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Storm and Dissonance: L.M. Montgomery and Conflict

Storm and Dissonance: L.M. Montgomery and Conflict is a collection of essays edited and introduced by Jean Mitchell and based on an international conference hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute and held at the University of Prince Edward Island in June 2006. It features original scholarship by Suvi Ahola, Danièle Allard, Sarah Clair Atkinson, Rita Bode, Carolyn Strom Collins, Margaret Doody, Trinna S. Frever, Carole Gerson, Kylee-Anne Hingston, Nancy Holmes, Satu Koskimies, Benjamin Lefebvre, Heidi MacDonald, Andrea McKenzie, Susan Meyer, E. Holly Pike, Laura Robinson, Pamela Rossi-Keen, Martina Seifert, Margaret Steffler, Kate Sutherland, Hildi Froese Tiessen, and Paul Tiessen, as well as an epilogue by Jane Ledwell. The book was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing as a jacketed hardcover in 2008.

From the Publisher’s Website

This collection of essays explores the darker side of L.M. Montgomery’s fiction and life writing. An international best-selling novelist, Montgomery’s many novels, particularly Anne of Green Gables, have enchanted readers for over a century. However, Montgomery’s own disenchantment made evident with the posthumous publication of her private journals, ruptured the easy conflation of Montgomery as author and person. The tension between public enchantment and private discontent informs Montgomery’s work and life. By exploring the more transgressive aspects of Montgomery’s writing, these essays provide new insights into the complexity of her work and life. Montgomery’s gentle landscapes and optimistic stories, as the authors suggest, often contain undercurrents of anger, malice, obsession, loss and violence. As one contributor, Margaret Doody, argues “destructiveness plays around the edges of all of her fiction.” Essays explore the anguish of mother loss, her ambivalent depictions of the maternal, the experiences War and the Great Depression as well as a range of issues related to gender, class, nature and social and cultural change. Attention to the dissonance and conflict as these essays demonstrates, provides compelling and new space for theoretical readings of Montgomery’s work.


List of Images and Figures (xi–xii)

Acknowledgements (xii–xiv)

List of Abbreviations (xv)

Introduction: Storm and Dissonance: L.M. Montgomery and Conflict / Jean Mitchell (1–21)

Part I: Narrating Self and Other

1. L.M. Montgomery: The Darker Side / Margaret Doody (25–49)

2. L.M. Montgomery and the Anguish of Mother Loss / Rita Bode (50–66)

3. L.M. Montgomery and the Conflictedness of a Woman Writer / Carole Gerson (67–80)

Part II: A World of Conflict and Private Sorrows

4. Women at War: L.M. Montgomery, the Great War, and Canadian Cultural Memory / Andrea McKenzie (83–108)

5. “That Abominable War”: The Blythes Are Quoted and Thoughts on L.M. Montgomery’s Late Style / Benjamin Lefebvre (109–30)

6. Opposing Pacifism: L.M. Montgomery and the Trouble with Ephraim Weber / Paul Tiessen (131–41)

7. Reflections of the Great Depression in L.M. Montgomery’s Life and Her Pat Books / Heidi MacDonald (142–58)

Part III: Performing Difference(s)

8. “Tempest in a Teapot”: Domestic Service and Class Conflict in L.M. Montgomery’s Journals and Fiction / E. Holly Pike (161–77)

9. Performing Motherhood: L.M. Montgomery’s Display of Maternal Dissonance / Margaret Steffler (178–93)

10. Montgomery’s “Imp”: Conflicting Representations of Illness in L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle / Kylee-Anne Hingston (194–208)

11. The Fresh-Air Controversy, Health, and Art in L.M. Montgomery’s Emily Novels / Susan Meyer (209–20)

12. Sustainable Dissonance: Becoming-Anne through L.M. Montgomery’s and Kevin Sullivan’s Anne of Green Gables / Pamela Rossi-Keen (221–37)

13. Love and Controversy for Over Eighty Years: Anne, Emily, and Finnish Women: An Interview / Suvi Ahola and Satu Koskimies (238–44)

Part IV: Avoiding, Mediating, and Resolving Conflicts

14. Out the Open Window: Avoidance as Conflict Resolution in L.M. Montgomery’s Short Fiction / Trinna S. Frever (247–62)

15. “You d—d idiot!” What L.M. Montgomery’s Silent Heroines Really Want to Say / Sarah Clair Atkinson (263–77)

16. The Conflicted Worlds Behind the Letters of L.M. Montgomery and Ephraim Weber / Hildi Froese Tiessen (278–94)

17. “Even a Successful Lawsuit Will be a Worry”: Law and Community Relations in L.M. Montgomery’s Life and Work / Kate Sutherland (295–307)

Part V: Troubling Translations and Dissonant Re-readings

18. “‘Outrageously Sexual’ Anne”: The Media and Montgomery / Laura Robinson (311–27)

19. Conflicting Images: Anne of Green Gables in Germany / Martina Seifert (328–43)

20. Hanako Muraoka’s Famous and Truncated Translation of Anne of Green Gables: Some Lingering Questions / Danièle Allard (344–62)

21. “Bound for Quebec” or “Journey’s End”? Conflicting Stories About the Montgomery Family’s Arrival in Prince Edward Island / Carolyn Strom Collins (363–72)

22. How Green Is Green Gables?: An Ecofeminist Perspective on L.M. Montgomery / Nancy Holmes (373–90)


What Occurs: Storm, Dissonance, and Conflict in L.M. Montgomery’s Life and Writing / Jane Ledwell (391–93)

Contributors (394–98)

Index (399–415)


“In the past quarter century, L.M. Montgomery has emerged as the most internationally influential Canadian writer of the first half of the 20th century. . . . Feminism and cultural studies took a sledgehammer to the modernists and other critics who had trashed her books, deeming them suitable only for undiscriminating people (such as women and children). This coincided with the publication, starting in 1985, of Montgomery’s own personal journals, kept from 1889 to 1942. They revealed an incredibly complex and well-read woman, one as witty as she was tortured. . . . In this remarkable collection of essays, scholars delve into ‘the surprising darkness, the unexpected violence . . .’ that haunt the margins of Montgomery’s work before the reader gets to her ‘happy endings.’”
Mary Henley Rubio, Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Storm and Dissonance is a collection of inter-related essays that explore how and why Montgomery’s ‘gentle landscapes and optimistic stories contain undercurrents of anger, malice, relentless gossip, obsession, and violence.’ Brilliantly edited and introduced by Island-born Anthropologist Jean Mitchell, the essays enrich our understanding of Montgomery’s complex ways of coding experiences and perceptions. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in Montgomery’s artistry and in her creation of cultural images that resonate more than one hundred years later.”
Elizabeth Rollins Epperly, author of Through Lover’s Lane: L.M. Montgomery’s Photography and Visual Imagination (2007)


Reviews by Ann F. Howey and Sean Somers.


Editor: Jean Mitchell
Paratexts: Introduction by Jean Mitchell; epilogue by Jane Ledwell
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (Newcastle, UK)
Date: 2008
Format: Jacketed hardcover
Trim: 6” x 8.5”
Pagination: xvi + 415 pp.
ISBN: 9781847184337

This page last updated on 14 December 2022. Please contact the site owner with additions, corrections, questions, and suggestions.