Carole Gerson

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.

Latest Scholarship on L.M. Montgomery

A number of new contributions to the field of L.M. Montgomery Studies have appeared over the last few months, in addition to Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement’s collection of essays L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911–1942, and I wanted to take a moment to highlight them.

The Oxford Handbook of Canadian LiteratureThe Oxford Handbook of Canadian Literature, edited by Cynthia Sugars, has just been published by Oxford University Press. Montgomery is mentioned in detail in book chapters on a variety of topics—including disability, women’s writing, children’s literature, gay and lesbian writing, auto/biography, Atlantic Canadian literature, the short story, and post-Confederation nationalism—by Tracy Ware, Carole Gerson, Alexander MacLeod, Tony Tremblay, Julie Rak, Deirdre Baker, Cecily Devereux, Terry Goldie and Lee Frew, and Sally Chivers.

In December 2015, the online journal The Looking Glass: New Perspectives on Children’s Literature published a special issue on L.M. Montgomery. It includes paratexts by Caroline Jones and Carolyn Strom Collins as well as articles by Yoshiko Akamatsu, Vappu Kannas, Lauren Makrancy, Laura Leden, and Shea Keats.

In addition, several more journal articles have appeared elsewhere in the last few months, by Sarah Galletly (in British Journal of Canadian Studies), Carol L. Beran (in American Review of Canadian Studies), Gabrielle Owen (in Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures), and Kelly Blewett (in The Lion and the Unicorn).

Also in December 2015, Vappu Kannas successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Entitled “‘The Forlorn Heroine of a Terribly Sad Life Story’: Romance in the Journals of L.M. Montgomery,” the dissertation is available for download. Congratulations, Dr. Kannas!

And just yesterday, the L.M. Montgomery Literary Society published the 2015 issue of its newsletter, The Shining Scroll. This issue is filled with fascinating articles and news by Mary Beth Cavert, Carolyn Strom Collins, Christy Woster, Gwen Layton, and Linda Boutilier.

Happy reading!

New CCL/LCJ issue on L.M. Montgomery

From Joshua Ginter, Administrator of Canadian Children’s Literature / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse and Research Coordinator at the Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures:

The forthcoming Fall issue of Canadian Children’s Literature / Litterature canadienne pour la jeunesse features a collection of articles and essays on the work of L.M. Montgomery. Special rates are offered for single, non-subscription copies.

Issue Contents

  • Anne of Green Gables, Elijah of Buxton, and Margaret of Newfoundland—Margaret Mackey (University of Alberta)
  • Weaving a Tapestry of Beauty: Anne Shirley as Domestic Artist—Kathleen Miller (University of Delaware)
  • The “Murray Look”: Trauma as Family Legacy in L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon Trilogy—Lindsey McMaster (Nipissing University)
  • Rereading Anne of Green Gables in Anne of Ingleside: L.M. Montgomery’s Variations—Perry Nodelman (University of Winnipeg)
  • A report on the digitization of the L.M. Montgomery Collection at the University of Guelph—Lorne Bruce, Wayne Johnston, and Helen Salmon (University of Guelph)
  • Review Essays on Montgomery Criticism and new Anne of Green Gables Material—Carole Gerson (Simon Fraser University) and E. Holly Pike (Memorial University)

Special rates for single copies are payable by cheque or money order to Canadian Children’s Literature / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse. Please provide full mailing and contact details.

Rates

  • Canada: $25 CAD (Individual), $38 CAD (Institution)
  • U.S.: $27 USD (Individual), $38 USD (Institution)
  • Overseas: $32 USD/€23 (Individual), $40 USD/€32 (Institution)

Mail to:
CCL/LCJ
Department of English,
University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9
Canada

For more information, email ccl@uwinnipeg.ca or telephone 204 786 9351.

Anne of Green Gables: A Literary Icon at 100: Exhibit Opening & Symposium

SATURDAY, MAY 31, 2008
Lillooet Room (Exhibit) & Dobson Room (Symposium)
Irving Barber Learning Center
University of British Columbia Library

Organized by
Ryerson University’s Modern Literature & Culture Research Center
With the Support of the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada and the International Canadian Studies Centre at UBC

These May 31 events mark the opening of the exhibition Anne of Green Gables: A Literary Icon at 100, May 31 to June 8, 2008. The exhibit takes place in the Historic Lillooet Room, Irving Barber Learning Center; the exhibit symposium takes place in the adjoining Dobson Room. Both the Exhibit and the exhibit symposium are open to the public.

Exhibit Symposium Program

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM, DOBSON ROOM
Anne of Green Gables: A Literary Icon at 100: Leading and Emerging Scholars Reflect on Anne of Green Gables in the Centenary Year / Chair: Irene Gammel

This round table of scholars is dedicated to taking stock of Canada’s most famous literary icon at its centenary anniversary, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. What is behind the popularity of the novel? What is its current global value and status? What is its future in Canada and the world? Each speaker, a recognized or emerging scholar, has five minutes to make a brief statement, which can be personal and scholarly, before we open to general discussion and audience question and answer.

Participants include:

  • Deirdre Baker, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Cecily Devereux, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Janice Fiamengo, University of Ottawa
  • Dr. Irene Gammel, Ryerson University
  • Dr. Carole Gerson, Simon Fraser University
  • Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre, University of Alberta, L. M. Montgomery Research Group
  • Dr. Mavis Reimer, Canada Research Chair in the Culture of Childhood, University of Winnipeg
  • Dr. Margaret Steffler, Trent University, L. M. Montgomery Society of Ontario.

12:15 AM – 1:00 AM, DOBSON ROOM
Looking for Anne; Exhibit Opening and Booksigning: With Curator and Author Irene Gammel

The exhibit opening talk in Dobson Room is followed by an exhibit tour and book signing by Irene Gammel in Lillooet Room. Irene Gammel’s book Looking for Anne: How Lucy Maud Montgomery Dreamed Up a Literary Classic (Key Porter) accompanies the exhibit as the catalogue. Refreshments will be served.

1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Guided Tours of the Exhibit in Lillooet

4:00 4:30 PM Anne of Green Gables: New Directions
A Workshop Co-hosted with the University of Toronto Press

A workshop for contributors to the collection of essays edited by Irene Gammel and tentatively titled Anne of Green Gables: New Directions (papers due August 15). Informal question and answer format.

4:45 PM – 6:00 PM, DOBSON ROOM
Anne of Green Gables: New Directions at 100
ACCUTE: Association for Canadian College and University Teachers of English
Organizers/Chairs: Irene Gammel and Benjamin Lefebvre

Alexander MacLeod (Saint Mary’s), “On the Road from Bright River: Shifting Social Space in Anne of Green Gables”

Jason Nolan (Ryerson) “Anne of the Undead: Changeling Child and the Uncanny in Avonlea”

Alison Matthews David and Kimberly Wahl (Ryerson) “Taste and Transformation: Negotiating Codes of Fashion in Avonlea”

6:00 – 7:00 PM Exhibit Tour
Lillooet Room