I’m pleased to announce the publication of the fifth and sixth volumes in the Early Canadian Literature series published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press: S. Frances Harrison’s The Forest of Bourg-Marie (1898), with an afterword by Cynthia Sugars (University of Ottawa), and Frederick Niven’s The Flying Years (1936), with an afterword by Alison Calder (University of Manitoba).
In The Forest of Bourg-Marie, originally published in 1898, Toronto author and musician S. Frances Harrison draws together a highly mythologized image of Quebec society and the forms of Gothic literature that were already familiar to her English-speaking audience. It tells the story of a fourteen-year-old French Canadian who is lured to the United States by the promise of financial reward, only to be rejected by his grandfather upon his return. In doing so, the novel offers a powerful critique of the personal and cultural consequences of emigration out of Canada.
In her afterword, Cynthia Sugars considers how The Forest of Bourg-Marie reimagines the Gothic tradition from a settler Canadian perspective, turning to a French-Canadian setting with distinctly New-World overtones. Harrison’s twist on the traditional Gothic plotline offers an inversion of such Gothic motifs as the decadent aristocrat and ancestral curse by playing on questions of illegitimacy and cultural preservation.
Originally published in 1935, Frederick Niven’s The Flying Years tells the history of Western Canada from the 1850s to the 1920s as witnessed by Angus Munro, a young Scot forced to emigrate to Canada when his family is evicted from their farm. Working in the isolated setting of Rocky Mountain House, Angus secretly marries a Cree woman, who dies in a measles epidemic while he is on an extended business trip. The discovery, fourteen years later, that his wife had given birth to a boy who was adopted by another Cree family and raised to be “all Indian” confirms Angus’s sympathies toward Aboriginal peoples, and he eventually becomes the Indian Agent on the reserve where his secret son lives. Angus’s ongoing negotiation of both the literal and symbolic roles of “White Father” takes place within the context of questions about race and nation, assimilation and difference, and the future of the Canadian West. Against a background of resource exploitation and western development, the novel queries the place of Aboriginal peoples in this new nation and suggests that progress brings with it a cost.
Alison Calder’s afterword examines the novel’s depiction of the paternalistic relationship between the Canadian government and Aboriginal peoples in Western Canada, and situates the novel in terms of contemporary discussions about race and biology.
These books can be purchased either in print or in epub format directly from the publisher or from your favourite bookseller.
I’m pleased to announce the publication of Gilbert Parker’s The Seats of the Mighty, the fourth volume in the Early Canadian Literature series published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. The edition contains the complete text of the original 1896 edition, Parker’s introduction to the “Imperial Edition” of the novel, published in 1913, and a new afterword by Andrea Cabajsky, who is also part of the series’ advisory board. The book can be purchased either in print or in epub format directly from the publisher or from your favourite bookseller.
From the pen of Gilbert Parker comes one of the most popular Canadian novels of the late nineteenth century. First published simultaneously in Canada and the United States in 1896, The Seats of the Mighty is set in Quebec City in 1759, against the backdrop of the conflict between the English and the French over the future of New France. Written and published after Parker’s move to England, the novel attempts to romanticize French Canada without alienating his English and American readership. The novel’s enduring popularity led to a stage version in 1897 and a silent film in 1914.
The next two volumes in the series, S. Frances Harrison’s The Forest of Bourg-Marie and Frederick Niven’s The Flying Years, are scheduled to be published in June 2015.
My friend Melanie Fishbane, upon receiving her copy of The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 3: A Legacy in Review last week, took a couple of photos of the three volumes on her shelf, edited them through some sort of Photoshop/Instagram rinse, and then posted them on Facebook. The arrangement looked so neat that I asked her permission to repost it, which she graciously gave. Thanks, Mel!
I will be speaking at an event called The Canadian Home Front: L.M. Montgomery’s Reflections on War at the North York Central Library concourse next Tuesday evening, 27 January 2015. I’ll be talking about the responses Montgomery’s books published or set during the First World War received by reviewers (an aspect of Montgomery’s career that is covered in The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 3: A Legacy in Review) alongside Laura M. Robinson and Melanie J. Fishbane. Here is a poster with all the details. Hope to see you there!
