Who Was Lucy Maud Montgomery?
Montgomery's journals say that she came up with the idea for Anne of Green Gables from a personal family situation in which relatives wanted to adopt a boy but received a girl. Montgomery's writings also claim that the image we all hold dear of Anne Shirley was an image seen in Metropolitan Magazine of a Gibson Girl model named Evelyn Nesbit.
There is a wealth of information available about the world-renowned Anne Shirley and her fictional life in Prince Edward Island. However, L.M. Montgomery wrote not only the Anne of Green Gables books but many more novels and stories between the early 1900s and the early 1940s.
Before I started my exploration of Montgomery, I did not know that her writings were so extensive and influential or that her life was so interesting. If you are a fan of either L.M. Montgomery or Anne of Green Gables, you will want to read on to see what I discovered!
The L.M. Montgomery Reader
A Short Lucy Maud Montgomery Biography
Lucy Maud or L.M. Montgomery was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island in 1874. (The name of the town she was born in is now New London.) Her mother died shortly after her birth and her Grandparents raised her in Cavendish.
Even as a child, Montgomery had a vivid imagination and used books and writing to fill her time. She published her first poem, ‘On Cape LeForce’, while attending the one-room school near her grandparents’ home.
She received her teaching license from the Prince of Wales College and taught at three P.E.I. schools, eventually leaving to study English literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She began her career as an author when she received payment for her writing during the time she spent at Dalhousie.
She returned to Cavendish when her grandfather died to look after her grandmother and lived there for most of the next 13 years. While in Cavendish, she wrote and attempted to have published many poems and stories.
In 1905, she wrote and tried to have Anne of Green Gables published but the story was rejected. Luckily for us, in 1907 the Page Company of Boston, Massachusetts, agreed to publish it in 1908. The book was an instant hit and launched Montgomery on a successful writing career. Eventually, she managed to earn a comfortable living from the earnings of her writing, which was quite an accomplishment for a woman of those times.
Montgomery eventually wrote 500 short stories and 20 novels. Since her death in 1942, her stories have been produced for television audiences. Every year new books are published. In 2008, the 100th Anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables, two new books, Before Green Gables and A New Beginning, were published guessing at what Anne Shirley’s life might have ben like before she arrived on the Island.
The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery:
The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years
L.M. Montgomery wrote a diary from the time she was 15 and many of those entries were previously published in the series, Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volumes I-V. When those books were published, they were edited to suit certain interests, which meant that entries were missing that included personal tastes, enthusiasm for landscapes, and her episodes of depression.
Complete, unedited diary entries from L.M. Montgomery were published for the first time in this series of books.
Why Are L.M. Montgomery's Writings Special?
The founder of the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island said that Montgomery had a unique gift for helping people envision special places and settings and that even when her writings were translated the pictures that she created of people and places shined through in her imagery.
Fans from different parts of the world are attached to the story for different reasons.
The Poles who are very attached to their country, focus on the idea of ‘home’ which appears in Montgomery’s writings. Anne of Green Gables is about a lonely orphan finding a place to call her own.
The Japanese are fond of these books for three reasons. The first is because of Anne’s love of nature and Montgomery’s lyrical verse about the Island tie which ties in with Shinto — the native religion of Japan and the belief in spirits associated with a particular place.
The second is tied to the second world war and the number of Japanese children who identified with the story when it was translated after the Second World War. The teacher translated the book she was given by a Canadian missionary even though it was politically inappropriate at that time and she managed to keep both herself and the translated pages safe throughout the war. Seven years after the war was over, her translation was introduced to the Japanese and later became a part of the school curriculum.
The final reason the Japanese are so attached to Anne of Green Gables is because Japanese women value the femininity of Anne. She had a fiery temperament and outbursts but was a good girl nevertheless.
The Many Mauds: A 1996 CBC Documentary About Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Are You A Fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Works?
Are You A Fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Works?
More L.M. Montgomery Reading
- Before Green Gables Book Review
Before Green Gables is the highly publicized, much anticipated, authorized prequel to the book, Anne of Green Gables written by Budge Wilson, published in 2008 and read by me right away, that summer. Anne of Green Gables intrigues me because I...
- Meet Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)
Anne Shirley is the wonderful red-headed, freckle-faced, spirited and orphaned child that many of us know and love from the Anne of Green Gables stories written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne's legend is so large that some people have the mistaken...
- Controversial New Anne of Green Gables Book Cover
Recently a company self-published a three-in-one Anne of Green Gables boxed book set and radically changed the image on the cover from that of the red headed, freckly 10-year old girl we have come to know and love as Anne Shirley to well, an older...
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