Through Lover’s Lane: L.M. Montgomery’s Photography and Visual Imagination

Author: Elizabeth Rollins Epperly
Country: Canada
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Date: 2007
Format: Trade paperback, unjacketed hardcover
Trim: 6” x 9”
Pagination: xv + 217 pp.
ISBN: 9780802094605 (trade paperback), 9780802038784 (unjacketed hardcover)

Through Lover’s Lane: L.M. Montgomery’s Photography and Visual Imagination is a book-length study by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly featuring thirty-five black-and-white photographs. It was published by University of Toronto Press as a trade paperback and an unjacketed hardcover in March 2007.

From the Book

It might surprise some to know that internationally beloved Canadian writer L.M. Montgomery (1874–1942), author of the Anne of Green Gables series, among other novels, and hundreds of short stories and poems, also held a passion for photography. For forty years, Montgomery photographed her favourite places and people, using many of these photographs to illustrate the hand-written journals she left as a record of her life. Artistically inclined, and possessing a strong visual memory, Montgomery created scenes and settings in her fiction that are closely linked to the carefully composed shapes in her photographs.

Elizabeth Rollins Epperly’s Through Lover’s Lane is the first book to examine Montgomery’s photography in any depth; it is also the first study to connect it with her fiction and other writing. Drawing on the work of Montgomery scholars, as well as theorists such as Susan Sontag, Gaston Bachelard, Roland Barthes, John Berger, and George Lakoff, Epperly connects Montgomery’s practice of photography with the writer’s metaphors for home and belonging. Epperly examines thirty-five of the photographs, uncovering their role in the novelist’s life and fiction. She argues that the shapes in Montgomery’s favourite place in nature—Lover’s Lane in Cavendish, P.E.I.—affected her other photographs, underpinned her colourful descriptions, and grounded her aesthetics. Through Lover’s Lane demonstrates how an artist creates metaphors that resonate within a single work, echo across a lifetime of writing and photography, and inspire readers and viewers across cultures and time.

Contents

Acknowledgments (ix–xi)

Permissions (xiii)

Abbreviations (xv)

Introduction: Seeing Patterns (3–10)

1. Montgomery’s Visual Imagination (11–38)

2. Montgomery’s Photography (39–62)

3. Picturing a Life: Selected Photographs (63–85)

4. Picturing Home: Image as Threshold (86–102)

5. Anne’s Green Arches (103–24)

6. Emily’s “Memory Pictures” (125–44)

7. “My Castle in Spain: The Blue Castle and the Architecture of Images (145–64)

8. Afterimage: Around the “Bend in the Road” (165–78)

Appendix: “Cynthia’s” 1902 Article on Photography (179–82)

Notes (183–91)

Works Cited (193–201)

Illustration Credits (203)

Index (205–17)

Reception

“No one is better suited than Elizabeth Epperly to undertake a study of L.M. Montgomery’s photographs. Through Lover’s Lane represents the first solid study of Montgomery’s fiction in relation to both her autobiographical writing and photographs. It is a readily comprehensible study and the images are gorgeous.” —Cecily Devereux, Department of English, University of Alberta

“Elizabeth Epperly has written an effective analysis of L.M. Montgomery’s visual imagination and ‘way of seeing’—a central and surprisingly little-studied aspect of this particular author’s verbal (and visual) art. Through Lover’s Lane is a well-written, engaging work that also makes available a beautiful series of Montgomery’s photographs.” —Janice Fiamengo, Department of English, University of Ottawa

Reviews

Reviews by Trinna S. Frever, Rachel Hurst, E. Holly Pike, and Christa Zeller Thomas, and in OHS Bulletin.