Welcome from Dr. Kate Scarth, Editor, and Dr. Emily Woster, Co-Editor of the Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies
Copyright: Emily Woster, 2019. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (Creative Commons BY 4.0), which allows the user to share, copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and adapt, remix, transform and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, PROVIDED the Licensor is given attribution in accordance with the terms and conditions of the CC BY 4.0.
On behalf of the L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI) at the University of Prince Edward Island, we are delighted to welcome readers to the new Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies. This online, open-access publication is dedicated to the dissemination of interdisciplinary pieces on one of Canada’s most enduring authors. The journal will publish intriguing, highly original, rigorously researched scholarship, multimedia, and creative contributions on all aspects of L.M. Montgomery’s life, works, and legacies. Montgomery left behind a vast, multi-genre collection of novels, short stories, poems, scrapbooks, photographs, journals, letters, and essays, inspiring translations, adaptations, and discussions. Given her tendency to remix and combine genres, from epistolary novels to scrapbooks, we believe Montgomery would be intrigued by the possibilities of this online platform. An online journal provides opportunities for visualizations, juxtapositions, and bricolage, transcending the capacity of print journals. We look forward to reading—and seeing and hearing!—how contributors shape this space.
Reflecting on Montgomery Studies
“My strongest feeling seems to be incredulity. I can’t believe that such a simple little tale, written in and of a simple PEI farming settlement, with a juvenile audience in view, can really have scored out in the busy world.”
—L.M. Montgomery, October 15, 1908,
The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1901–19111
Since the publication of Anne of Green Gables (1908), scholarship and commentary on Montgomery have ebbed, flowed, and evolved. Her work has been explored by literary, historical, and cultural scholars; by teachers, doctors, librarians, fans, and collectors; in journals, books, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, and fan forums. In reviewing Montgomery studies, we have noticed a common repetition of—a need even to list—the many genres of Montgomery’s and scholars’ work across time and space; there is pride in this depth and breadth. There are many informative histories of these “Montgomery Studies,” often bound up with histories of her novels’ and characters’ legacies, written in different periods and with varying scholarly and disciplinary perspectives. Each history of Montgomery studies situates the sub-field in broader literary and cultural-studies scholarship, and some histories suggest that Montgomery “Studies” are much broader and more inclusive than formal, published scholarship. What’s more, these histories—by Irene Gammel, Benjamin Lefebvre, Carole Gerson, Jane Ledwell, Jean Mitchell, Elizabeth Epperly, and others—reveal distinct currents of Montgomery scholarship. These currents include Montgomery’s appeal across space, time, and culture and her simultaneous status as a Canadian icon; the diversity of her fans, audiences, and critics; the depth and breadth of both Montgomery’s own work and of scholarship about her; the profound impact of the publication of primary material; and milestones and concepts for understanding Montgomery’s reception.
Irene Gammel’s introduction to Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables (2010) foregrounds a collection of essays reflecting on Anne’s centenary and explores Anne’s vast reach. Building on early feminist and literary emphasis in Anne scholarship (by Waterston, Epperly, Rubio, et al.), Gammel and Lefebvre’s collection both discusses and models the interdisciplinary approaches to Montgomery’s work. The following gives a flavour of the diversity in this collection: essays explore “[c]ulture, identity, agency, ethics, health, reading, branding, home, and globalization”2 through “a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives, including geography, fashion, ethics, clinical psychology, film studies, new media studies, early childhood education, and translation studies.”3 Gammel also highlights the explosion of available primary Montgomery material, particularly the material in The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, which were edited and published between 1985 and 2004 by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston4 and which create new lenses through which to read Montgomery’s darker, modernist, and adult themes.
Carole Gerson’s chapter in Anne’s World, another sort of history of Montgomery reception, “Seven Milestones: How Anne of Green Gables Became a Canadian Icon,” looks at the author’s publication and commercial success, as seen through Gerson’s incredible eye for the currents of Canadian women’s writing and publishing.5 Among the milestones Gerson names are the publication of Anne of Green Gables (1908), the production of the silent film of the same name (1919), the creation of the national park that preserves the Green Gables house (1936), the Japanese translation of the novel (1952), the debut of Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™ (1965), the premiere of Kevin Sullivan’s television miniseries and the publication of the first volume of selected journals (both 1985), and, finally, the “launch of L.M. Montgomery Studies” evidenced by the volume of articles published in Canadian Children’s Literature/Littérature Canadienne pour la jeunesse and the establishment of the L.M. Montgomery Institute in 1993. The milestones represent new ways that readers—and, later, scholars, viewers, consumers, and fans—found Montgomery, and they help mark the shifts in culture that keep Montgomery’s legacy moving forward. More specifically, Gerson argues
that when we examine a chronology of seven specific milestones involving publication, adaptation, reconstruction, commodification, and commemoration, we can see how the occurrence of these events at fairly regular intervals over the twentieth century continually renewed and expanded Montgomery’s audience, transforming Anne Shirley from a fictional character to a national icon and a cultural industry.6
Other collections foreground the way that the “cultural industry” functions as a global phenomenon: Jane Ledwell and Jean Mitchell’s introduction to Anne around the World: L.M. Montgomery and Her Classic (2013) provides a brief history of Anne and Montgomery’s global endurance—first explored in multiple issues of Canadian Children’s Literature7—and the international currents of Montgomery studies. Featuring reflections on ancient and modern “classics,” on class and colonialism, and on Anne in Iran, Uruguay, Turkey, Japan, and Sweden, Anne around the World highlights the way Montgomery’s works have moved through space and geography, not just through time.
