The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print

Cover of /The L.M. Montgomery Reader/, volume 1: /A Life in Print/, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre.
Cover of /The L.M. Montgomery Reader/, Volume 1: /A Life in Print/, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, consisting of a colourized photo of L.M. Montgomery.

Lefebvre, Benjamin, ed. The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013. Paperback edition, 2020.

Paratexts: Introduction, headnotes, and notes by Benjamin Lefebvre

6” x 9”, xiv + 450 pp., 978-1-4426-4491-5 (jacketed hardcover), 978-1-4875-2602-3 (trade paperback),

The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print is a critical anthology edited, introduced, and annotated by Benjamin Lefebvre. It features eighty chapters of materials originally published between 1908 and 1944, including miscellaneous pieces by L.M. Montgomery, interviews with her, and commentary by a range of authors such as Austin Bothwell, Ethel M. Chapman, Nathan Haskell Dole, Wilfrid Eggleston, Katherine Hale, A. Wylie Mahon, Marjory MacMurchy, Owen McGillicuddy, Norma Phillips Muir, V.B. Rhodenizer, and Ephraim Weber, as well as a short adaptation, by Arabella Boone, of the long-lost silent film version of Anne of Green Gables. The introduction also traces Montgomery’s critical reputation from the publication of Anne of Green Gables to two years after her death. The book was published by University of Toronto Press as a jacketed hardcover in December 2013 and was followed by volume 2: A Critical Heritage (2014) and volume 3: A Legacy in Review (2015). Paperback editions of all three volumes were published in June 2020.

In February 2016, the three-volume The L.M. Montgomery Reader won the 2016 PROSE Award for Literature from the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.

From the Dust Jacket

The L.M. Montgomery Reader assembles significant primary material on one of Canada’s most enduringly popular authors throughout her high-profile career and after her death. Each of its three volumes gathers pieces published all over the world to set the stage for a much-needed reassessment of Montgomery’s literary reputation. Much of the material is freshly unearthed from archives and digital collections and has never before been published in book form.

The selections appearing in this first volume focus on Montgomery’s role as a public celebrity and as the author of the resoundingly successful Anne of Green Gables (1908). They give a strong impression of her as a writer and cultural critic as she discusses a range of topics with wit, wisdom, and humour, including the natural landscape of Prince Edward Island, her wide readership, anxieties about modernity, and the continued relevance of “old ideals.” These essays and interviews are augmented by additional pieces that discuss her work’s literary and cultural value in relation to an emerging canon of Canadian literature.

Each volume is accompanied by an extensive introduction and detailed commentary by leading Montgomery scholar Benjamin Lefebvre that trace the interplay between the author and the critic, as well as between the private and public Montgomery. This volume—and the Reader as a whole—adds tremendously to our understanding and appreciation of Montgomery’s legacy as a Canadian author and as a literary celebrity both during and beyond her lifetime.


Acknowledgments (xi–xii)

Abbreviations (xiii–xiv)

Introduction: A Life in Print / Benjamin Lefebvre (3–28)

A Note on the Text (29–30)

1. [Such a Delightful Little Person] (1908) (31–32)

2. Author Tells How He Wrote His Story (1908) (33–34)

3. Origin of Popular Book (1908) (35–36)

4. The Author of Anne of Avonlea (1909) (37–39)

5. Miss Montgomery, the Author of the “Anne” Books (1909) / A. Wylie Mahon (40–43)

6. A Trio of Women Writers (1909) / Donald B. Sinclair (44–47)

7. Canadian Writers on Canadian Literature—A Symposium (1910) (48–49)

8. Says Woman’s Place Is Home (1910) (50–52)

9. Want to Know How to Write Books? Well Here’s a Real Recipe (1910) / Phoebe Dwight (53–56)

10. Miss Montgomery’s Visit to Boston (1910) (57–58)

11. Four Questions Answered (1910) / Lucy Maud Montgomery (59–61)

12. Miss L.M. Montgomery, Author of Anne of Green Gables (1910) (62–66)

13. How I Began to Write (1911) / L.M. Montgomery (67–72)

14. [Seasons in the Woods] (1911) / L.M. Montgomery (73–97)

