Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery

Author: Elizabeth Waterston
Country: Canada
Publisher: Oxford University Press (Don Mills, ON)
Date: 2008
Pagination: vi + 248 pp.
Format: Jacketed hardcover
Trim: 6” x 9”
ISBN: 978-0-19-543003-5

Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery is a book-length study by Elizabeth Waterston, who (with Mary Henley Rubio) co-edited The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery. This reader’s guide, published to coincide with the release of Rubio’s biography Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings, discusses each of Montgomery’s twenty novels as well as the two collections of short stories published in her lifetime. The book was published by Oxford University Press as a jacketed hardcover in June 2008.

From the Dust Jacket

This wide-ranging and highly readable book about L.M. Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables (1908), is the first comprehensive “reader’s guide” to all of Montgomery’s novels.

Magic Island considers Montgomery’s fiction in the context of new information about her life—a life that saw not just its share of both fame and ill fortune, but also what Waterston calls “dark passions.” Each novel is discussed in terms of Montgomery’s private life and her background interests, and each is also considered as a creative work on its own.

Magic Island joins the celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Anne.

From the Back Cover

L.M. Montgomery grew up in Prince Edward Island, a real place of “politics and potatoes.” But it’s her fictional world, a richly textured imaginative landscape, that has captivated a world of readers since 1908, when Anne of Green Gables became the first of Montgomery’s long string of bestsellers.

In this wide ranging and highly readable book, Elizabeth Waterston uses the term “magic” to suggest that peculiar, indefinable combination of attributes that unpredictably results in creative genius. Montgomery’s intelligence, her drive, and her sense of humour are essential components of this success. Waterston also features what Montgomery called her “dream life,” a “strange inner life of fancy which had always existed side by side with my outer life.” This special ability to look beyond the veil, to access vibrant inner vistas, produced deceptively layered fictions out of a life that saw not just its share of both fame and ill-fortune, but also what Waterston calls “dark passions.”

Designed as a companion to Mary Rubio’s new biography of Montgomery, The Gift of Wings, this is the first book to reinterpret Montgomery’s writing in light of important new information about her life.

Contents

List of Illustrations (vi)

Introduction (1–8)

Anne of Green Gables (9–18)

Anne of Avonlea (19–29)

Kilmeny of the Orchard (30–38)

The Story Girl (39–48)

Chronicles of Avonlea (49–58)

The Golden Road (59–65)

Anne of the Island (66–75)

Anne’s House of Dreams (76–84)

Rainbow Valley (85–93)

Further Chronicles of Avonlea (94–102)

Rilla of Ingleside (103–11)

Emily of New Moon (112–21)

Emily Climbs (122–30)

The Blue Castle (131–40)

Emily’s Quest (141–50)

Magic for Marigold (151–60)

A Tangled Web (161–69)

Pat of Silver Bush (170–78)

Mistress Pat (179–88)

Anne of Windy Poplars (189–97)

Jane of Lantern Hill (198–206)

Anne of Ingleside (207–15)

Conclusion (216–21)

Notes (222–33)

Appendix (234–37)

Works Cited (238–41)

Acknowledgements (242)

Index (243–48)

Reviews

Reviews by Margaret Mackey, Kathleen A. Miller, and Christa Zeller Thomas.