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A Life and Its Mirrors: A Feminist Reading of L.M. Montgomery’s Fiction, Volume 1: An Introduction to Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne Shirley

Author: Gabriella Åhmansson
Country: Sweden
Publisher: Uppsala University
Date: 1991
Pagination: 183 pp.
Format: Trade paperback
Trim: 6” x 8.75”
ISBN: 91-554-2673-5
Series: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis: Studia Anglistica Upsaliensia 74

A Life and Its Mirrors: A Feminist Reading of L.M. Montgomery’s Fiction, Volume 1: An Introduction to Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne Shirley is the doctoral dissertation of Swedish scholar Gabriella Åhmansson that was defended at Uppsala University and published in book form in 1991. A facsimile edition, with a new “Preface to the Facsimile Edition” by the author, was published in 2009.


The Canadian writer Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874–1942) has long been overlooked by the literary establishment and there exists to date no full-length study containing interpretation or close readings of her texts. The aim of this study, which is the first of two volumes, is to elucidate Montgomery’s female content, concentrating upon the development of the creative female artist. By close reading of Montgomery’s texts from a feminist point of view, a line of research which has not been tried on these texts before, this study seeks to find new roads into her fictional world and to uncover those parts of Montgomery’s texts that remain muted or un-read when applying traditional methods.

Part I contains background information on Montgomery as well as reviews of previous research and of methods employed. An attempt to shed light on the Canadian literary scene and Montgomery’s exclusion from it is also included. Part II offers a close reading of Montgomery’s first novel, Anne of Green Gables (1908), with the help of methods taken mainly from feminist literary criticism. Such aspects as female socialization, education and ambition as well as matriarchal traits found in Avonlea are focused upon. Volume I concludes with a close reading of Anne’s House of Dreams (1917) with special emphasis on Montgomery’s depiction of marriage.


Preface (7–10)

Part I. Gossip, Gospel or Gothic? An Introduction to Lucy Maud Montgomery

1. Positions (13–25)

2. Points of Departure (26–36)

3. Gossip, Gospel or Gothic? Critical Approaches and Methods (37–44)

4. “The Problem of a Canadian Literature”: L.M. Montgomery and the Canadian Literary Tradition (45–52)

Part II. The Story of Anne Shirley: A Journey Away from Self

Introduction to Part II (55–56)

5. Anne of Green Gables: A Critical Introduction (57–73)

6. Anne Shirley (74–114)

7. Realms of the Mind (115–42)

8. Anne’s House of Dreams: Marriage as Heaven and Hell (143–68)

Appendix 1: Books by L.M. Montgomery (169–70)

Appendix 2: Articles on L.M. Montgomery (171–72)

Works Cited (173–79)

Index (180–83)


Review by Elizabeth R. Epperly.

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