Kelly Hill

Twenty Nineteen in Review

Last July, I blogged about three books that had just been published – Anne of Green Gables: The Original Manuscript, edited by Carolyn Strom Collins; a new edition of Imagining Anne: The Island Scrapbooks of L.M. Montgomery, by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly; and L.M. Montgomery’s Complete Journals: The Ontario Years, 1930–1933, edited by Jen Rubio – as well as some journal articles and book chapters that had appeared in the first half of 2019. What I’d like to do now is highlight some of the remaining books, adaptations, and items of scholarship that have appeared during the last year, all of which demonstrate that there’s always something new to learn and appreciate about L.M. Montgomery.

There’s also been a lot of work going on behind the scenes here at L.M. Montgomery Online. As I mentioned in a blog post last September, I’ve been reorganizing and streamlining the information on this website to make it more manageable. When I started this website (as L.M. Montgomery Research Group) back in 2007, I wanted to showcase all contributors to L.M. Montgomery studies, and accordingly, I created stand-alone pages for every author, every periodical, every major book, and every actor in a screen adaptation of Montgomery’s work. As a result, this website became so large that I couldn’t make back-ups of it anymore, so this year I decided to eliminate pages for periodicals and to list actors, writers, and directors of screen adaptations on single pages (in the case of actors, listed alphabetically by surname with one page for each letter of the alphabet). Doing so has brought the website down to a more reasonable size, which has enabled me to start featuring lists of Montgomery’s periodical pieces.

Cover art for A WORLD OF SONGS: SELECTED POEMS, 1894–1921, by L.M. Montgomery, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre

I mention all this to explain why it’s taken me this long to announce formally on this blog the publication of A World of Songs: Selected Poems, 1894–1921, the second volume in The L.M. Montgomery Library, which University of Toronto Press published last January. I wanted to wait until I’d finished the overhaul of my lists of Montgomery’s periodical pieces, and that ended up taking much longer than I’d anticipated (and I still haven’t finished adding all the essays by Montgomery that appear in Volume 1 of The L.M. Montgomery Reader). Users of this website can now browse lists of items whose full texts appear in my books – poems by title, by date, and by first line; miscellaneous pieces by date; an index of periodical titles; and a list of Montgomery’s alternate signatures – with more items to be added as new volumes are published.

A World of Songs consists of a selection of fifty poems – roughly 10% of Montgomery’s total output – published over a quarter of a century, starting when she was a student at Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown. In my afterword, I talk about Montgomery’s poems in terms of “the competing forces of literary reputation, reader recognition, financial profit, and enduring literary quality” and attempt to position this work against poems by some of her contemporaries, including Duncan Campbell Scott, Bliss Carman, and Isabella Valancy Crawford. It’s meant to be a companion of sorts to The Blythes Are Quoted, which features forty-one of Montgomery’s poems, most of which were first published in magazines from 1919 onward. It will be followed by a much larger volume of all of Montgomery’s poems, something that I’ve been working on for several years already.

Although several new trade editions of Montgomery’s books appeared in 2019, the year was also notable for the appearance of three new biographies of Montgomery, two of them for very young readers. In 2018, María Isabel Sánchez Vegara published a picture-b0ok biography for the Little People, Big Dreams series (whose books tell the story of several prominent women, including Frida Kahlo, Ella Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and Marie Curie). This past August, Sánchez Vegara published Lucy Maud: My First L.M. Montgomery, a board-book version of her biography with a simplified text in order to “introduce your baby to Canada’s favorite author.” (I especially appreciated an image showing Montgomery’s newspaper column, signed Cynthia, which I collected last year in A Name for Herself: Selected Writings, 1891–1917.) Sarah Howden also published a short biography for HarperCollins’s I Can Read! series, whereas a revised edition of Stan Sauerwein’s 2004 biography for the Amazing Stories series appeared as Lucy Maud Montgomery: Canada’s Literary Treasure, published by Formac Publishing Company.

Also for young children are two more volumes in Kelly Hill’s series of Anne-related concept books from Tundra Books: Anne’s Feelings and Anne’s Alphabet, which follow Anne’s Colors and Anne’s Letters from 2018. Also from Tundra this past year is Kallie George’s Anne’s Kindred Spirits, a second abridgement for children of Anne of Green Gables, following 2018’s Anne Arrives, republished in paperback in 2019.

