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This Is September

Lo! a ripe sheaf of many golden days
Gleaned by the year in autumn’s harvest ways,
     With here and there, blood-tinted as an ember,
Some crimson poppy of a late delight
Atoning in its splendour for the flight
     Of summer blooms and joys –
                    This is September.

L.M. Montgomery’s poem “September,” included in The Watchman and Other Poems (1916)
Cover of the original edition of ANNE OF THE ISLAND by L.M. Montgomery

“Harvest is ended and summer is gone,” Anne Shirley declares at the start of Anne of the Island (1915) – a statement that, as Rea Wilmshurst notes in her 1989 article “L.M. Montgomery’s Use of Quotations and Allusions in the ‘Anne’ Books,” is in fact a misquotation of Jeremiah 8:20 (“The harvest is past, the summer is ended”). For me as an academic, September also means the start of a new school year after a summer busy with research and writing projects – which this year included steady work on the next four volumes in The L.M. Montgomery Library. It doesn’t always make sense to work on four books at once, but in this case I became like the little boy in Anne of the Island (and originally in one of Montgomery’s “Around the Table” columns) who went to see a biograph: “I have to look for what’s coming next before I know what went last.”

This year, September also coincided with the next phase in my latest overhaul of this website. After I published my three-volume critical anthology, The L.M. Montgomery Reader, I added the items included in those volumes – including hundreds of reviews of Montgomery’s books appearing in periodicals from eight countries – to the bibliography of sources. Until recently, the vast majority of the items in that bibliography were listed multiple times: by author, by type (journal article and review, for instance), and again by periodical title. As I started adding to that bibliography items appearing in A Name for Herself and A World of Songs, I soon saw that this duplication was going to be unmanageable, given that some of these items (like Montgomery’s tract “What to Teach Your Son,” originally from her 1901 sketch “Half an Hour with Canadian Mothers“) were reprinted dozens of times.

In order to make this website more manageable, I decided to eliminate individual pages for periodicals except for those in which Montgomery published her hundreds of short stories, poems, and miscellaneous pieces between 1890 and 1942. As more and more newspapers have been digitized and made text searchable, I’ve noticed some of these items being reprinted again and again, sometimes anonymously. Her 1898 poem “Irrevocable,” for instance, appeared in The Congregationalist, a Boston periodical, before being reprinted in several newspapers between 1899 and 1901, including once, without Montgomery’s signature and under the title “Beyond Recall,” in the Brown County World of Hiawatha, Kansas. I haven’t yet found any more publications of that poem in the few years after that, but another burst of citations of this poem as “Beyond Recall” starts in 1905, usually unsigned, and sometimes attributed to Ewing Herbert, who owned the Brown County World. I’ve decided to list all these newspaper reprints but not create pages for each periodical given that Montgomery in all likelihood had no knowledge of how widely her work was recirculating, and given that more and more newspapers are being digitized all the time, there will always be more instances of reprinting to discover.

I’ve also created a page for the alternate signatures Montgomery used, particularly early in her career, including “Maud Cavendish,” “Joyce Cavendish,” “Cynthia,” and “J.C. Neville” – a form of authorship that I talk about in my afterword to A Name for Herself.

September is meaningful for another reason, too: the critically acclaimed television series Anne with an “E” is returning on CBC starting on Sunday night for a third season of ten episodes (it will appear on Netflix around the world, except Canada, on 3 January 2020). As I wrote in a blog post last year, the titles of all first-season episodes are quotations from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, whereas the titles of all second-season episodes are quotations from George Eliot’s Middlemarch. Brontë and Eliot were prominent models of nineteenth-century women’s authorship for Montgomery, so it was fitting that the episode titles for the first two seasons referred to their work. For the third season, the episode titles that I’ve seen so far all allude to another prominent book by a British woman – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which I find quite intriguing. And based on what I’ve read about the storylines for this season, I do look forward to seeing what lies ahead for Anne, her friends, and the community of Avonlea in this most recent incarnation of Montgomery’s story.

Two Anne Premieres Tonight

Although many Canadian viewers were disappointed to learn that the second season of Anne with an “E” would drop on Netflix months before it would air in Canada, tonight that wait is over, since the first episode of the second season, “Youth Is the Season of Hope,” airs tonight on the CBC, with the remaining nine episodes airing throughout the fall on Sunday nights. As I mentioned in a blog post last year, adaptations of Montgomery’s books have been a Sunday-night tradition for the CBC, since it was on Sunday evenings that the CBC aired the first halves of Sullivan Entertainment’s Anne of Green Gables (1985) and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1987) as well as nearly the entire run of the episodic series Road to Avonlea (1990–1996) and Emily of New Moon (1998–1999, 2002–2003).

