Published today are the paperback version of my edition of L.M. Montgomery’s rediscovered final book, The Blythes Are Quoted, and a restored and annotated edition of Montgomery’s First World War novel, Rilla of Ingleside, edited in collaboration with Andrea McKenzie. Both are now available in bookstores across Canada and will soon appear at local libraries. They can also be shipped worldwide if ordered from Amazon.ca or from Penguin Canada.
Included in our edition of Rilla of Ingleside is a bonus section entitled “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 the collection of poems Canadian Poems of the Great War (1918). Also included in this anthology 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.
When putting together The Blythes Are Quoted near the end of her life, L.M. Montgomery repeated the strategy she had used when putting together Chronicles of Avonlea three decades earlier: she rewrote existing stories about unrelated characters and locations in order to include mentions of and brief appearances by Anne. In looking for material that could be reworked for Anne and her family, Montgomery selected not only some of her short stories published throughout the 1930s, but also a few that she was not able to publish.
Three of the short stories were published in Family Herald and Weekly Star, a Montreal farm magazine, and the first short story in the book is also the earliest. “Some Fools and a Saint” was published in its original form in Family Herald and Weekly Star in four instalments in May and June 1931; this version was also reprinted in the collection of short stories Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side. The original version of “Fool’s Errand” followed in February 1933, and the original version of “An Afternoon with Mr. Jenkins” appeared in August 1933. Note that these stories in their original form had nothing to do with Anne, the Blythes, or the community of Glen St. Mary.
Three more stories were published elsewhere throughout the 1930s. Several more appear in Montgomery’s records of her income as a writer, indicating that they were in fact published in the original form, but we haven’t yet been able to determine where. Three of the short stories, though, don’t appear on Montgomery’s ledger: “The Pot and the Kettle,” “The Reconciliation,” and “Retribution.” Was their inclusion in The Blythes Are Quoted an attempt by Montgomery to salvage work that was deemed too controversial for magazine publication?
Ever read Rilla of Ingleside and wonder what is meant by “fruitatives,” “ANZACs,” “Banshee,” “battalion runner,” “Black Sunday,” or “cootie sarks”? Or what happened at the Battles of Aisne, Cambrai, Caporetto, Courcelette, Marne, or New Chapelle, or in the Canadian election of 1917? Or the role played in the First World War by Herbert Asquith, Sir Robert Borden, Sir Julian Byng, Constantine of Greece, Nicholas II, Sir Samuel Hughes, or Woodrow Wilson? The new edition of L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside includes a detailed glossary with over 330 entries, from literary allusions and cultural customs to significant dates, locations, and events related to the First World War.
I’m pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of a new, restored edition of L.M. Montgomery’s First World War novel, Rilla of Ingleside, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre and Andrea McKenzie, which will be published on 26 October 2010 by Viking Canada.
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.
The publication of this edition of Rilla of Ingleside will coincide with the release in paperback of The Blythes Are Quoted by Penguin Canada.
A recent “Industry News” column by Zoe Whittall appeared recently on the Quill & Quire website:
Penguin Canada has a number of foreign deals to report: … Hindi rights to the 100th Anniversary Edition of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery went to Penguin Books India; Shinchosha have acquired Japanese rights to The Blythes Are Quoted by L.M. Montgomery….
Also, Kerry Clare’s review of L.M. Montgomery by Jane Urquhart and The Blythes Are Quoted is now available on the Q&Q website.
The publication of The Blythes Are Quoted has been selected as one of the “10 biggest publishing stories of 2009” on a CBC.ca news story:
Fans of the precocious, freckle-faced redhead from P.E.I. had reason to rejoice this year when an amended version of the final Anne Shirley stories was released under a new title, The Blythes Are Quoted. But the book’s additional 100 pages revealed a darker story – complete with references to adultery and suicide. Novelist Jane Urquhart ably provided a context for these bleak scenes in her comprehensive, unflinching biography of Anne’s author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne’s banner year ended with a triumphant Sotheby’s auction—proof that great CanLit never goes out of fashion.
In the course of research in libraries and used book stores from Charlottetown to Victoria, the authors have discovered the points of Montgomery’s original editions, from Anne of Green Gables (1908) to Anne of Ingleside (1939). A Collector’s Guide to L.M. Montgomery Firsts presents their findings systematically, with photographs and descriptions of each of the 39 first editions.
I’m pleased to announce that my edition of L.M. Montgomery’s rediscovered last book, The Blythes Are Quoted, is now available from Viking Canada.
UPDATED 24 OCTOBER: For more on this book, see the following links:
“Waterloo-based academic finds L.M. Montgomery’s last ‘darker’ work” (Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 24 October 2009)
“A different Anne and Gilbert” (The Globe and Mail, 23 October 2009)
“Green Gables tale darkens in final book” (CBC News, 23 October 2009)