Editors: Benjamin Lefebvre and Andrea McKenzie
Paratexts: Introduction, “A Note on the Text,” “The Origins of the First World War,” “Canadian Women’s Poetry of the First World War,” Glossary, and Further Reading by Benjamin Lefebvre and Andrea McKenzie
Publisher: Viking Canada
Pagination: xxv + 390 pp.
Format: Jacketed hardcover
This edition of Rilla of Ingleside restores the complete text from the original 1921 edition, makes three handwritten corrections found in L.M. Montgomery’s personal copy of the novel, and supplements Montgomery’s text with an introduction, maps of Europe, and a detailed glossary, to help place Montgomery’s text within its historical, cultural, and biographical contexts. This edition was edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, who had previously edited Montgomery’s rediscovered final book, The Blythes Are Quoted, and Andrea McKenzie, an expert on personal narratives of the First World War. It was published as a jacketed hardcover by Viking Canada in October 2010, with a paperback edition by Penguin Canada appearing in November 2011.
From the Back Cover
“In my latest story, ‘Rilla of Ingleside,’ I have tried, as far as in me lies, to depict the fine and splendid way in which the girls of Canada reacted to the Great War—their bravery, patience and self-sacrifice. The book is theirs in a sense in which none of my other books have been: for my other books were written for anyone who might like to read them: but ‘Rilla’ was written for the girls of the great young land I love, whose destiny it will be their duty and privilege to shape and share.” —L.M. Montgomery, from “How I Became a Writer,” 1921
From the Dust Jacket
First published in 1921, Rilla of Ingleside—originally written as the final sequel to Anne of Green Gables—is one of the only contemporary depictions in Canadian fiction of women on the home front during the First World War. Focusing on Rilla Blythe, the pretty and high-spirited youngest daughter of Anne Shirley, the novel paints a vivid and compelling picture of the women who battled to keep the home fires burning throughout those tumultuous years. Using her own wartime experience and imagination, Montgomery recreates the laughter and grief, poignancy and suspense, struggles and courage of Canadian women at war.
This special gift edition includes Montgomery’s complete, restored, and unabridged original text as well as a thoughtful introduction from the editors, a detailed glossary, maps of Europe during the war, and war poems by L.M. Montgomery and her contemporary Virna Sheard.
A Note on the Text (xx)
The Origins of the First World War (xxi–xxv)
Chapter I: Glen “Notes” and Other Matters (3–15)
Chapter II: Dew of Morning (16–22)
Chapter III: Moonlit Mirth (23–36)
Chapter IV: The Piper Pipes (37–50)
Chapter V: “The Sound of a Going” (51–66)
Chapter VI: Susan, Rilla, and Dog Monday Make a Resolution (67–75)
Chapter VII: A War Baby and a Soup Tureen (76–86)
Chapter VIII: Rilla Decides (87–95)
Chapter IX: Doc Has a Misadventure (96–102)
Chapter X: The Troubles of Rilla (103–15)
Chapter XI: Dark and Bright (116–27)
Chapter XII: In the Days of Langemarck (128–35)
Chapter XIII: A Slice of Humble Pie (136–46)
Chapter XIV: The Valley of Decision (147–53)
Chapter XV: Until the Day Break (154–63)
Chapter XVI: Realism and Romance (164–78)
Chapter XVII: The Weeks Wear By (179–93)
Chapter XVIII: A War Wedding (194–207)
Chapter XIX: “They Shall Not Pass” (208–17)
Chapter XX: Norman Douglas Speaks Out in Meeting (218–24)
Chapter XXI: “Love Affairs Are Horrible” (225–31)
Chapter XXII: Little Dog Monday Knows (232–39)
Chapter XXIII: “And So, Goodnight” (240–45)
Chapter XXIV: Mary Is Just in Time (246–57)
Chapter XXV: Shirley Goes (258–66)
Chapter XXVI: Susan Has a Proposal of Marriage (267–78)
Chapter XXVII: Waiting (279–95)
Chapter XXVIII: Black Sunday (296–301)
Chapter XXIX: “Wounded and Missing” (302–6)
Chapter XXX: The Turning of the Tide (307–12)
Chapter XXXI: Mrs. Matilda Pitman (313–24)
Chapter XXXII: Word from Jem (325–33)
Chapter XXXIII: Victory!! (334–36)
Chapter XXXIV: Mr. Hyde Goes to His Own Place and Susan Takes a Honeymoon (337–41)
Chapter XXXV: “Rilla-my-Rilla!” (342–50)
Canadian Women’s Poetry of the First World War (351–53)
- Our Women, by L.M. Montgomery (352)
- The Young Knights, by Virna Sheard (352–53)
Further Reading (388–89)
This new edition of Rilla of Ingleside includes the tag “A new, unabridged and fully restored edition” on the cover. What does this mean?