In terms of scholarship, December 2019 saw the publication of Wendy Roy’s book-length study The Next Instalment: Serials, Sequels, and Adaptations of Nellie L. McClung, L.M. Montgomery, and Mazo de la Roche, published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Roy’s book promises to become a major contribution to the field, not only because it focuses on the largely unexplored topic of serial publication, but also because it places Montgomery firmly alongside two of her contemporaries within Canadian literary studies.

Here’s a list of journal articles, book chapters, and reviews on L.M. Montgomery’s work that were published in 2019 (including a trio of articles on Swedish translations in Barnboken: Journal of Children’s Literature Research), in addition to those I mentioned in my blog post from last July:

  • Holly Blackford, “Unattached Women Raising Cain: Spinsters Touching Orphans in Anne of Green Gables and Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” in South: A Scholarly Journal
  • Claire Campbell, review of L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s), in American Review of Canadian Studies
  • Frederika A. Eilers, “Making Green Gables Anne’s Home: Rural Landscapes and Ordinary Homes of Canadian Fiction and Film,” in Our Rural Selves: Memory and the Visual in Canadian Childhoods
  • Faye Hammill, review of A Name for Herself: Selected Writings, 1891–1917, in Times Literary Supplement
  • Victoria Kennedy, “Haunted by the Lady Novelist: Metafictional Anxieties about Women’s Writing from Northanger Abbey to The Carrie Diaries,” in Women: A Cultural Review
  • Andrea McKenzie, review of L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s), in The Lion and the Unicorn
  • Claudia Mills, “Trying to Be Good (with Bad Results): The WouldbegoodsBetsy-Tacy and Tib, and Ivy and Bean: Bound to Be Bad,” in Children’s Literature
  • David Myles, “‘Anne Goes Rogue for Abortion Rights!’: Hashtag Feminism and the Polyphonic Nature of Activist Discourse,” in New Media and Society
  • Cornelia Rémi, “From Green Gables to Grönkulla: The Metamorphoses of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and Its Various Swedish Translations,” in Barnboken: Journal of Children’s Literature Research
  • Jennifer Scott, review of A Name for Herself: Selected Writings, 1891–1917, in Victorian Periodicals Review
  • Åsa Warnqvist, “‘Don’t Be Too Upset with Your Unchivalrous Publisher’: Translator–Publisher Interactions in the Swedish Translations of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne and Emily Books,” in Barnboken: Journal of Children’s Literature Research

The 2018 annual volume of The Shining Scroll, the official publication of the L.M. Montgomery Literary Society (Minnesota), appeared early in 2019, featuring articles and news by Mary Beth Cavert, Carolyn Strom Collins, and Sandra Wagner. Be sure to download this newsletter if you don’t know it already. I look forward to reading the 2019 edition!

Twenty nineteen was also the year that the third – and ultimately the last – season of Anne with an “E” aired on CBC television. I was really disappointed to learn of the series’ cancellation, not only because I thought the show overall was excellent, but also because of the point at which it stops. The third season was released worldwide (except Canada) on Netflix just last Friday, so I don’t want to go into too much detail for viewers who haven’t finished it yet, but I was disappointed by what the networks decided was a suitable way to end a young woman’s story, given that the creators evidently hadn’t intended to end the story there. In spite of a petition and a flurry of positive responses on social media, it looks unlikely at this point that the series will be continued beyond the twenty-seven episodes already produced, which is a real shame. Although the television series departed in many ways from the book, it clearly struck a chord with viewers all over the world, much like how readers have responded to Montgomery’s writing for more than a century.

As for me, 2019 has been a busy year in terms of future volumes of The L.M. Montgomery Library. After completing the bulk of the work on the first of several chronological volumes of Montgomery’s short stories, I ended up deciding, in consultation with my editor, to move a few things around and to present this aspect of her work in a new way, with the result that I’ve spent six months working on three volumes simultaneously. One reason this has taken longer than anticipated is that I’ve been searching for a multi-chapter serial entitled “The Luck of the Tremaynes,” which Montgomery published in the January and February 1907 issues of The American Home of Waterville, Maine. I’ve searched through every digital repository I can think of and contacted libraries, collectors, and booksellers, and so far I haven’t had any luck. (I’ve come close a few times, though—a microfilm that claimed to have the full run of the issue ended at 1906, whereas copies of other 1907 issues are currently available on eBay.) In the off chance that you have a copy or have a suggestion of someone who might, please contact me. In the meantime, watch this space for news about future volumes in the series!

