Bode, Rita, and Jean Mitchell, eds. L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s). Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018.
Paratext: Introduction by Rita Bode and Jean Mitchell
6” x 9”, xii + 292 pp., 978-0-7735-5275-3 (trade paperback), 978-0-7735-5274-6 (unjacketed hardcover)
L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) is a collection of essays edited and introduced by Rita Bode and Jean Mitchell. Based on an international conference hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute and held at the University of Prince Edward Island in June 2010, the book contains original scholarship by Rita Bode, Lesley D. Clement, Elizabeth Rollins Epperly, Nancy Holmes, Paul Keen, Jennifer H. Litster, Jean Mitchell, Idette Noomé, Tara K. Parmiter, Laura M. Robinson, Catriona Sandilands, and Kate Sutherland. It was published as a trade paperback and an unjacketed hardcover by McGill-Queen’s University Press in April 2018.
In June 2019, L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) won the 2018 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English section), awarded to the best book of Canadian literary criticism written in English by the Association of Canadian and Québec Literatures.
- L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) at McGill-Queen’s University Press
From the Back Cover
L.M. Montgomery’s writings are replete with enchanting yet subtle and fluid depictions of nature that convey her intense appreciation for the natural world. At a time of ecological crises, intensifying environmental anxiety, and burgeoning ecocritical perspectives, L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) repositions the author’s relationship to nature in terms of current environmental criticism across several disciplines to introduce a fresh approach to her life and work.
Drawing on a wide range of Montgomery’s novels as well as her journals, this collection suggests that socio-ecological relationships encompass ideas of reciprocity, affiliation, autonomy, and the capacity for transformation in both the human and more-than-human worlds, and that these ideas are integral to Montgomery’s vision and her literary legacy. Framed by the twin themes of materiality and interrelationships, essays by scholars of literature, law, animal studies, anthropology, and ecology examine place, embodiment, and difference in Montgomery’s works and embrace the multiplicities embedded in the concept of nature.
Through innovative critical approaches, L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) opens up conversations about humans’ interactions with nature and the material environment.
Introduction: L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) / Rita Bode and Jean Mitchell (3–23)
Part One: Nature’s Places
1. Fire, Fantasy, and Futurity: Queer Ecology Visits Silver Bush / Catriona Sandilands (27–41)
2. The Scotsman, the Scribe, and the Spyglass: Going Back with L.M. Montgomery to Prince Edward Island / Jennifer H. Litster (42–57)
3. Romantic Novelist as Naturalist: John Foster and the Bird Woman / Nancy Holmes (58–73)
4. L.M. Montgomery’s “Indoors and Out”: Imagining an Organic Architecture / Rita Bode (74–86)
Part Two: Nature’s Embodiments
5. Natural Bridge: L.M. Montgomery and the Architecture of Imaginative Landscapes / Elizabeth Rollins Epperly (89–111)
6. L.M. Montgomery’s Neurasthenia: Embodied Nature and the Matter of Nerves / Jean Mitchell (112–27)
7. The Education of Emily: Tempering a Force of Nature through Lessons in Law / Kate Sutherland (128–40)
8. The Spirit of Inquiry: Nature Study and the Sense of Wonder in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne Books / Tara K. Parmiter (141–54)
Part Three: Nature’s Otherness
9. “No London Street Arabs for Me”: The Unnatural Orphan in Anne of Green Gables / Paul Keen (157–70)
10. Kindred Spirits: Kinship and the Nature of Nature in Anne’s House of Dreams and The Blue Castle / Laura M. Robinson (171–83)
11. The Empathic Poetic Sensibility: Discerning and Embodying Nature’s Secrets / Lesley D. Clement (184–97)
12. The Nature of the Beast: Pets and People in L.M. Montgomery’s Fiction / Idette Noomé (198–211)
Reviews by Claire Campbell, Heidi A. Lawrence, Andrea McKenzie, and Aniko Varpalotai.