Spring in the Woods
The Woods in Summer
The Woods in Autumn
The Woods in Winter

15. With Our Next-Door Neighbors: Prince Edward Island (1911) / Thomas F. Anderson (98–100)

16. [The Marriage of L.M. Montgomery] (1911) (101–4)

From the Guardian (Charlottetown)
From the Boston Herald

17. A Canadian Novelist of Note Interviewed (1911) (105–9)

18. Interviews with Authors (1911) / Anne E. Nias (110–13)

19. The Old Minister in The Story Girl (1912) / A. Wylie Mahon (114–19)

20. L.M. Montgomery: Story Writer (1913) / Marjory MacMurchy (120–25)

21. L.M. Montgomery at Women’s Canadian Club (1913) (126–28)

22. L.M. Montgomery of the Island (1914) / Marjory MacMurchy (129–33)

23. What Twelve Canadian Women Hope to See as the Outcome of the War (1915) (134–36)

24. The Way to Make a Book (1915) / L.M. Montgomery (137–43)

25. How I Began (1915) / L.M. Montgomery (144–47)

26. [This Hideous War] (1915) (148–50)

27. What Are the Greatest Books in the English Language? (1916) (151–53)

28. My Favorite Bookshelf (1917) / L.M. Montgomery (154–56)

29. The Author of Anne (1919) / Ethel M. Chapman (157–62)

30. The Gay Days of Old (1919) / L.M. Montgomery (163–68)

31. Introduction to Further Chronicles of Avonlea, by L.M. Montgomery (1920) / Nathan Haskell Dole (169–73)

32. One Little Girl Who Wrote to L.M. Montgomery and Received a Reply (1920) (174–76)

33. A Sextette of Canadian Women Writers (1920) / Owen McGillicuddy (177–79)

34. Blank Verse? “Very Blank,” Said Father (1921) / L.M. Montgomery (180–81)

35. “I Dwell among My Own People” (1921) / L.M. Montgomery (182–84)

36. Bits from My Mailbag (1922) / L.M. Montgomery (185–88)

37. From Fiction Writers on Fiction Writing: Advice, Opinions and a Statement of Their Own Working Methods by More Than One Hundred Authors (1923) (189–96)

38. Novel Writing Notes (1923) / L.M. Montgomery (197–98)

39. Proud That Canadian Literature Is Clean (1924) (199–201)

40. Canadian Public Cold to Its Own Literature (1924) (202–3)

41. Thinks Modern Flapper Will Be Strict Mother (1924) (204–6)

42. Symposium on Canadian Fiction in Which Canadian Authors Express Their Preferences (1924) (207–8)

43. Something about L.M. Montgomery (1925) (209–16)

44. L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside: A Reader’s Journal (1925) / Altair (217–23)

45. Famous Author and Simple Mother (1925) / Norma Phillips Muir (224–29)

46. The Day before Yesterday (1927) / L.M. Montgomery Macdonald (230–36)

47. Who’s Who in Canadian Literature: L.M. Montgomery (1927) / V.B. Rhodenizer (237–40)

48. About Canadian Writers: L.M. Montgomery, the Charming Author of “Anne” (1927) / Katherine Hale (241–43)

49. On Being of the Tribe of Joseph (1927) / Austin Bothwell (244–48)

50. Minister’s Wife and Authoress (1928) / C.L. Cowan (249–53)

51. An Autobiographical Sketch (1929) / L.M. Montgomery (254–59)

52. Modern Girl Defined by Noted Writer (1929) (260–61)

53. L.M. Montgomery’s Ideas (1930) (262–72)

54. The ’Teen-Age Girl (1931) / L.M. Montgomery (273–82)

55. Anne of Green Gables at Home (1931) / A.V. Brown (283–87)

56. An Open Letter from a Minister’s Wife (1931) / L.M. Montgomery (288–92)

57. Life Has Been Interesting (1933) / Mrs. L.M. Macdonald (L.M. Montgomery) (293–94)

58. The Importance of Beauty in Everything (1933) / L.M. Montgomery (295–97)

59. From Courageous Women (1934) / L.M. Montgomery (298–315)

Chapter I. The Maid of France: Joan of Arc
Chapter II. The Angel of the Crimea: Florence Nightingale
Chapter III. The Great White Ma: Mary Slessor of Calabar

