Cat That Walked by Himself”; Milton, Paradise Lost; Scott, Rob Roy and “The Lay of the Last Minstrel”; Shakespeare, Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Tennyson, “Locksley Hall” and “The Bugle Song”; and Wordsworth, “The Trossachs.” Two of these author names, Brontë and Scott, are included in Montgomery’s list of her six all-time favourite novels (Montgomery, “What Are” 152). No complete list has been made of intertextual references in the Emily trilogy, but Wilmshurst has compiled a complete list of intertextual references in Montgomery’s Anne books, in which the authors most frequently quoted or alluded to are Shakespeare, Tennyson, Longfellow, and Wordsworth (“L.M. Montgomery’s” 39–43).
  • 10 Rubio, Lucy Maud 41.
  • 11 Beckett, Crossover Fiction 19.
  • 12 Sardella-Ayres and Reese, “Where to” 36–37.
  • 13 Ross and Warnqvist, “Reading L.M. Montgomery.”
  • 14 Toury, Descriptive 56.
  • 15 Schleiermacher, “On the Different Methods of Translating” 49; Venuti, The Translator’s 20.
  • 16 Desmidt, “A Prototypical Approach” 86.
  • 17 Warnqvist, “‘Don’t Be Too Upset’” 15.
  • 18 Heikkilä-Halttunen, Kuokkavieraasta 415–16.
  • 19 Warnqvist, “‘I Experienced’” 229, 232.
  • 20 Warnqvist, “Anne på Grönkulla” 214, “‘Don’t Be Too Upset’” 15–16.
  • 21 Leden, “Klassiska” 37.
  • 22 Warnqvist, “‘Don’t Be Too Upset’” 15–21.
  • 23 Warnqvist, “‘Don’t Be Too Upset’” 18–20.
  • 24 For example, Nodelman lists plot-driven narration as a typical characteristic of children’s literature (The Pleasures 190).
  • 25 Warnqvist, “‘Don’t Be Too Upset’” 18–20.
  • 26 Lefebvre, L.M. Montgomery Reader 30.
  • 27 Lefebvre i.
  • 28 Lefebvre 241.
  • 29 Lefebvre 241, 253.
  • 30 Lefebvre i, 30, 241, 253; see also Leden, “For Children Only.”
  • 31 Warnqvist, “‘Don’t Be Too Upset’” 15.
  • 32 Leden, “Klassiska” 38.
  • 33 The full set of the four Swedish translations was last reprinted in 1995, and only the first abridged Swedish book was reprinted in 2007 (Libris).
  • 34 Ben-Ari, “Didactic and Pedagogic” 222; Desmidt 86; Puurtinen, Linguistic 17.
  • 35 Desmidt 86; Puurtinen 17.
  • 36 Toury, “A Handful” 21.
  • 37 Desmidt 86; Puurtinen 17.
  • 38 Leden, “Emily Byrd Starr,” “Girls’ Classics.”
  • 39 Desmidt 86; Puurtinen 17.
  • 40 As discussed by van Coillie and Verschueren, adaptation to the target culture was self-evident for most translators for a long time, but since the 1980s, more and more translators have chosen to retain foreignness to introduce children to other cultures (“Editors’ Preface” viii).
  • 41 Epstein, “The Conservative Era” 74–76; Gentzler and Tymoczko, “Introduction” xi.
  • 42 Kristeva 66, see also Allen, Intertextuality 11.
  • 43 Genette, Palimpsets 1.
  • 44 Genette 1–2.
  • 45 Genette 1–2.
  • 46 Rzyman, The Intertextuality 12–13. Rzyman’s study also includes non-literary intertexts, such as literary and extra-literary names, idioms and proverbs, and visual arts references (17).
  • 47 Genette 2; Leppihalme 9.
  • 48 Montgomery, ENM 69; Shakespeare, Hamlet.
  • 49 Genette 1, 5.
  • 50 Genette 1, 5.
  • 51 Epperly, Fragrance 155–59; Miller, “Haunted Heroines” 139–40; Pike, “Reading the Book”; Rubio, “Subverting” 25–27.
  • 52 García, “Dwelling” 10–12.
  • 53 Leppihalme, Culture Bumps 4.
  • 54 Montgomery, EC 242.
  • 55 Farahzad, “Translation”; Sakellariou, “The Appropriation”; Zhang and Ma, “Intertextuality.”
  • 56 Leppihalme 4.
  • 57 Warnqvist, “‘Don’t Be Too Upset’” 25.
  • 58 Seifert has noted similar reduction of literary complexity by omission of intertextual references in German Montgomery translations (“Conflicting” 335).
  • 59 Rubio, “Subverting” 21.
  • 60 Wilmshurst 15; Howey, “Reading Elaine” 86, 97, 102–03.
  • 61 Montgomery, ENM 2.
  • 62 Libris.