By coincidence, the third Anne movie from Breakthrough Entertainment, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire and Dew, which aired on YTV on 1 July 2017 and which was released on DVD just this week, has its U.S. premiere on PBS this evening. So it looks as though both American and Canadian viewers finally get the chance to see a much-anticipated follow-up production that their neighbours across the border have already been talking about!

Brontë, Eliot, Montgomery, and Anne with an “E”

A Name for Herself: Selected Writings 1891–1917 (temporary cover)Yesterday, I took a hard copy of the proofs of my afterword to A Name for Herself: Selected Writings, 1891–1917 with me when I went to get an oil change, because when a deadline looms, every spare minute counts. Because the goal of the volumes in The L.M. Montgomery Library is not simply to reprint Montgomery’s work but also to provide some original content that’ll place that work within its historical and literary contexts, the afterword of this first volume discusses Montgomery’s career and her choice of an androgynous signature (“L.M. Montgomery”) in the context of British women writers who preceded her, especially Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot. There are numerous parallels between these three authors, particularly between Montgomery and Brontë, to the point that Carole Gerson, in her contribution to Storm and Dissonance: L.M. Montgomery and Conflict (2006), declares that “at one level, Montgomery is always rewriting Jane Eyre.” I’m going a bit further with this, speculating that Montgomery may have named her two major book protagonists Anne and Emily after two of the Brontë sisters but refrained from naming a third one Charlotte in order to make the point of connection less definite. (Not to mention that Charlotte Brontë’s second novel is entitled Shirley.)

Although I was somewhat distracted from my proofreading by the soccer game between Brazil and Belgium, I reached the endnote in which I mentioned another point of connection between Montgomery and Brontë – the fact that the titles of all seven episodes of the first season of the CBC/Netflix series Anne with an “E” are quotations from Jane Eyre: “Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny,” “I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me,” “But What Is So Headstrong as Youth?,” “An Inward Treasure Born,” “Tightly Knotted to a Similar String,” “Remorse Is the Poison of Life,” and “Wherever You Are Is My Home.”

Then I remembered that the second season of Anne with an “E” was released that day on Netflix everywhere in the world (except Canada, meaning that I’ll have to wait until late September, when it starts airing on the CBC, to watch it), so I posted on Facebook a request from my non-Canadian friends with access to Netflix to share the episode titles from the second season, to see if they, too, were quotations from Jane Eyre.

A friend who’s on holiday outside Canada posted the list shortly thereafter:

S2E10: The Growing Good of the World
S2E09: What We Have Been Makes Us What We Are
S2E08: Struggling against the Perception of Facts
S2E07: Memory Has as Many Moods as the Temper
S2E06: I Protest against Any Absolute Conclusion
S2E05: The Determining Acts of Her Life
S2E04: The Painful Eagerness of Unfed Hope
S2E03: The True Seeing Is Within
S2E02: Signs Are Small Measurable Things, but Interpretations Are Illimitable
S2E01: Youth Is the Season of Hope

They sound familiar, right? But they’re not from Jane Eyre. They’re from Middlemarch. By George Eliot.

Looks like I’m going to need another endnote. And maybe I should make the time to read Middlemarch before the new season of Anne with an “E” starts on the CBC.

Anne with an E: Season 2 Trailer

CBC and Netflix released today nearly identical trailers for the second season of Anne with an “E” (now apparently called Anne with an “E” on CBC as well). Differences between them? Besides the background music, the release date: in a reverse of the first season, which aired weekly on the CBC in March and April 2017 before being released the rest of the world on Netflix that May (it then appeared on Netflix in Canada this past January), the second season of ten episodes will appear on Netflix on July 6 but won’t be available in Canada until the CBC begins airing them starting on September 23.

I’m so looking forward to the new season!

L.M. Montgomery Heritage Minute Released Today

Also releasing today is a Heritage Minute video devoted to L.M. Montgomery, created by Historica Canada. The script features words straight out Montgomery’s journals and provides a moving and accurate portrait of the author, who struggled with depression as she sought to live out her literary ambitions. Renowned Montgomery scholars Elizabeth R. Epperly, Laura M. Robinson, and Mary Henley Rubio acted as consultants on the project. For more details, see today’s CBC News story.