60. Author to Get No Profit as Green Gables Filmed (1934) (316–19)

61. Film Preview of Noted Novel Honors Canadian Woman Writer (1934) (320–22)

62. Is This My Anne (1935) / L.M. Montgomery (323–27)

63. Foreword to Up Came the Moon, by Jessie Findlay Brown (1936) / L.M. Montgomery (328–29)

64. Come Back with Me to Prince Edward Island (1936) / L.M. Montgomery (330–40)

65. Memories of Childhood Days (1936) / L.M. Montgomery (341–42)

66. The Mother of the Anne Series—Lucy M. Montgomery (1937) / Eva-Lis Wuorio, translated by Vappu Kannas (343–46)

67. The Book and the Film (1937) (347–49)

68. For and about Girls (1937) / L.M. Montgomery (350–51)

69. Prince Edward Island (1939) / L.M. Montgomery, O.B.E. (352–55)

70. Beloved Writer Addresses Several Aurora Gatherings (1940) (356–58)

71. Noted Author Dies Suddenly at Home Here (1942) (359–62)

72. Lucy Maud Montgomery (1942) (363–64)

73. L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne” (1942) (365–66)

74. Body of Island’s Beloved Authoress Home for Burial (1942) (367–68)

75. Island Writer Laid to Rest at Cavendish (1942) (369–72)

76. The Creator of “Anne” (1942) (373–74)

77. [L.M. Montgomery’s Last Poem] (1942) (375–77)

L.M. Montgomery
L.M. Montgomery’s Last Poem

78. L.M. Montgomery / Mrs. (Rev.) Ewen Macdonald (1942) (378–84)

79. L.M. Montgomery as a Letter-Writer (1942) / E. Weber (385–399)

80. L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne” (1944) / E. Weber (400–410)

Epilogue: Anne of Green Gables—The Story of the Photoplay (1920) / Arabella Boone (411–20)

Sources (421–26)

Bibliography (427–40)

Index (441–50)


“No one knows more than Benjamin Lefebvre about publications by and about L.M. Montgomery, and it’s wonderful to have so many previously inaccessible materials now made available. This volume represents a serious advance in state-of-the-art research for Montgomery specialists, and offers a major contribution to our knowledge of Canadian literature and culture for the first half of the twentieth century. Enriched with fulsome annotations and contextualizing information, it will be appreciated by both scholars and Montgomery fans.”
Carole Gerson, Department of English, Simon Fraser University

“Rich, broad, and extremely well organized, this volume changes the way we understand Montgomery as a writer in a way no previous publication has done. It is an enormously valuable resource for scholars, students, and interested readers of Montgomery’s writing.”
Cecily Devereux, Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta


“Lefebvre’s archival research is thorough and often brilliant, making the Reader an invaluable trove not only for Montgomery scholars but also for those working with the reception history of Canadian writers, especially women before Laurence, Munro, and Atwood. For Montgomery completists, the Reader is irresistible. For those engaged in Montgomery studies or Canadian literature more generally, it is invaluable.”
Anne Furlong, University of Toronto Quarterly

“With this volume, Lefebvre broadens our understanding of Montgomery’s reception and reputation both within Canada and internationally, unearthing previously obscure content and commentary and making it accessible to a far wider audience. This reader will thus prove a valuable resource to both existing and future scholars of Montgomery’s work and life, as well as those fans keen for a little more insight into the ever-elusive figure of L.M. Montgomery.”
Sarah Galletly, British Journal of Canadian Studies

“Lefebvre has uncovered a cache of new, important material in an already impressive and crowded field of Montgomery scholarship. . . . His sensitive editing of the material brings the public side of Montgomery into better focus as she fields endless questions about how she became a writer, how Anne came to be and whether or not she was a real girl and what the author thought of young women in her day. [This book will] deepen our knowledge and understanding of this beloved Canadian icon.”
Laurie Glenn Norris, Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, NB)

“This comprehensive volume (with its two companions) forms a treasure trove of previously unavailable material; it will be of interest to scholars of Canadian and world literature and possibly to true admirers of Anne of Green Gables and its author.”
—Barbara L. Talcroft, Children’s Literature LLC

“Comprehensive and generous, . . . this collection will be an invaluable resource for decades to come.”
Irene Gammel and Jaclyn Marcus, Canadian Literature


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