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Who Was Lucy Maud Montgomery?

Updated on October 1, 2014
Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Story of L. M. Montgomery and Her Literary Classic
Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Story of L. M. Montgomery and Her Literary Classic | Source

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

The L.M. Montgomery Reader. Volumes 1 through 3 available here from Amazon.
The L.M. Montgomery Reader. Volumes 1 through 3 available here from Amazon. | Source

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, 1889-1900. Volume 1.
The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1889-1900. Volume 1. | Source

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?

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© 2014 Treasures By Brenda

What Is Your Favorite L.M. Montgomery Book?

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    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 

      4 years ago

      The international/ World War II aspect is interesting. I don't think I had heard that before.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks, Norma Holt. I'm sure Lucy Maud Montgomery must have had plenty of trials and tribulations during her time but I think she must have been very wise indeed. I'd love to have met her.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 

      4 years ago

      The series, Anne of Green Gables, has just finished once more on local television. This author must be a great person who has such empathy and insight into the inner person. Thoroughly enjoyed watching the story again and gained a lot of peace from the scenery and characters who are not exhibiting violence or going beyond the pale in their activities. Good lens.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      I haven't read them all yet either.

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I haven't found all of the LMM books yet. But, the books which were not especially written for children are even better I think.

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 

      4 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      I would love to go back. I definitely would spend my time differently.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      We visited Green Gables but not L.M. Montgomery's house. Maybe someday we'll go back.

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 

      4 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      We visited her home many years ago when we visited the coast.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      That's definitely L.M. Montgomery at work making you want to visit Price Edward Island!

    • fanfreluche profile image

      fanfreluche 

      4 years ago from France (but Canadian at heart)

      I'm only familiar with Ann of Green Gables. Read the book and saw the TV show (or film I don't remember) and it made me want to visit PEI

    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      I hope you have that opportunity some day. Prince Edward Island is a lovely place!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      Really good review. I would love to visit PEI one day.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much, Susan. I see we're both from Ontario!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting hub! Sharing.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks, GypsyOwl. I think Montgomery must have been a very interesting woman.

    • GypsyOwl profile image

      Deb Bryan 

      4 years ago from Chico California

      Thank you for this informative and amazing story about Lucy Maud Montgomery. I hadn't heard anything about her before. I have always adored Anne of Green Gables! It is fascinating to learn more about the inspiration for the story.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      mbgphoto - I trust you'll be seeing the Anne of Green Gables musical?

      Thanks, Ibidi - for your kind comment!

    • profile image

      Ibidii 

      4 years ago

      I love how Anne Shirley is so positive and upbeat. She reminded me of Pollyanna.

      I enjoyed the first three books and then the last two I read I was hoping that they were more about her and Gilbert. But they were enjoyable. It was great to see how all the stories and the people she was involved with had their lives work out most for the best. Great review!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      4 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      We will be visiting Prince Edward Island this fall so I was glad to read this page with all of the interesting information on L M MOntgomery.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      That was exactly my experience, Maggie. (Finding out that L.M. Montgomery wrote a lot of other books and poetry.) I am glad to hear that your daughter loves them. I also really enjoyed the prequels that were written recently and would particularly recommend Before Green Gables.

    • Maggie.L profile image

      Maggie.L 

      4 years ago from UK

      This was a really interesting article about this author. I had no idea that L. M. Montgomery wrote books other than the Anne of Green Gables series. I loved these books when I was younger. My daughter now loves them and will be keen to find other books by this author.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile imageAUTHOR

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for your visit & comment. I love Anne of Green Gables, partly because I grew up with her books & television program and partly, I suppose, because I lived near Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia when I was growing up. I still haven't read all of the books L.M. Montgomery wrote and really was surprised that there were so many when I discovered that fact. I'd love them to do a biopic film about her. I suppose I should look and see if there are any documentary films.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 

      4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I liked reading that Anne of Green Gables series. I never knew much about the author and so your hub was very educational for me. I would be interested in reading more about her.

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