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Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture

Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture

Gammel, Irene, ed. Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002.

Paratexts: Introduction by Irene Gammel; epilogue by Beate Nock

6” x 9”, xiv + 347 pp., 0-8020-8433-8 (trade paperback), 0-8020-3558-2 (unjacketed hardcover)

Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture is a collection of essays edited and introduced by Irene Gammel, and it emerged out of an international conference called L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture that was hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute and held at the University of Prince Edward Island in June 2000. It contains original essays by Danièle Allard, George Belliveau, James De Jonge, Cecily Devereux, Elizabeth R. Epperly, Janice Fiamengo, Irene Gammel, Carole Gerson, Eleanor Hersey, Ann F. Howey, Benjamin Lefebvre, Carrie MacLellan, Andrea McKenzie, Juliet McMaster, Tara MacPhail, Tara Nogler, E. Holly Pike, K.L. Poe, Margaret Steffler, Alice van der Klei, and Brenda R. Weber, as well as reprinted articles by Christopher Gittings and Jeanette Lynes and an epilogue by Beate Nock. It was published simultaneously as a trade paperback and an unjacketed hardcover by University of Toronto Press in August 2002.

From Inside the Book

Since the publication of Anne of Green Gables in 1908, L.M. Montgomery and the world of Anne have burgeoned into a global cultural phenomenon, popular not only in Canada, but in countries as diverse as Japan, the United States, and Iran. Making Avonlea, the first study to focus on Montgomery and her characters as popular culture icons, brings together twenty-three scholars from around the world to examine Montgomery’s work, its place in our imagination, and its myriad spin-offs including musicals, films, television series, T-shirts, dolls, and a tourist industry.

Invoking theories of popular culture, film, literature, drama, and tourism, the essayists probe the emotional attachment and loyalty of many generations of mostly female readers to Montgomery’s books while also scrutinizing the fierce controversies that surround these books and their author’s legacy in Canada. Twenty-five illustrations of theatre and film stills, artwork, and popular cultural artifacts, as well as short pieces featuring personal reflections on Montgomery’s novels, are interwoven with scholarly essays to provide a complete picture of the Montgomery cultural phenomenon. Mythopoetics, erotic romance, and visual imagination are subjects of discussion, as is the commercial success of a variety of television series and movies, musicals, and plays based on the Anne books. Scholars are also concerned with the challenges and disputes that surround the translation of Montgomery’s work from print to screen and with the growth of tourist sites and websites that have moved Avonlea into new cultural landscapes. Making Avonlea allows the reader to travel to these sites and to consider Canada’s most enduring literary figure and celebrity author in light of their status as international icons almost one hundred years after their arrival on the scene.


Acknowledgments (xi–xii)

Abbreviations (xiii)

Making Avonlea: An Introduction / Irene Gammel (3–13)

Part I. Mapping Avonlea: Cultural Value and Iconography

1. Anne of Green Gables Goes to University: L.M. Montgomery and Academic Culture / Carole Gerson (17–31)

2. Anatomy of a “National Icon”: Anne of Green Gables and the “Bosom Friends” Affair / Cecily Devereux (32–42)

3. Confessions of a Kindred Spirit with an Academic Bent / Brenda R. Weber (43–57)

4. Taking Control: Hair Red, Black, Gold, and Nut-Brown / Juliet McMaster (58–71)

5. “This Has Been a Day in Hell”: Montgomery, Popular Literature, Life Writing / Margaret Steffler (72–83)

6. The Visual Imagination of L.M. Montgomery / Elizabeth R. Epperly (84–98)

7. Writing in Pictures: International Images of Emily / Andrea McKenzie (99–113)

8. Safe Pleasures for Girls: L.M. Montgomery’s Erotic Landscapes / Irene Gammel (114–27)

Part II. Viewing Avonlea: Film, Television, Drama, and Musical

9. “It’s All Mine”: The Modern Woman as Writer in Sullivan’s Anne of Green Gables Films / Eleanor Hersey (131–44)

10. Who’s Got the Power? Montgomery, Sullivan, and the Unsuspecting Viewer / K.L. Poe (145–59)

11. “She Look’d Down to Camelot”: Anne Shirley, Sullivan, and the Lady of Shalott / Ann F. Howey (160–73)

12. Road to Avonlea: A Co-production of the Disney Corporation / Benjamin Lefebvre (174–85)

13. Melodrama for the Nation: Emily of New Moon / Christopher Gittings (186–200)

14. Paul Ledoux’s Anne: A Journey from Page to Stage / George Belliveau (201–15)

15. Snapshot: Listening to the Music in Anne of Green Gables: The Musical / Carrie MacLellan (216–22)

Part III. Touring Avonlea: Landscape, Tourism, and Spin-off Products

16. Toward a Theory of the Popular Landscape in Anne of Green Gables / Janice Fiamengo (225–37)

17. Mass Marketing, Popular Culture, and the Canadian Celebrity Author / E. Holly Pike (238–51)

18. Through the Eyes of Memory: L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish / James De Jonge (252–67)

19. Consumable Avonlea: The Commodification of the Green Gables Mythology / Jeanette Lynes (268–79)

20. Snapshot: Making Anne and Emily Dolls / Tara MacPhail (280–85)

21. Snapshot: My Life as Anne in Japan / Tara Nogler (286–94)

22. Taishu Bunka and Anne Clubs in Japan / Danièle Allard (295–309)

23. Avonlea in Cyberspace, Or an Invitation to a Hyperreal Tea Party / Alice van der Klei (310–16)

Epilogue: A Letter from Germany / Beate Nock, translated by Irene Gammel (317–20)

Works Cited (321–42)

Contributors (343–47)


“Following on the heels of the 1999 study of L.M. Montgomery and Canadian Culture, which looked at Montgomery’s impact on Canadian culture, Irene Gammel’s Making Avonlea makes a sophisticated contribution to the growing understanding of Montgomery’s influence around the world. Carried on the wings of narrative, popular culture becomes the basis of a shared community which—in Montgomery’s case—has travelled around the world and now moved into cyberspace. . . . Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture is a significant and unique Canadian contribution to the growing body of international work on popular culture.”
Mary Henley Rubio, Professor of English, School of Literatures and Performance Studies in English, University of Guelph

“This is an outstanding book that breaks new ground in gender studies, popular culture studies, and children’s literature. The collected essays focus on a fascinating range of topics, including Anne of Green Gable dolls, Anne clubs in Japan, Anne of Green Gables on the Internet, and Anne of Green Gables’ house . . . a ground-breaking book, one of the most important studies on Anne of Green Gables and L.M. Montgomery to be published in years.”
—Sherrie Inness, Department of English, Miami University, Ohio

Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture is an impressive book. . . . The significance and importance of its attempt to trace the impact of Anne of Green Gables on popular culture can neither be underestimated nor minimized, and its scope—from novel, to film, to television, to theatre—is extraordinary. The project Gammel has undertaken is ambitious, and the book lives up to its promise. . . . Its potential audience is large, and its subject matter provocative, timely, and compelling.”
—Priscilla Walton, Department of English, Carleton University


Reviews by Misao Dean, Stacy Gillis, Patsy Kotsopoulos, Elisabeth Anne MacDonald-Murray, Karen E. Macfarlane, Cecilia Morgan, Elaine Ostry, Laura M. Robinson, Teya Rosenberg, Jane Sellwood, and Caroline Whitfield.

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