I’m pleased to report that I received my first author’s copy, a few days ago, of my seventh book, The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 3: A Legacy in Review, published by University of Toronto Press. The book contains the full text of 370 reviews, from periodicals in eight countries, of Montgomery’s twenty-four books published throughout her lifetime, as well a comprehensive discussion of how these reviews fit within the larger context of the ways her books were marketed to readers during the first half of the twentieth century, as well as a comprehensive account of the reception of twenty-four additional Montgomery books published posthumously between 1960 and 2013. Since late November, I’ve been posting snippets of these reviews, as well as scans of ads that don’t appear in the book, on the L.M. Montgomery Online website.
I’m so happy with how this final volume, like the two that preceded it, turned out, and although it’s rather bittersweet for such a big project to come to an end finally after several years of work, it also gives me a chance to ponder what it is I’d like to work on next.
The book can be ordered directly from the publisher as either a jacketed hardcover or as an ebook, and it should start to be available through bookstores in the coming weeks.
Updating my web page for that volume also prompted me to update the pages for all my previous books: The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print and Volume 2: A Critical Heritage; the collections of essays Textual Transformations in Children’s Literature (which recently came out in paperback) and Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables; the restored and annotated edition of L.M. Montgomery’s Great War novel, Rilla of Ingleside; and the edition of Montgomery’s long-lost final novel, The Blythes Are Quoted.
I recently did a short email interview with Open Book Toronto, in which I discuss some of my editorial process for the Early Canadian Literature series published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
I’m pleased to announce the publication of the second and third volumes of the Early Canadian Literature series published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press: an edition of Nellie L. McClung’s 1925 novel Painted Fires, with an afterword by Cecily Devereux, and an edition of George Copway’s 1850 book The Traditional History and Characteristic Sketches of the Ojibway Nation, with an afterword by Shelley Hulan. Both can be purchased either in print or in epub format directly from the publisher or from your favourite bookseller.
Painted Fires, first published in 1925, narrates the trials and tribulations of Helmi Milander, a Finnish immigrant, during the years approaching the First World War. The novel serves as a vehicle for McClung’s social activism, especially in terms of temperance, woman suffrage, and immigration policies that favour cultural assimilation. In her afterword, Cecily Devereux situates Painted Fires in the context of McClung’s feminist fiction and her interest in contemporary questions of immigration and “naturalization.” She also considers how McClung’s representation of Helmi Milander’s story draws on popular culture narratives.
The Traditional History and Characteristic Sketches of the Ojibway Nation (1850) was one of the first books of Indigenous history written by an Indigenous author. The book blends nature writing and narrative to describe the language, religious beliefs, stories, land, work, and play of the Ojibway people. Shelley Hulan’s afterword considers Copway’s rhetorical strategies in framing a narrative as a form of “history, interrupted” for a non-Indigenous readership.
I’m pleased to be back on Prince Edward Island for L.M. Montgomery and War, the 11th biennial conference hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute and held at the University of Prince Edward Island (an event that I am co-chairing). I’m also pleased because I have finally launched L.M. Montgomery Online, the new-and-improved version of the L.M. Montgomery Research Group website that I started in 2007! I’ve been travelling to the Island for these conferences since 1996, so in a way it feels a lot like coming home. Especially when there’s always an old friend (albeit a two-dimensional one) there to greet you at the airport!
A profile of me by Sally Cole appeared in yesterday’s Charlottetown Guardian, in which I discuss my longstanding interest in L.M. Montgomery’s work generally and the first two volumes of The L.M. Montgomery Reader in particular. It also includes this photograph of me taken in front of part of my Montgomery collection in my home office. (When I look up from my laptop, this is what I see in front of me.)
UPDATE: Apparently the Guardian has also called me “Montgomery guy.” That’s fine, of course, although I personally prefer “Man of Green Gables.”
I was so pleased to receive yesterday my first author’s copy of The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 2: A Critical Heritage, from University of Toronto Press. It should be available for purchase in the days or weeks to come, and it can also be ordered at a discount directly from the publisher.
For those of you who are going to Congress, there will be a launch for the book next Tuesday, 27 May 2014, from 2:00 to 3:00 PM at Brock University’s Congress Centre—Expo Event Space. Hope to see you there!