In her preface to the 2014 edition of her germinal Fragrance of Sweet-Grass (1992), Elizabeth Epperly reflects on all of the above studies to describe how Montgomery studies itself has changed since the initial publication of Fragrance and how the studies have changed her. She outlines the “years of debates and sharings that [the first edition of] Sweet-Grass helped to foster,”8 citing many of the collections mentioned above by Ledwell and Mitchell, Gammel and Lefebvre, and others. She focuses on “a selective conceptual framing for my understanding of the growth of Montgomery studies,” including the concepts of a) personal context, b) confluence (the rise of individual scholars and studies), c) community—the LMMI, d) community—some fan or scholar bases, e) context, confluence, community—currently, and f) current and classic, the present relevance and enduring quality of Montgomery’s writing.9 Revealing both her personal connection to many of the touchstones of Montgomery studies—the founding of the L.M. Montgomery Institute, the biennial conferences it hosts, and the far-flung communities these foster—Epperly humbly, but incisively, traces the ways her own work has been influenced by and been an influence on Montgomery studies. Access to Montgomery’s journals has enabled different readings of her fiction—Epperly, for example, mentions a more recent deeper appreciation of Anne of Ingleside thanks to now knowing the contexts of Montgomery’s writing of this novel. While Fragrance may have looked different if it had been written in 2014 with the benefit of greater knowledge of Montgomery’s life, it certainly informed the scholarship that came after: “the perspectives and methodologies (Romantic, modernist, post-modernist, feminist, deconstructionist, reader response, newly reclaimed New Criticism, historical, psychological, anthropological, economic, environmental, cognitive linguistic, eco-feminist, neuroscientific, to name but a few of the strategies pursued in the eleven collections of essays since 1992).”10 Epperly’s work has made it impossible to think of Montgomery as only the author of Anne of Green Gables. Epperly encourages scholars and readers to see Montgomery as a multi-genre artist inspired by a rich visual imagination.
The many perspectives available in these histories inform the creation of this Journal. We are indebted to every archivist, scholar, collector, reviewer, writer (the list goes on . . .) who has helped shape the conversation about Montgomery or (re)discovered and shared the primary texts and materials we discuss. Given this rich past, the launch of the Journal also provides an opportunity for us to pause and reflect in order to situate this new online space. At its heart, we see two unique currents moving in Montgomery Studies and reception—one “popular” and one critical—each offering its own momentum to the Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies’s mission.
Such a Simple Little Tale
“The customary border between ‘fan’ and ‘scholar’ can be meaningless concerning study of Montgomery’s writing and life. Some begin as fans and become scholars; others are scholars and become fans. Scholars paid and unpaid work together.”
—Elizabeth Epperly, preface to the 2014 Edition of The Fragrance of Sweet-Grass11
The two currents of reception—the popular and critical—were born at the publication of Anne of Green Gables (1908) and grew throughout Montgomery’s lifetime. Though she began publishing novels at the end of the first “Golden Age” of children’s literature—consider that Anne of Green Gables was published near those other classic texts, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903), The Wind in the Willows (1908), The Secret Garden (1910), and Peter Pan (1911)—her work and her career matured just as the literary paradigm shifted towards modernism. Works by writers such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf quickly took over critical thought. William Arthur Deacon,12 a proponent of modernism in Canada and a critic involved with the Canadian Authors Association of which Montgomery was a founding and active member, said, “Canadian fiction was to go no lower” than Anne of Green Gables.13 This early critique and others like it are harsh products of the prevailing, patronizing opinions in literary criticism about writing for children and indicative of the differences between modernist sensibilities and older, sentimental ones of which Montgomery was supposedly a product. But opinions like this one also represent the split, at least at the time, between her popular and critical appeals, a diverging of two important currents. The public adored her work; the critics saw her as old-fashioned.
Benjamin Lefebvre’s L.M. Montgomery Reader series (2013–15) offers a unique overview of these currents. These three volumes highlight and republish (even resurrect) the middle-brow texts and materials considered middlebrow—newspaper articles, interviews, presentations, reviews, magazine clippings—both by and about Montgomery, along with some of the foundational scholarship about her. Lefebvre’s introduction to the first volume of his L.M. Montgomery Reader series, A Life in Print, explains that he recovers “a surprisingly vast array of additional materials that originated beyond the walls of the ivory tower and that appeared in ‘middlebrow’ venues such as trade books, newspapers, and popular magazines that valued popularity and accessibility.”14 The volume features ninety of Montgomery’s essays, letters, and interviews first published in periodicals in Canada, the US, and beyond. In this first volume and in the third, which includes 370 reviews published mostly in Montgomery’s lifetime, Lefebvre showcases the more popular current of voices from a public that devoured Montgomery’s novels. A review in Home Needlework Magazine called Anne of Green Gables
One of the most delightful books we have read in many a day, and of the most unusual sort. It finds its way straight to the heart, and one reads it with mingled smiles and tears. It is a book to own for a companion, one to be picked up and read again and again.... Old and young alone will fall beneath its charm, and it will mellow even the most cynical.15
As Epperly notes, “Like nothing else, this collection makes it perfectly clear that Montgomery was and remained a popular and respected author among the general reading public, no matter how modernist and academic critics had disparaged her works.”16 In contrast to the first volume’s emphasis on popular book reviews, Lefebvre’s second Reader volume collects a series of twenty critical essays from the past fifty or so years of Montgomery studies to highlight the major movements of the critical current. Lefebvre’s collections bring together a chorus of voices about Montgomery’s work, highlighting her popularity with the reading public, her place in Canadian print culture, and her scholarly reception.