  • 63 Montgomery, ENM 2, Emily 9.
  • 64 The omission may indicate that The Pilgrim’s Progress was known but perhaps not widely read in 1950s Sweden. However, Swedish readers of girls’ fiction might have been familiar with the book since it figures as a crucial intertextual reference in Louisa M. Alcott’s classic Little Women (1868), which was widely read in Swedish alongside Montgomery.
  • 65 Montgomery, ENM 75–77.
  • 66 Emily 103–104.
  • 67 Montgomery, ENM 76.
  • 68 Montgomery, ENM 76.
  • 69 Montgomery, ENM 77. The intentional spelling mistakes in this quotation from a letter from young Emily to her father reflect Emily’s young age and the early stages of her literary development.
  • 70 Montgomery, Emily 105.
  • 71 Montgomery, ENM 169, 190.
  • 72 See Leden, “Girls’ Classics.”
  • 73 Montgomery, ENM 93; Tennyson, “Locksley Hall.”
  • 74 Montgomery, EC 89.
  • 75 Kipling, “The Cat” 2, 3, 4, 8; Montgomery, EC 242.
  • 76 If the quotations were provided in the translation, the 1950s Swedish readers might have been able to interpret the Kipling reference as Kipling’s collection Just So Stories (1902), including the referenced cat story, had recently been retranslated into Swedish in 1953.
  • 77 Epstein, “The Conservative Era” 74–76.
  • 78 Leppihalme 37.
  • 79 Church and De Bubna, “The Fringed Gentian”; Montgomery, AP 10; Montgomery, ENM 219. In The Alpine Path, Montgomery calls the poem “To the Fringed Gentian” and has made minor changes to the wording compared to Church and De Bubna's version published in a magazine and pasted on page 23 of Montgomery's Red Scrapbook. See Epperly, Imagining Anne.
  • 80 Montgomery uses the metaphor of climbing the Alpine Path to describe her career, for example in her journals and in her autobiography entitled The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career.
  • 81 Church and De Bubna, “The Fringed Gentian”; Montgomery, AP 10; Montgomery, ENM 219. The version quoted is Montgomery's version.
  • 82 Montgomery, ENM 220.
  • 83 Montgomery, ENM 219, 220, 228; EC 28, 41, 79, 84, 132, 154, 165, 258, 285, 305, 317.
  • 84 Montgomery, Emily och hennes vänner 152, 191; Emily på egna vägar 66, 72, 174, 194, 207.
  • 85 Montgomery, Emily gör sitt val 6, 17, 21, 41, 166, 181, 192.
  • 86 Emerson, “The Poet”; Montgomery, EC 10. Montgomery misquotes the line, which is “some random word they say” in Emerson’s text.
  • 87 Epperly, Fragrance 172.
  • 88 Emerson, “The Poet”; Montgomery, EC 314; my italics.
  • 89 Keats, “Endymion”; Montgomery, EC 257.
  • 90 Rubio, “Subverting” 24.
  • 91 Epstein, “Life” 5.
  • 92 Blewett similarly shows that Montgomery’s Tennyson references express ambivalence about the conventional romance that shapes Anne of Green Gables and the Anne series in an ironic and humorous way (“An Unfortunate” 277). Frever, who analyzes Montgomery’s transformation of Shakespeare references in the early Anne books, shows that the adaptive use of the references in female and domestic contexts centres the female experience and subversively critiques male power (9–10).
  • 93 Epperly, Fragrance 155–59. See also Miller 139–40; Pike, “Reading the Book”; Rubio, “Subverting” 25–27.
  • 94 Rubio, “Subverting” 25.
  • 95 Miller 140.
  • 96 Brontë, Jane Eyre 356; Montgomery, ENM 206. Montgomery misquotes the first line, which is “For Glorious rose upon my sight” in Brontë’s text.
  • 97 Pike.
  • 98 Epperly, Fragrance 163.
  • 99 Rubio, “Subverting” 25; Epperly, Fragrance 164.
  • 100 Montgomery, ENM 205.
  • 101 Åhmansson, “Det skapande” 146.
  • 102 Epstein, “The Conservative Era” 74–76; Gentzler and Tymoczko xi.
  • 103 Warnqvist, “Flickan” 39. See also Ross and Warnqvist.
  • 105 Pielorz, “Does Each Generation” 105, 117–19.
Works Cited - Manual

