The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 2: A Critical Heritage


Edited by Benjamin Lefebvre
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. xii + 451 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-442-64492-2
Rights Sold: World

Preceded by Volume 1: A Life in Print and followed by Volume 3: A Legacy in Review

Publishing History

Jacketed hardcover, May 2014
Ebook edition, August 2014


Following on the heels of the first volume of The L.M. Montgomery Reader, this second volume narrates the development of L.M. Montgomery’s (1874–1942) critical reputation in the seventy years since her death. Edited by leading Montgomery scholar Benjamin Lefebvre, it traces milestones and turning points such as adaptations for stage and screen, posthumous publications, and the development of Montgomery Studies as a scholarly field. Lefebvre’s introduction also considers Montgomery’s publishing history in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom at a time when her work remained in print not because it was considered part of a university canon of literature, but simply due to the continued interest of readers.

The twenty samples of Montgomery scholarship included in this volume broach topics such as gender and genre, narrative strategies in fiction and life writing, translation, and Montgomery’s archival papers. They reflect shifts in Montgomery’s critical reputation decade by decade: the 1960s, when a milestone chapter on Montgomery coincided with a second wave of texts seeking to create a canon of Canadian literature; the 1970s, in the midst of a sustained reassessment of popular fiction and of literature by women; the 1980s, when the publication of Montgomery’s life writing, which coincided with the broadcast of critically acclaimed television productions adapted from her fiction, radically altered how readers perceived her and her work; the 1990s, when a conference series on Montgomery began to generate a sustained amount of scholarship; and the opening years of the twenty-first century, when the field of Montgomery Studies became both international and interdisciplinary.

This is the first book to consider the posthumous life of one of Canada’s most enduringly popular authors.

Benjamin Lefebvre, PhD, lives in Waterloo, Ontario and is director of L.M. Montgomery Online. His previous publications include an edition of L.M. Montgomery’s rediscovered final book, The Blythes Are Quoted.


Acknowledgments (ix)

Abbreviations (xi–xii)

Introduction: A Critical Heritage / Benjamin Lefebvre (3–49)

A Note on the Text (50)

1. Lucy Maud Montgomery 1874–1942 (1966) / Elizabeth Waterston (51–74)

2. The Fair World of L.M. Montgomery (1973) / Helen Porter (75–82)

3. Anne of Green Gables and the Regional Idyll (1983) / T.D. MacLulich (83–96)

4. Little Orphan Mary: Anne’s Hoydenish Double (1989) / Rosamond Bailey (97–108)

5. Subverting the Trite: L.M. Montgomery’s “Room of Her Own” (1992) / Mary Rubio (109–48)

6. Women’s Oral Narrative Traditions as Depicted in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Fiction, 1918–1939 (1993) / Diane Tye (149–62)

7. L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside: Intention, Inclusion, Implosion (1994) / Owen Dudley Edwards (163–77)

8. Decoding L.M. Montgomery’s Journals / Encoding a Critical Practice for Women’s Private Literature (1994) / Helen Buss (178–97)

9. “Fitted to Earn Her Own Living”: Figures of the New Woman in the Writing of L.M. Montgomery (1995) / Carole Gerson (198–211)

10. “Pruned Down and Branched Out”: Embracing Contradiction in Anne of Green Gables (1995) / Laura M. Robinson (212–22)

11. Finding L.M. Montgomery’s Short Stories (1994) / Rea Wilmshurst (223–27)

12. L.M. Montgomery’s Manuscript Revisions (1995) / Elizabeth Epperly (228–35)

13. “My Secret Garden”: Dis/Pleasure in L.M. Montgomery and F.P. Grove (1999) / Irene Gammel (236–58)

14. Writing with a “Definite Purpose”: L.M. Montgomery, Nellie L. McClung and the Politics of Imperial Motherhood in Fiction for Children (2000) / Cecily Devereux (259–76)

15. Kinship and Nation in Amelia and Anne of Green Gables (1908) (2002) / Monique Dull (277–90)

16. The Maud Squad (2002) / Cynthia Brouse (291–304)

17. “The Golden Road of Youth”: L.M. Montgomery and British Children’s Books (2004) / Jennifer H. Litster (305–24)

18. Women at War: L.M. Montgomery, the Great War, and Canadian Cultural Memory (2008) / Andrea McKenzie (325–49)

19. Anne of Green Gables / Akage no An: The Flowers of Quiet Happiness (2008) / Emily Aoife Somers (350–70)

20. Archival Adventures with L.M. Montgomery; or, “As Long as the Leaves Hold Together” (2012) / Vanessa Brown and Benjamin Lefebvre (371–86)

Sources (387–89)

Bibliography (391–436)

Index (437–51)


“Benjamin Lefebvre is a key figure in the field of ‘Montgomery studies,’ with a keen eye to the ‘pop-cult’ aspects of Montgomery’s reputation and readership. His encyclopaedic knowledge of Montgomery and her works is evident in the knowledgeable and readable introduction, the annotations, and the useful headnotes that contextualize each selection.”
—Heather Murray, Department of English, University of Toronto

The L.M. Montgomery Reader, volume 2, presents a generous selection of material, judiciously chosen and clearly organized. The essays included cover an excellent range of primary texts, critical approaches, and eras.”
—Faye Hammill, Professor of English, University of Strathclyde


“Both scholars and devoted readers of this complex Canadian author will find it fascinating.”
—Barbara L. Talcroft, Children’s Literature LLC

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