The years just after Montgomery’s death in 1942 were perhaps the quietest in terms of both popular and critical attention. A few of her titles slipped out of print as modernist literary movements evolved into postmodernist ones. But the currents did not ebb for long. In a collection on Canadian Authors from 1951, Arthur Phelps begins the chapter on Montgomery with a list of other popular authors with works of international appeal. He says,
By the standards of discriminating literary criticism none of these writers is important. No critic would think of any one of them as having made a serious contribution to literature. Yet these writers have carried the name of Canada here and there throughout the English-speaking world, and, in some cases, through translation, much beyond the English-speaking world.17
Phelps acknowledges the appeal of these authors, and, when he finally gets to Montgomery, he repeats the familiar opinions of modern critics: “It may be that Montgomery, one of our popular so-called mediocre story tellers, should not be dismissed too casually just because she has been popular.... Of course the Montgomery popularity has been, in the main, popularity with young girls and their amiable ordinary parents. Montgomery is a category of story teller. She writes girls’ stories.”18 While Phelps obviously sees “girls’ stories” and their popularity as “mediocre,” in suggesting that they cannot be ignored, he seems to leave the door slightly open to serious critical consideration. After all, an author “should not be dismissed too casually just because she has been popular.” He is suggesting that popular literary works, especially those that have clearly “carried the name of Canada” throughout the world, demand at least some attention.
A Clear Spirit
“Her established audience—girls between ten and fourteen—continues to read and love L.M. Montgomery books. But she may also lay increasing claim to our attention as adult critics. The books have an intensity because they were written as ‘children’s books.’”
—Elizabeth Waterston, “Lucy Maud Montgomery 1874–1942,”
from The Clear Spirit, 196619
That critical attention began to be paid in the 1960s. A slim volume of Montgomery’s letters to Ephraim Weber, edited by Wilfrid Eggleston, was published in 1960.20 Later, Elizabeth Waterston wrote the first scholarly essay, “Lucy Maud Montgomery 1874–1942,” in The Clear Spirit: Twenty Canadian Women and Their Times (1966). The essay’s impact was immediate and lasting; it was republished in an issue of Canadian Children’s Literature in 1975, inspiring further discussion and reigniting critical interest in Montgomery. Waterston wrote, “we find in her life, her letters, her journals, the story of an important craftsman, a professional writer fighting to clarify and improve the conditions of an artist’s work. And in her novels we find a subtle and illuminating use of archetypal patterns, particularly of the recurring myths of girlhood.”21 Waterston’s analysis goes beyond assessing the author’s popular audience—a seeming liability for previous critics—to consider her as an artist and a creator of worlds. Waterston’s essay, read with the benefit of hindsight, is a clear bellwether of coming critical respect, presaging many of the rich conversations about Montgomery and Anne—specifically about gender, childhood, and creativity.
Later, book-length biographical studies would be published, providing new glimpses into Montgomery herself. Father Francis Bolger published The Years before Anne in 1974, noting , “This book is written as a humble tribute to the woman who receives and eminently deserves recognition as Prince Edward Island’s most famous international personage.”22 Like Waterston, Bolger shifts critical conversation beyond Montgomery’s works and the audiences that read them to focus on her life and her status as writer and icon. Mollie Gillen’s 1975 biography The Wheel of Things—relying heavily on material from Montgomery’s letters to George B. MacMillan, which Gillen later donated to Library and Archives Canada—offers another glimpse into the author’s memories and movements. And, later, in 1980, My Dear Mr. M.: Letters to G.B. MacMillan from L.M. Montgomery, edited by Father Francis Bolger and Elizabeth Epperly, would add to the small cache of primary materials available about Montgomery.
Additional recognition of both Montgomery and Canadian children’s literature as subjects of serious academic study came in 1975. John Sorfleet, Elizabeth Waterston, Glenys Stow, and Mary Henley Rubio founded Canadian Children’s Literature/Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse (CCL) at the University of Guelph (now Jeunesse: Young People’s Texts and Cultures, housed at the University of Winnipeg ) “because there was no serious scholarly journal about children's literature in Canada.”23 Once it launched, the editors dedicated the third volume of CCL to Montgomery, and between 1975 and 2005, the journal published thirty-three articles on Montgomery. Founded in this time of change, CCL disseminated Montgomery scholarship, built a community of scholars, and celebrated Montgomery’s place in Canadian literature as a whole. Our journal is indebted to CCL for paving the way for Montgomery scholarship as a serious, sustained endeavor. We are also indebted to Montgomery-focused newsletters like The Shining Scroll and the rich research of its contributors, and we hope to carry the torch of these foundational works by publishing a journal focused on Montgomery.
