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The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery

The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery is a collection of essays edited and introduced by Irene Gammel. Based on an international conference hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute and held at the University of Prince Edward Island in June 2002, the volume includes the full text of a collaborative diary between L.M. Montgomery and her friend Nora Lefurgey as well as original scholarship by Joy Alexander, Mary Beth Cavert, Cecily Devereux, Elizabeth R. Epperly, Janice Fiamengo, Irene Gammel, Jennifer H. Litster, Mary McDonald-Rissanen, Melissa Prycer, Mary Rubio, Hildi Froese Tiessen, Paul Tiessen, and Elizabeth Waterston. It was published by University of Toronto Press as an unjacketed hardcover in February 2005 and as a trade paperback in March 2005.

Citation: Gammel, Irene, ed. The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005.

Format: Unjacketed hardcover/trade paperback, 6” × 9”, xiv + 305 pp., 978-0-8020-8924-3/978-0-8020-8676-1

Publisher Listing:


Who ultimately is L.M. Montgomery, and why was there such an obsession with secrecy, hiding, and encoding in her life and fiction? Delving into the life of Canada’s most enigmatic writer, The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery addresses these questions. The eleven essays illuminate Montgomery’s personal writings and photographic self-portraits and probe the ways in which she actively shaped her life as a work of art. This is the first book to investigate both these writings—which include thousands of pages in journals, a memoir, correspondence, and scrapbooks—and her photography.

Using theories of autobiography and life writing, the essays explore the author’s flair for the dramatic and her exuberance in costuming, as well as the personal facts behind some of her fiction, including the beloved Anne of Green Gables. Focusing on topics such as sexuality, depression, marriage, ageing, illness, and writing, the essays strip away the layers of art and artifice that disguised Montgomery’s most intensely guarded secrets, including details of her affair with Herman Leard, her marriage with Ewan Macdonald, and her friendships with Nora Lefurgey and Isabel Anderson. The book also includes rare photographs taken by Montgomery and others, many of which have not previously appeared in print.

One of the highlights of The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery is the inclusion of a secret diary that Montgomery wrote with Lefurgey in 1903. This amusing document is a rare find, for Montgomery’s teasing banter presents us with a new voice that is distinct from the sombre tone of her journals. Published here for the first time, more than one hundred years after its composition, this diary is a welcome addition to the literature on this important figure.

This volume fills in many of the blanks surrounding Montgomery’s personal life. Engaging and erudite, it is a boon for scholars and Montgomery fans alike.


Acknowledgments (vii–ix)

Permissions (xi–xii)

Abbreviations (xiii)

Introduction: Life Writing as Masquerade: The Many Faces of L.M. Montgomery / Irene Gammel (3–15)

Part 1: Staging the Bad Girl (17)

1. “ . . . Where Has My Yellow Garter Gone?” The Diary of L.M. Montgomery and Nora Lefurgey / Edited, annotated, and illustrated by Irene Gammel (19–87)

2. The “Secret” Diary of Maud Montgomery, Aged 28 1/4 / Jennifer H. Litster (88–105)

3. Nora, Maud, and Isabel: Summoning Voices in Diaries and Memories / Mary Beth Cavert (106–25)

Part 2: Confessions and Body Writing (127)

4. “I Loved Herman Leard Madly”: L.M. Montgomery’s Confession of Desire / Irene Gammel (129–53)

5. Veils and Gaps: The Private Worlds of Amy Andrew and L.M. Montgomery, 1910–1914 / Mary McDonald-Rissanen (154–69)

6. “ . . . The Refuge of My Sick Spirit . . . ”: L.M. Montgomery and the Shadows of Depression / Janice Fiamengo (170–86)

Part 3: Writing for an Intimate Audience (187)

7. Visual Drama: Capturing Life in L.M. Montgomery’s Scrapbooks / Elizabeth R. Epperly (189–209)

8. “I Hear What You Say”: Soundings in L.M. Montgomery’s Life Writings / Joy Alexander (210–21)

9. Epistolary Performance: Writing Mr. Weber / Paul Tiessen and Hildi Froese Tiessen (222–38)

Part 4: Where Life Writing Meets Fiction (239)

10. “See My Journal for the Full Story”: Fictions of Truth in Anne of Green Gables and L.M. Montgomery’s Journals / Cecily Devereux (241–57)

11. The Hectic Flush: The Fiction and Reality of Consumption in L.M. Montgomery’s Life / Melissa Prycer (258–72)

12. Untangling the Web: L.M. Montgomery’s Later Journals and Fiction, 1929–1939 / Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston (273–90)

Works Cited and Consulted (291–301)

Contributors (303–5)

This page last updated on 19 November 2023. Please contact the site owner with additions, corrections, questions, and suggestions.