Canadian Screen Awards Nominations for Anne Series and Fire & Dew Movie

The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced today the nominees for the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards. The CBC television series Anne with an “E” (which airs everywhere else in the world as Anne with an “E”) leads with thirteen nominations, and L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew, the last of three Anne movies from Breakthrough Entertainment, is up for four awards.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Nominations for Anne/Anne with an “E”

Best Dramatic Series

Best Costume Design: Anne Dixon (“Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny”)

Best Direction, Drama Series: Helen Shaver (“I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me”)

Best Direction, Drama Series: Niki Caro (“Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny”)

Best Original Music, Fiction: Amin Bhatia and Ari Posner (“Remorse Is the Poison of Life”)

Best Picture Editing, Drama: David Coulson (“Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny”)

Best Production Design or Art Direction, Fiction: Jean-François Campeau, Friday Myers and Andrew Berry (“I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me”)

Best Writing, Drama Series: Moira Walley-Beckett (“I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me”)

Best Achievement in Casting: Stephanie Gorin

Best Supporting Actor, Drama: R.H. Thomson

Best Lead Actress, Drama Series: Amybeth McNulty

Best Supporting Actress, Drama: Geraldine James

Best Guest Performance, Drama Series: Deborah Grover (“Remorse Is the Poison of Life”)

Nominations for L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew

Best Children’s or Youth Fiction Program or Series

Best Direction, Children’s or Youth: John Kent Harrison

Best Writing, Children’s or Youth: Susan Coyne

Best Performance, Children’s or Youth: Ella Ballentine

Anne Vs. Anne with an “E”

When news broke earlier this month that the CBC television series Anne with an “E” (broadcast everywhere else in the world on Netflix as Anne with an “E”) had been renewed for a second season of ten episodes, to be broadcast in 2018, it reminded me that I was still curious about possible differences between the two versions. Like many fellow viewers, I had been mystified by the last-minute title change for Netflix, not to mention unimpressed with the obvious doctoring of a promotional image of lead performer Amybeth McNulty. Would they simply change the title, or would they even go so far as to replace the Tragically Hip theme song with something more universally recognizable (in other words, less Canadian)? After all, when Road to Avonlea was broadcast twenty-five years ago, it aired in slightly different form (mainly in terms of additional scenes) on the Disney Channel as Avonlea.

Given that the CBC’s Anne version is the only one I’ve seen on entertainment platforms in Canada, there seemed to be no way to satisfy my curiosity. Recently, however, someone posted to YouTube the opening credits for the Netflix version of the series, which reveals some slight differences between the two versions.

In each version, the initial title card follows current practice, which is to begin an episode with an explicit statement about the network on which it airs. Note that “A CBC Original” and “A Netflix Original Series” aren’t parallel to each other, but each phrase mirrors similar statements made on other CBC or Netflix shows.

The second title card claims ownership of the series in terms of the production company. And yet, while on the Netflix version this card reads “A Northwood Entertainment Production in Association with CBC,” the CBC version simply states “A Northwood Entertainment Production,” with no mention of Netflix. In fact, I couldn’t find any mention of Netflix at all when I read through the opening and ending credits of the episodes that aired on CBC.

The cast and crew credits are otherwise unchanged from one version to the next, except for this list of executive producers. In the CBC version, Sally Catto (General Manager, Programming at CBC English Television) is given billing above Elizabeth Bradley (VP of Content at Netflix) and Alex Sapot, whereas in the Netflix version, Bradley and Sapot appear above Catto. Road to Avonlea did likewise when it list CBC and Disney Channel executives attached to the series: the CBC broadcast listed the CBC executive(s) first, whereas the Disney Channel listed the Disney Channel executive first.

Finally, the main title card, which evidently had to be redone for the Netflix title but obviously is made to look almost identical.

And there you have it! I’ll be curious to see whether the CBC Anne or the Netflix Anne with an “E” gets released on DVD and Bluray. In the meantime, Buzzfeed published last May a fascinating account of the creation of this opening credits sequence.

Anne with an E in the News

The first season of Northwood Entertainment’s series Anne with an “E”, which had successful run on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in March and April, launches today in the rest of the world on Netflix under the title Anne with an E.

Fittingly, Anne has made the news numerous times in anticipation of its worldwide release. Here are some highlights:

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