Popular consideration of Montgomery was also revived in these decades when, in 1965, Anne of Green Gables—The Musical debuted at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Now the longest running musical in Canada, the show brought new audiences to Montgomery and to Prince Edward Island, inspiring conversations and histories of its own—for example, in December 2013, “Anne of Green Gables—The Musical Turns Fifty” in The Shining Scroll, or, in 2009, Don Harron’s Anne of Green Gables: The Musical, 101 Things You Didn’t Know and the Confederation Centre’s own exhibit on the musical’s legacy. At least in retrospect, the slow build of potential energy within the popular and scholarly currents of mid-century Montgomery studies suggest there were important developments to come.
Selections and Adaptations, 1985 and Beyond
“For decades it has been possible to dismiss a work like Anne of Green Gables simply because its readership has been to a large extent female or because its content has been labeled as sub-literary. This is no longer acceptable.”
—Gabriella Åhmansson, A Life and Its Mirrors24
The two conversations—popular and scholarly—running quietly along with bits of cross-current, renewed in 1985 with the introduction of two important new works. In that year, Kevin Sullivan aired his beloved miniseries adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, and Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston published the first volume of Montgomery’s Selected Journals.25 These two releases forever changed the way audiences understand Montgomery and her characters. Sullivan’s miniseries, and its incredible popularity, introduce scores of new viewer-readers to Montgomery’s Anne. Rubio and Waterston’s selected journals revealed the sheer volume of Montgomery’s writings and the woman behind Anne.26
Just before the publication of the Selected Journals, Epperly reflected on whether and how to publish and legitimize scholarship on Montgomery:
That the Kevin Sullivan Montgomery serials had appeared on television and that Anne of Green Gables—The Musical had been running for twenty-four years at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown and had toured internationally added to the perception that Montgomery belonged to popular audiences but not to academic ones. There it was: a perceived split between the academic and the popular that was very soon to re-form into a new relationship.27
And it was the Journals that inspired this “new relationship.” Over the next twenty years, the five volumes of the selected journals continued to increase interest in Montgomery’s work, pave the way for other critical discussions, and allow for the publication of other Montgomery primary material. The journals sold well with scholars and Montgomery fans, both eager to read more from the author. Renewed interest in Montgomery texts, along with the success of the Sullivan miniseries, may have also inspired the ambitious work of Rea Wilmshurst who, after seeing clippings of and references to short stories in Montgomery’s scrapbooks, spent much of the 1980s finding, transcribing, and republishing those short stories in collected volumes of affordable paperbacks.28 These collections rejuvenated, yet again, the popular and scholarly currents of Montgomery studies.
In the scholarly flow, a few particular scholars emerged. Gabriella Åhmansson’s 1989–1990 dissertation was the first lengthy feminist study of Montgomery. Åhmansson noted that, in essence, Montgomery had “been treated mainly as a tourist attraction,” and that her dissertation would dismantle “the preconceived notion that a text which can be enjoyed also by the young should be unsophisticated and now worthy of proper scholarly attention.”29 Åhmansson’s study sees the midcentury critics as looking at L.M. Montgomery as a “woman writer,” not as a novelist, and she calls for a new paradigm: “For decades it has been possible to dismiss a work like Anne of Green Gables simply because its readership has been to a large extent female or because its content has been labeled as sub-literary. This is no longer acceptable.”30
The scholarly world was clearly in need of and ready for sustained consideration of Montgomery and her legacies. Thus, Epperly founded the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) in 1993: “The LMMI promotes research into, and informed celebration of, the life, works, culture, and influence of the Prince Edward Island-born, acclaimed Canadian writer, L.M. Montgomery.” The Institute and the UPEI library now house a remarkable collection of Montgomery books, serve as a research centre and scholarly resource, and often act as the hub of the universe for all things Montgomery. The Institute represents some of the best partnerships that have come out of Montgomery’s legacy, including our new Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies. Through its almost twenty-six year history, the Institute has accomplished much: hosted its biennial conferences, which welcome academics and independent scholars, readers and fans, international participants and local community members; supported the publication of seven post-conference essay collections; sustained a vibrant visiting scholar program; published an interactive, award-winning CD-ROM, The Bend in the Road: An Invitation to the World and Work of L.M. Montgomery in 2000; partnered with the Confederation Centre of the Arts on numerous occasions for exhibits and programs such as 2008’s Picturing a Canadian Life: L.M. Montgomery’s Personal Scrapbooks and Book Covers; consulted on local heritage and tourism initiatives such as Parks Canada’s new interpretive centre at Green Gables Heritage Place; and partnered with both the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery and the University of Guelph Archival and Special Collections on projects large and small. And the LMMI continues to build on and develop new public-engagement initiatives, including future online courses and shared exhibits.