In the 1970s, a reprint edition of Rilla of Ingleside silently cut 4,500 words, or 4% of the original text (to put it another way, that’s fourteen pages of text that are missing). That edition was reprinted by Bantam-Seal in the 1980s and remains in print today. This new edition restores the full text of the original edition, published in 1921.
What types of material were cut?
There doesn’t seem to be a clear pattern of deletions: some pertain simply to adverbs that are no longer in general use (verily, ignominiously), whereas others involve entire scenes that have been excised. Most of the cuts occur in the first half of the book, which indicates that the abridgment was done primarily for length. Most of the cuts seem fairly arbitrary, and they don’t point to a decision to eliminate “adult” or controversial material that someone would deem unsuitable for children (not that Montgomery is a children’s writer per se). One example would be the scene in which Anne finds her first grey hair. Omitted from the Seal edition are several paragraphs in which Anne reminisces about the episode in which she bought a bottle of hair dye from a “German Jew pedlar,” followed by Susan’s anti-German (but not anti-Semitic) response:
From chapter 18, “A War Wedding”:
“By the way, that reminds me—I found a grey hair this morning—my very first,” said Mrs. Blythe.
“I have noticed that grey hair for some time, Mrs. Dr. dear, but I did not speak of it. Thought I to myself, ‘She has enough to bear.’ But now that you have discovered it let me remind you that grey hairs are honourable.”
“I must be getting old, Gilbert,” Mrs. Blythe laughed a trifle ruefully. “People are beginning to tell me I look so young. They never tell you that when you are young. But I shall not worry over my silver thread. I never liked red hair. Gilbert, did I ever tell you of that time, years ago at Green Gables, when I dyed my hair? Nobody but Marilla and I knew about it.”
“Was that the reason you came out once with your hair shingled to the bone?”
“Yes. I bought a bottle of dye from a German Jew pedlar. I fondly expected it would turn my hair black—and it turned it green. So it had to be cut off.”
“You had a narrow escape, Mrs. Dr. dear,” exclaimed Susan. “Of course you were too young then to know what a German was. It was a special mercy of Providence that it was only green dye and not poison.”
“It seems hundreds of years since those Green Gable days,” sighed Mrs. Blythe. “They belonged to another world altogether. Life has been cut in two by the chasm of the war. What is ahead I don’t know—but it can’t be a bit like the past. I wonder if those of us who have lived half our lives in the old world will ever feel wholly at home in the new.”
What else is included in this new edition?
We include a bonus section called “Canadian Women’s Poetry of the First World War,” which contains the full text of two rarely seen poems that, like the novel, focus on the women at home who watched husbands, sons, brothers, friends, and neighbours go off to fight overseas. L.M. Montgomery’s poem “Our Women” was first published in an anthology of poems called Canadian Poems of the Great War (1918). Also in this book is a poem called “The Young Knights” by Montgomery’s Ontario contemporary, Virna Sheard, whose work is virtually unknown today: Montgomery selected the first stanza of Sheard’s poem as her epigraph to Rilla of Ingleside: “Now they remain to us forever young / Who with such splendour gave their youth away.”
Because Montgomery published her novel about the war within three years of the war’s end, she assumes that her 1921 readers will recognize the customs, events, politics, history, people, and locations that she mentions in her book. Because a lot of those details are less known to readers today, we provide some of this background information both before and after the text of the novel. Our introduction discusses Montgomery’s own experience in the First World War as a minister’s wife in rural Ontario, the ways she attempted to find meaning in the war and the sacrifices that it entailed, and how she used her already popular Anne characters as a platform for her war message. A short section entitled “The Origins of the First World War” provides readers with a snapshot of the complex set of treaties that prompted the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife into a world war. We also include maps of Europe and of the Western Front so that readers can visualize the locations of events mentioned throughout the novel.
The glossary included at the end of the book includes over 330 entries: literary allusions to the work of nineteenth-century poets and the Judeo-Christian Bible; terms such as “fruitatives,” “ANZACs,” “Banshee,” “battalion runner,” “Black Sunday,” and “cootie sarks”; events such as the Battles of Aisne, Cambrai, Caporetto, Courcelette, Marne, and New Chapelle, and the Canadian election of 1917; and public figures such as Herbert Asquith, Sir Robert Borden, Sir Julian Byng, Constantine of Greece, Nicholas II, Sir Samuel Hughes, and Woodrow Wilson.
See also the exclusive interview with Benjamin Lefebvre on the editing of The Blythes Are Quoted, the new edition of Rilla of Ingleside, and his ongoing interest in L.M. Montgomery’s legacy.