Works Cited

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Allen, Graham. Intertextuality. Second edition. Routledge, 2011.

Beckett, Sandra L. Crossover Fiction: Global and Historical Perspectives. Routledge, 2009.

Ben-Ari, Nitsa. “Didactic and Pedagogic Tendencies in the Norms Dictating the Translation of Children’s Literature: The Case of Postwar German-Hebrew Translations.” Poetics Today, vol. 13, no. 1, 1992, pp. 221–30.

Blewett, Kelly. “An Unfortunate Lily Maid: Transgressive Reading in Anne of Green Gables.” The Lion and the Unicorn, vol. 39, no. 3, 2016, pp. 275–93.

Brontë, Emily. Jane Eyre. 1847. Penguin, 2006.

Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim’s Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come, Project Gutenberg, [1678] 2008, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/131/131-h/131-h.htm. Accessed 28 Jun. 2020.

Church, Ella Rodham, and Augusta De Bubna. “To the Fringed Gentian.” Originally published as a part of Tam: The Story of A Woman, 1884. Montgomery, The Alpine Path, pp. 10.

Clement, Lesley D. “Visual Culture, Storytelling, and Becoming Emily: An Illustrated Essay.” L.M. Montgomery and Vision Forum Collection, 2020, https://journaloflmmontgomerystudies.ca/vision-forum/becoming-emily-illustrated-essay. Accessed 28 Jun. 2020.

Coillie, Jan Van, and Walter Verschueren, editors. Children’s Literature in Translation: Challenges and Strategies. St. Jerome Publishing, 2006.

---. “Editors’ Preface.” In Coillie and Verschueren, pp. v–ix.

Desmidt, Isabelle. “A Prototypical Approach within Descriptive Translation Studies? Colliding Norms in Translated Children’s Literature.” Coillie and Verschueren, pp. 79–96.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “The Poet.” Poems, Household Edition, Project Gutenberg [1867] 2004, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12843/12843-h/12843-h.htm. Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.

Epperly, Elizabeth Rollins. The Fragrance of Sweet-Grass: L.M. Montgomery’s Heroines and the Pursuit of Romance. U of Toronto P, 1993.

Epperly, Elizabeth Rollins. Imagining Anne: The Island Scrapbooks of L.M. Montgomery. Penguin Canada, 2008.

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Frever, Trinna S. “Adaptive Interplay: L.M. Montgomery, William Shakespeare, and Virginia Woolf’s Shakespearean Sister.” Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project, 2004, http://www.canadianshakespeares.ca/multimedia/pdf/l_m_montgomery.pdf. Accessed 19 Nov. 2020.