Across Canada, Montgomery studies continued to thrive at the turn of the century. By 2004, Canadian Children’s Literature published its seventh special issue on Montgomery titled “Assessments and Reassessments,” and in 2007 Rubio and Waterson edited the Norton Critical Edition of Anne of Green Gables. In one of two Montgomery entries in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, this one in a collection on “Canadian Literary Humorists,” André Narbonne argues,
Montgomery’s influence on Canadian writers such as Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Jane Urquhart, Carol Shields, and Jean Little is considerable. Montgomery showed later generations of Canadian writers, particularly women, that the small town could be fictionalized and used as literary material and that gentle literary humor could be a tool of both realism and social criticism.31
Narbonne highlights that Montgomery’s literary ancestors are themselves buoyed by popular and critical currents, and we are proud to honour this genealogy by having internationally acclaimed author Jane Urquhart serve as the journal’s honorary patron.
Meanwhile, the proliferation of Montgomery material and adaptations of the 1990s and early 2000s contributed to the popular and critical currents of Montgomery studies. It will certainly influence the creation and the content of the Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies.
The Year of Anne
In 2008, dubbed “The Year of Anne” to celebrate the novel’s centenary, the two currents—popular and scholarly—rushed together, adding momentum to Montgomery’s legacy and challenging many of the distinctions that previously separated them. Within a year of the centenary of Anne of Green Gables, a host of new publications emerged. The novel itself was reissued; Budge Wilson was commissioned to create a prequel, Before Green Gables; Epperly selected and annotated a selection of Montgomery’s scrapbooks entitled Imagining Anne: The Island Scrapbooks of L.M. Montgomery; Lefebvre edited and published Montgomery’s final work of fiction, The Blythes Are Quoted; and critical collections were conceived or released, including the aforementioned Anne’s World (Gammel and Lefebvre) and Anne around the World (Ledwell and Mitchell), and Anne with an “e”: The Centennial Study of Anne of Green Gables edited by Holly Blackford. The LMMI hosted its biennial conference on the theme “L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables and the Idea of ‘Classic,’” in June 2008, and the University of Guelph hosted its own Montgomery conference, “From Canada to the World: The Cultural Influence of Lucy Maud Montgomery,” in October 2008. Finally, Mary Rubio published her extensive, foundational biography Lucy Maud Montgomery: A Gift of Wings after decades of research and work on the author. This confluence of texts suggests, we think, that popular and critical distinctions have become heavily blurred. Suddenly, the conversation about Montgomery is about legacy, ongoing appeal, and the merging of the popular and scholarly. For, after all, who was purchasing all this new material? Both fans and scholars intent on enriching and expanding Montgomery’s legacy.
Since that centennial year, nearly twenty collections, remixes, anthologies, and texts have been released: complete journal volumes from Oxford University Press (The PEI Years, volumes I and II, published in 2012 and 2013) and Rocks Mills Press (The Ontario Years, volumes 1 to 4, published from 2016 to 2018); edited collections including Rita Bode and Lesley Clement’s L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years 1911–42 in 2015, Andrea McKenzie and Jane Ledwell’s L.M. Montgomery and War in 2017, and Rita Bode and Jean Mitchell’s L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) in 2018; Benjamin Lefebvre’s “Montgomery Library,” including A Name for Herself: Selected Writings 1891–1917 in 2018 and A World of Songs: Selected Poems 1894–1921 in 2019; and novels, notably Melanie Fishbane’s Maud, in 2017, and Sarah McCoy’s Marilla of Green Gables in 2018. Numerous other works, scholarly and creative, are in the pipeline. There are new media series inspired by Montgomery and her heroines including “Green Gables Fables” and “Project Green Gables”; new television and movie adaptations such as CBC/Netflix’s Anne with an E and the Breakthrough Entertainment’s Anne of Green Gables trilogy; and even references on other popular shows, such as Stranger Things, GLOW, and Russian Doll. In the last year or two, there has been an upsurge in versions of Anne aimed at very young children with picture books featuring the red-haired heroine teaching lessons about places, the alphabet, numbers, colours, and friendship.
Meanwhile, the L.M. Montgomery Institute continues to flourish. In 2016, the LMMI launched KindredSpaces: “Made possible through the generosity and vision of LM Montgomery Institute Research Associate and benefactor Dr. Donna Jane Campbell, KindredSpaces is an online discovery tool for the LMMI Research Collections housed at the Robertson Library, UPEI.” In 2019, LMMI management committee members are consulting and advising on Parks Canada’s development of the new Green Gables Heritage Place interpretive centre. The LMMI also currently has representatives on the Anne/Montgomery Roundtable for Montgomery stakeholders on PEI (including colleagues working in tourism, arts and culture, heritage, and hospitality) and on the long-standing Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority, Inc., jointly owned by the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery and the province of Prince Edward Island. Three scholars from our editorial board, including two LMMI management committee members, were consultants for Historica Canada’s very well received Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Minute. An open-access, online Montgomery course is in development; a L.M. Montgomery Institute research and public engagement hub is being proposed; and digital initiatives to map and build the global Montgomery community are underway.