I guess that’s it. I look forward to seeing what 2020 will bring!

Upcoming Anne Releases

Last April, I wrote about four new books that were released last spring to coincide with the seventy-fifth anniversary of L.M. Montgomery’s death and that promised to stretch our understanding of her life, work, and legacy in exciting new ways: Melanie J. Fishbane’s YA novel Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery, Andrea McKenzie and Jane Ledwell’s collection of essays L.M. Montgomery and War, Jen Rubio’s edition of L.M. Montgomery’s Complete Journals: The Ontario Years, 1918–1921, and Carolyn Strom Collins and Christy Woster’s volume of short stories After Many Years. Also published since that blog entry are Rubio’s edition of L.M. Montgomery’s Complete Journals: The Ontario Years, 1926–1929, also released in May (a volume covering the years 1922 to 1925 is forthcoming), as well as paperback editions of Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston’s The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, including a volume devoted to 1889 to 1900 and one to 1901 to 1911.

Coming up in the next several months is another new batch of releases, but for the most part the focus has shifted back to Montgomery’s most celebrated book, Anne of Green Gables.

Cover art for Anne of Green Gables (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, 2017)

First up is the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Anne of Green Gables, with a foreword by J. Courtney Sullivan, an introduction and additional contributions by me, and a bonus essay by L.M. Montgomery. Most trade reprints of the novel published in North America reprint a modernized version of the text that first appeared in the mid-twentieth century and that Americanizes spelling, updates hyphenation and punctuation, and makes a number of small changes to the text (there are fourteen small changes made to the first chapter alone). The Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition is one of the few that includes the full text of the original 1908 edition, with fourteen corrections that are listed in the section entitled “A Note on the Text.”

This new edition of Anne of Green Gables will appear less than two months before the Penguin Canada Modern Classics edition of The Blythes Are Quoted, already announced. Joining these authoritative editions of Montgomery’s work are several new books that engage with her story in a range of ways:

Meet Me at Green Gables, by Michel Bourque, illustrated by Jean-Luc Trudel: This charming picture book tells the story of Gracie Finley and Glenda Landry, who played Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables: The Musical in Charlottetown in the 1960s. Also available in French as Rideau rouge et pignons verts. Bouton d’or d’Acadie, August 2017.

Anne of Green Gables: A BabyLit Places Primer, by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Alison Oliver: Designed to “captivate your brainy baby’s imagination, and yours,” this board book for toddlers focuses on the PEI locations that are so prominent in the book. Gibbs Smith, August 2017.

Anne of Green Gables, illustrated by Maki Minami: This new edition of the novel features manga illustrations by Japanese manga author Maki Minami. Seven Seas Entertainment, September 2017.

The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook, by Kate Macdonald: A new edition of this recipe book by a granddaughter of L.M. Montgomery, first published in 1985, now with the subtitle “Charming Recipes from Anne and Her Friends in Avonlea.” Race Point Publishing, September 2017.

Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel, adapted by Mariah Marsden, illustrated by Brenna Thummler: This “whimsically-illustrated” graphic novel offers new and returning readers a chance to “explore the violet vales and glorious green of Avonlea.” Andrews McMeel Publishing, October 2017.

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables: The Enchanting Island That Inspired L.M. Montgomery, by Catherine Reid, with photographs by Kerry Michaels: Traces the ways in which Montgomery’s “deep connection to the landscape inspired her to write Anne of Green Gables.” Timber Press, March 2018.

Anne’s Colors and Anne’s Numbers, illustrated by Kelly Hill: “Part of a series of Anne concept books,” these two board books are intended for earliest readers. Tundra Books, May 2018.

Finally, it is also worth noting that L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars, the second of three movies starring Ella Ballentine as Anne, will be released on DVD in November 2017, ahead of its U.S. premiere on PBS on Thanksgiving Day. No news yet on a DVD release of the third movie, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire and Dew.