García, Eva M. Almazán. “Dwelling in Marble Halls: A Relevance Theoretic Approach to Intertextuality in Translation.” Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses, vol. 14, 2001, pp. 7–19.

Genette, Gerárd. Palimpsets: Literature in the Second Degree. 1982. U of Nebraska P, 1997.

Gentzler, Edwin, and Maria Tymoczko. “Introduction.” Translation and Power, edited by Maria Tymoczko and Edwin Gentzler, U of Massachusetts P, 2002, pp. xi–xxviii. 

Heikkilä-Halttunen, Päivi. Kuokkavieraasta oman talon haltijaksi: Suomalaisen lasten- ja nuortenkirjallisuuden institutionalisoituminen ja kanonisoituminen 1940–1950-luvulla [From a Gatecrasher to the Owner of the House: The Institutionalization and Canonization of Finnish Children’s and Juvenile Literature in the 1940s to 1950s]. University of Tampere, Ph.D. dissertation. SKS Finnish Literature Society, 2000.

Howey, Ann F. “Reading Elaine: Marjorie Richardson’s and L.M. Montgomery’s Red-Haired Lily Maids.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, vol. 32, no. 2, 2007, pp. 86–109.

Keats, John. Endymion: A Poetic Romance. Project Gutenberg, [1818] 2008, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/24280/24280-h/24280-h.htm. Accessed 28 Jun. 2020.

Kipling, Rudyard. “The Cat That Walked by Himself.” Just So Stories, Lit2Go [1902] 2020,

https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/79/just-so-stories/1296/the-cat-that-walked-…. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020. 

Kristeva, Julia. Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. 1977. Blackwell, 1993.

Leden, Laura. “Emily Byrd Starr Conventionalized: Omissions of Nature Descriptions in the Swedish Translation of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily Trilogy.” The Looking Glass: New Perspectives on Children’s Literature, vol. 18, no. 2, 2015, http://www.the-looking-glass.net/index.php/tlg/article/view/652/583. Accessed 28 Jun. 2020.

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Libris—National Library Systems. National Library of Sweden, http://libris.kb.se. Accessed 8 Nov. 2019.

Miller, Kathleen Ann. “Haunted Heroines: The Gothic Imagination and the Female Bildungsromane of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and L.M. Montgomery.” Lion and the Unicorn, vol. 34, no. 2, 2010, pp. 125–47.

Montgomery, L.M. The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career. 1917. Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2005.

---. Emily. Translated by Stina Hergin, Gleerup, 1955.

---. Emily Climbs. 1925. Bantam, 1993.

---. Emily gör sitt val [Emily Makes Her Choice]. Translated by Margareta Eklöf. Liber, 1985.

---. Emily och hennes vänner [Emily and Her Friends]. Translated by Stina Hergin, Gleerup, 1956.

---. Emily of New Moon. 1923. Annotated Edition. Rock’s Mills P, 2017. 

---. Emily på egna vägar [Emily Follows Her Own Path]. Translated by Stina Hergin. Gleerup, 1957.

---. Emily’s Quest. 1927. Dell Laurel-Leaf, 2003.

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Ross, Catherine Sheldrick, and Åsa Warnqvist. “Reading L.M. Montgomery: What Adult Swedish and Canadian Readers Told Us.” Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies, 2020, https://journaloflmmontgomerystudies.ca/reading/rosswarnqvist. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

Rzyman, Aleksander. The Intertextuality of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld as a Major Challenge for the Translator. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017.

Rubio, Mary. Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings. Doubleday Canada, 2008.

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Schleiermacher, Friedrich. “On the Different Methods of Translating.” Translated by Susan Bernofsky. The Translation Studies Reader, second edition, edited by Lawrence Venuti, Routledge, [1813] 2007, pp. 43–63.

Seifert, Martina. “Conflicting Images: Anne of Green Gables in Germany.” Storm and Dissonance: L.M. Montgomery and Conflict, edited by Jean Mitchell, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008, pp. 228–343.

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