The new corpus of Montgomery studies material and new outreach initiatives show us how multi-faceted Montgomery really is and how the threads of conversation about her over the last century or so have moved and changed. She is now seen as an important author of fiction and non-fiction; her legacy is literary and historical. In the last few decades, important work has been done at historical sites and museums that, like expanded scholarly discussions, create lasting connections with new readers and Montgomery fans across Canada. This work also preserves Montgomery’s material heritage and literary legacies. The L.M. Montgomery Society of Ontario (LMMSO) has worked tirelessly for two decades to purchase, and now restore, St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church and the Leaskdale Manse, where Montgomery lived for fifteen years following her marriage to Ewan Macdonald. The LMMSO hosts events, plays, performances, conferences, and tours that benefit their community and honour Montgomery’s international appeal. More recently, the Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Society is working towards the development of the Lucy Maud Montgomery Museum and Literary Arts Centre in Norval, Ontario, where Montgomery lived and wrote from 1926 to 1935. The Bideford Parsonage Museum works both to preserve local history in western Prince Edward Island and to tell a bit of Montgomery’s story since she boarded there as a schoolteacher. The Anne of Green Gables Museum in Park Corner, PEI, is run by relatives of Montgomery’s Campbell cousins and preserves important artifacts and landmarks connected to Montgomery and her extended family. This Museum, at a site that is a possible inspiration for Silver Bush, is right across the road from the Montgomery Inn at Ingleside, the house once owned by Montgomery’s paternal grandfather and a model for one of Anne’s homes as a grown-up. The Site of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Cavendish Home—also known as the Macneill homestead—was lovingly restored by John and Jennie Macneill and is a favourite pilgrimage of Montgomery readers alongside Green Gables Heritage Place. These physical spaces, open to the public and accessible to visitors who are also readers, enrich our studies and make plain the incredible mark Montgomery has left on Canadian culture. We can also look to online repositories, such as KindredSpaces at the LMMI or the University of Guelph, for similar inspiration. Benjamin Lefebvre and the L.M. Montgomery Research Group’s expansive LMMOnline.org catalogues scholarship and highlights new works in Montgomery studies. The sites listed here, both physical and virtual, sustain and energize Montgomery’s histories and legacies.
We, current and future members of the ever-growing Montgomery studies community, are now afforded the opportunity to reflect on all of the above and invite readers of this journal to do the same by contributing blog entries, short reflections, visual galleries, and other scholarship that might help shape future currents of Montgomery studies.
The Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies
In the preface to the 2014 edition of The Fragrance of Sweet Grass (1992), Epperly argues that concepts of “context, confluence, community, and creativity” and, perhaps in the future, “classic,” explain the continued scholarly and popular fascination with Montgomery.32 She also contends that the many “tensions” in Montgomery’s work, such as the narrative tension of her stories, and how they defy genre, hold readers of all kinds in rapt attention.33 “Tensions and contrasts in general characterize the scholarship, however divergent may be the perspectives and methodologies ... because tensions underlie Montgomery’s preferred narrative and descriptive patterns.”34 Perhaps now the fascinating tension(s) between and among readers and scholars, critics and collectors can be featured and highlighted in one place. These tensions build up the potential energy of Montgomery studies, launching them into their second century, and, through linking and cross-pollinating, we, all of us, can bring these different approaches of methodology and discipline in conversation with one another. The Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies welcomes interdisciplinary and international authors and readers, including Montgomery scholars and the broad community of Montgomery enthusiasts.
The richness of the Montgomery scholarly community, and its reach into so many other fields—academic ones such as history, anthropology, library sciences, and popular ones, such as TV, film, and new media—suggest that the Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies is well-timed. We see the journal—born from Montgomery studies traditions, the lively conversations at the Institute’s biennial conferences, the explosion of Anne adaptations, and the continued international interest in Montgomery—as an opportunity to centralize and preserve the exciting conversations on, of, and around Montgomery and her legacies.
While we will be encouraging traditional peer-reviewed article submissions with critical, comparative, biographical, and archival approaches, we will also be accepting peer-reviewed audio and visual art, video, and creative writing, as well as non-peer-reviewed scholarship including interviews, presentations, notes, and notices. The journal will also publish Montgomery news, short commentary on new archival discoveries or Montgomery ephemera, providing many ways for readers and contributors to interact with the journal. Never before has a Montgomery publication been able to feature the kinds of multi-genre works that Montgomery herself created—here in our online, multimedia space, the textual and visual pastiche and the remix can exist alongside or within the critical essay. The larger push in the digital humanities also inspires the journal: for example, our contributors can take advantage of the material available in the LMMI’s KindredSpaces.ca archive.
In particular, we are excited about developments in online publishing and are proud that the journal will be open access (OA) and will bear a Creative Commons license (specifically a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License, or, for short, “CC-BY-4.0”). With a CC license, authors and other contributors keep copyright of their work, and they, and others, can immediately share work after publication—no firewalls or embargo periods here! One of the primary benefits of open access is that content is available and discoverable online immediately. This benefits authors—citations for open-access articles are usually higher than non-OA publications—and is positive for the global Montgomery community who can immediately read, react, and engage with new publications. With Creative Commons licenses, authors allow their work to be built upon, remixed, or reinterpreted by others as long as the person doing so provides attribution to the author or creator’s work. This flexibility helps foster a community of shared culture and scholarly research. There are tremendous teaching and learning possibilities here: teachers at all levels—from primary school to graduate seminars—can comfortably use the journal’s materials in ways that best suit their pedagogical goals. We anticipate not-yet-imagined public-engagement possibilities too, whereby we can all draw in ever-new audiences to the world of Montgomery. We invite you—our readers and our potential authors and contributors—to creatively imagine and play with open access and Creative Commons possibilities and invite others to do so as well.
Our editorial board includes members from across the globe who approach Montgomery from a range of methodologies and fields. The LMMI is particularly pleased to announce the journal’s honorary patron, Jane Urquhart, whom we celebrate for her championing of Montgomery on national and international stages. For their pioneering work on Montgomery’s life and works, we honour Elizabeth Waterston, Mary Rubio, and Elizabeth Epperly as honorary editors. We also work with a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary, international team of editors with Laura Robinson and Jean Mitchell at the forefront as consulting editors. The full editorial board is as follows: Yoshiko Akamatsu, Balaka Basu, Poushali Bhadury, Holly Blackford, Rita Bode, Mary Beth Cavert, Lesley Clement, Carolyn Collins, Melanie Fishbane, Trinna S. Frever, Sarah Galletly, Irene Gammel, Carole Gerson, Marah Gubar, Caroline Jones, Yuka Kajihara-Nolan, Deirdre Kessler, Jane Ledwell, Jenny Litster, Simon Lloyd, Alexander MacLeod, Andrea McKenzie, Idette Noome, Tara Parmiter, Holly Pike, Mary McDonald-Rissanen, Joe Sutliff Sanders, Margaret Steffler, Åsa Warnqvist, and Lorraine York. There are so many people to thank who made this Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies possible.
We see the journal as a vibrant, online meeting place for discussions of Montgomery and as a resource for readers, scholars, teachers, and fans. We also see this journal as a place where the currents of Montgomery studies will meet, and where all readers of Montgomery can learn and share. We are excited to read your contributions to the Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies, the first journal dedicated to the life, work, and legacies of L.M. Montgomery.
Dr. Kate Scarth, Editor
Dr. Emily Woster, Co-Editor
Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies
This piece, with its popular and scholarly LMM currents, ebbs, and flows, is Emily’s brainchild with lots of editing and revising shared between the two editors, who have found their groove together, having been officially co-editing the journal since September 2017.
Acknowledgement: Banner image of PEI lighthouse. Anne Victoria Photography, 2018.
- 1 Montgomery, Complete Journals, 1900–1911 198–199.
- 2 Gammel, "Introduction” 5.
- 3 Gammel, "Introduction" 10.
- 4 Montgomery, Selected Journals .
- 5 Gerson has published extensively on publishing and print culture in Canada, including (but not limited to) a book-length study, Canadian Women in Print 1750–1918 (2010); book chapters, “Imprint and the Nation: The History of English-Canadian Publishing through the Lens of L.M. Montgomery,” in Canada: Images of a Post-National Society, edited by Gunilla Florby, Mark Shackleton, and Katri Suhonen (2009), and “Canadian Women Writers and American Markets, 1880–1940,” in Context North America: Canadian/U.S. Literary Relations, edited by Camille R. La Bossière (1994); and journal articles, “Writers without Borders: The Global Framework of Canada’s Early Literary History” in Canadian Literature 201 (Summer 2009) and “‘Dragged at Anne’s Chariot Wheels’: L.M. Montgomery and the Sequels to Anne of Green Gables” in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada/Cahiers de la Société bibliographique du Canada 35, no. 2, fall 1997.
- 6 Gerson, Seven Milestones 19.
- 7 See explorations of Anne and Montgomery around the world in Canadian Children’s Literature/Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse volumes 34, 46, 65, 91, and 92.
- 8 Epperly, Preface xiii.
- 9 Epperly, Fragrance xiv.
- 10 Epperly, Fragrance xxviii.
- 11 Epperly, Fragrance xxi.
- 12 Mary Rubio, in Lucy Maud Montgomery: A Gift of Wings (2008), discusses Deacon’s thinking and his work at the CAA at length (460–466). She notes that Deacon, despite attempts at literary fame, has faded from memory, while Montgomery lives on.
- 13 Deacon, Poteen 169.
- 14 Lefebvre, “Introduction” 4.
- 15 Lefebvre, “Straight” 66–67.
- 16 Epperly, Fragrance xvii.
- 17 Phelps, Canadian Writers 85.
- 18 Phelps, Canadian Writers 89.
- 19 Waterston, “Lucy Maud” 219.
- 20 Montgomery, Green Gables Letters .
- 21 Waterston, Kindling Spirit 199.
- 22 Bolger, Years iii.
- 23 See Jeunnesse: Young People's Texts and Cultures
- 24 Åhmansson, A Life 55.
- 25 Rubio, “‘A Dusting Off.’”
- 26 The Selected Journals are the result of hundreds of hours of work by the editors, Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston, and their research assistants. Their work and the generosity of the Macdonald family made this groundbreaking work possible. Between 1981 and 2009 the Macdonald family donated, sold, or bequeathed what is now an “essential national repository” of Montgomery material including her manuscript journals, her scrapbooks, her correspondence, thousands of photos and negatives, her library, examples of her needlework, and other ephemera to the University of Guelph Archival and Special Collections.
- 27 Epperly, Fragrance xv.
- 28 Wilmshurst’s search—imagine sourcing the original magazines in which Montgomery published without the help of online databases—resulted in the publication of six volumes, Akin to Anne: Tales of Other Orphans (1988), Along the Shore: Tales by the Sea (1989), Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side (1990), After Many Days: Tales of Time Passed (1991), Against the Odds: Tales of Achievement (1993), and At the Altar: Matrimonial Tales (1994). Her work inspired other scholars such as Carolyn Strom Collins and Christy Woster to continue the search, and their work resulted in the publication of After Many Years: Twenty-One “Long-Lost” Stories (2017).
- 29 Åhmansson, A life 14.
- 30 Åhmansson 55. For further examples of readings like Åhmansson’s see also Elizabeth Waterston Kindling Spirit and her work with Carrie MacMillan and Lorraine McMullen in Silenced Sextet: Six Ninteenth-Century Canadian Women Novelists.
- 31 Narbonne, Lucy Maud 18. See also Rubio, “Montgomery.”
- 32 Epperly, Fragrance ix.
- 33 Epperly, Fragrance x.
- 34 Epperly, Fragrance xxvii.
Åhmansson, Gabriella. A Life and Its Mirrors: A Feminist Reading of L.M. Montgomery’s Fiction, Volume 1: An Introduction to Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne Shirley. U of Uppsala, 1991.
Blackford, Holly, editor. 100 Years of Anne with an “e”: The Centennial Study of Anne of Green Gables. U of Calgary P, 2009.
Bode, Rita, and Lesley D. Clement, editors. L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911–1942. McGill-Queen’s UP, 2015.
Bolger, Francis W.P. The Years Before Anne: The Early Career of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Author of Anne of Green Gables. Prince Edward Island Heritage Foundation, 1974.
Deacon, William Arthur. Poteen: A Pot-Pourri of Canadian Essays. The Graphic Publishers, 1926.
Epperly, Elizabeth Rollins. The Fragrance of Sweet-Grass: L.M. Montgomery’s Heroines and the Pursuit of Romance. 1992. Updated ed., with a new preface, U of Toronto P, 2014.
---. Imagining Anne: The Island Scrapbooks of L.M. Montgomery. Penguin Canada, 2008. 100 Years of Anne.
---. Preface to The Fragrance of Sweet-Grass, pp. ix-xlii.
Gammel, Irene, and Benjamin Lefebvre, editors. Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables. U of Toronto P, 2010.
Gammel, Irene. “Introduction: Reconsidering Anne’s World.” Gammel and Lefebvre, pp. 3–16.
Gerson, Carole. “Seven Milestones: How Anne of Green Gables Became a Canadian Icon.” Gammel and Lefebvre, pp. 17–34.
Harron, Don. Anne of Green Gables: The Musical, 101 Things You Didn’t Know. White Knight Books, 2008.
Ledwell, Jane, and Jean Mitchell, editors. Anne around the World: L.M. Montgomery and Her Classic. McGill-Queen’s UP, 2013.
Lefebvre, Benjamin. “Introduction: A Life in Print.” L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1, pp. 3–28.
---, editor. The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print. U of Toronto P, 2013.
---, editor. The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 2: A Critical Heritage. U of Toronto P, 2014.
---, editor. The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 3: A Legacy in Review. U of Toronto P, 2015.
MacMillan, Carrie, Lorraine McMullen, and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston. Silenced Sextet: Six Nineteenth-Century Canadian Women Novelists. McGill-Queen’s UP, 1993.
Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables. 1908. Edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston, Norton Critical Edition, W.W. Norton, 2007.
---. The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1889–1900. Edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, Oxford UP, 2012.
---. The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1900–1911. Edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, Oxford UP, 2013.
---. The Green Gables Letters: From L.M. Montgomery to Ephraim Weber, 1905–1909. Edited by Wilfrid Eggleston, Ryerson, 1960.
---. My Dear Mr. M.: Letters to G.B. MacMillan from L.M. Montgomery. Edited by Francis W.P. Bolger and Elizabeth R. Epperly. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1980.
---. The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery. Edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston, Oxford UP, 1985–2004. 5 vols.
Narbonne, Andre. “Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874–1942).” Dictionary of Literary Biography: Twentieth-Century Canadian Literary Humorists. Dictionary of Literary Biography Series, vol. 362, edited by Paul Matthew St. Pierre, Gale, 2011, pp. 172–86.
Phelps, Arthur. Canadian Writers. McClelland and Stewart, 1951.
Rubio, Mary Henley. “‘A Dusting Off’: An Anecdotal Account of Editing the L.M. Montgomery Journals.” Working in Women’s Archives: Researching Women’s Private Literature and Archival Documents, edited by Helen M. Buss and Marlene Kadar, Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2001, pp. 51–78. Life Writing.
---. Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings. Doubleday Canada, 2008.
---.“Montgomery, Lucy Maud (Macdonald).” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 17, U of Toronto/U Laval, 2018, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/montgomery_lucy_maud_17E.html. Accessed 9 May 2019.
“Straight to the Heart.” Lefebvre, The L.M. Montgomery Reader Volume 3, pp. 66–67.
Waterston, Elizabeth Hillman. Kindling Spirit: L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. ECW Press, 1993. Canadian Fiction Studies 19.
---. “Lucy Maud Montgomery 1874–1942.” The Clear Spirit: Twenty Canadian Women and Their Times, edited by Mary Quayle Innis, U of Toronto P, 1966, pp. 198–220.
Woster, Christy. “Anne of Green Gables—The Musical Turns 50.” The Shining Scroll, 2013, pp. 23–26.