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Announcement: A New, Restored Edition of Rilla of Ingleside

I’m pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of a new, restored edition of L.M. Montgomery’s First World War novel, Rilla of Ingleside, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre and Andrea McKenzie, which will be published on 26 October 2010 by Viking Canada.

First published in 1921, Rilla of Ingleside—originally written as the final sequel to Anne of Green Gables—is one of the only contemporary depictions in Canadian fiction of women on the home front during the First World War. Focusing on Rilla Blythe, the pretty and high-spirited youngest daughter of Anne Shirley, the novel paints a vivid and compelling picture of the women who battled to keep the home fires burning throughout those tumultuous years. Using her own wartime experience and imagination, Montgomery recreates the laughter and grief, poignancy and suspense, struggles and courage of Canadian women at war.

This special gift edition includes Montgomery’s complete, restored, and unabridged original text as well as a thoughtful introduction from the editors, a detailed glossary, maps of Europe during the war, and war poems by L.M. Montgomery and her contemporary Virna Sheard.

Read more….

The publication of this edition of Rilla of Ingleside will coincide with the release in paperback of The Blythes Are Quoted by Penguin Canada.

Catalogue copy for Annan jäähyväiset

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, The Blythes Are Quoted will be published in Finnish by WSOY as Annan jäähyväiset (literally, Anne’s Farewell). My colleague Vappu Kannas generously mailed me a copy of the publisher’s catalogue as well as her own translation of the catalogue copy, which I’m reproducing here with her permission:

The surprising final book of the classic Anne series now for the first time translated into Finnish.

Adultery, illegality, revenge or death are not themes traditionally connected with the work of L.M. Montgomery – the creator of the classic and romantic girls’ books. However, darker shades colour the would-have-been ninth part of the beloved Anne series which was delivered to the publisher on the day of the author’s death.

The book takes a peek at the family life of the Blythes before and after World War I both from the point of view of Anne and Gilbert and the whole P.E.I. community. An important part of the book are also the poems written by Anne and her son Walter who is going to war. The poems inspire vivid conversation in the Ingleside parlour. Anne’s Farewell includes 15 short stories and 41 poems and it was first published in Canada in its entirety in 2009.

From 1920 onwards new generations of readers have become acquainted with Anne’s innocent world full of tricks and sunshine. For all of them, Anne’s Farewell offers another perspective from which to examine Montgomery’s previous work.

Fun! Can’t wait to see some cover art.

Review of The Blythes Are Quoted in Swedish publication

Margareta Sörenson’s review of The Blythes Are Quoted appears in Kultur, a Swedish magazine. Google’s translation allows us to get the gist of it, although I suspect some nuances are missing:

Now it has been too long and owls in my wardrobe. And there is an explanation. The Blythe are quoted – the rediscovered work load of LM Montgomery, 500 pages heavy, is a book receives. Man throws himself not happy over yet another story about some aging contained a juvenile love and finally tie hymens bands. Although Benjamin Lefebvre made an honest research with old leaf manuscript is honorable and an afterword.

But as Anne of Green Gables author has written many interesting, and when I heard about the last book she wrote would actually come out in the original version, I bought it, unsuspecting.

The nine books about Anne was not written in chronological order, but it was on request from publishers suite was filled in later. Anne of Singles Side, for example, in the middle of the line, was first written in 1939, 31 years after the first book. The day before his death in 1942, which is now open suspect was a suicide, Lucy Maud Montgomery left the manuscript to The Blythe are quoted for a publisher, who also gave it out, but in abbreviated and stripped version.

No wonder there. Never again will I sigh and complain to the processed versions. Here are interspersed namely idylliserande stories from Prince Edward Island on Canada’s east coast south of sentimental poems signed Anne Blythe, namely the novel character who married Anne. Some of the poems are fiction written by Walther Blythe, one of Anne and Gilbert’s sons, who died in WWI.

The stories follow a pattern of stubborn people return to childhood places and old flirtations. Even for an Avonlea enthusiast quickly becomes an overdose and poetry sections of the short stories are even worse. The only redeeming with Blythe family is that there is a housekeeper named Susan Baker, a SAVAGE and earthy Linus-Ida with the salty comments.

With Montgomery’s unhappy life, which will fund The Blythe are quoted above all a sad reflection of her own dreams of the perfect marriage in an idyllic village in sentimental moonshine. A refreshing rereading of the first part of Anne of Green Gables might help.

Anne’s Farewell

The Finnish translation of The Blythes Are Quoted will be published by WSOY on 20 September 2010. As far as I can tell, the Finnish title, Annan jäähyväiset, literally means “Anne’s Farewell.” I will post cover art and more details about the translation once they’re confirmed.

Anne’s World Mentioned in the Winnipeg Free Press

The following appears in this morning’s Winnipeg Free Press, in Kenton Smith’s Paper Chase column:

University of Toronto Press has released a new collection of essays on one of Canada’s greatest literary icons.

Edited by academics Irene Gammel and Benjamin Lefebvre, Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables comes on the heels of the 100th anniversary of L.M. Montgomery’s famous first novel.

Topics discussed include the worldwide Anne industry, Anne in fashion, and the possibility that Anne suffered from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Press release: Lefebvre renewed as UPEI’s L.M. Montgomery Institute Visiting Scholar

The following press release appeared on 24 June 2010:

Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre, of Waterloo, Ontario and one of the world’s leading experts on Lucy Maud Montgomery, was reappointed as Visiting Scholar for the institute bearing the famed PEI writer’s name, the L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI).

Mark Leggott, Institute chair and University Librarian, announced the year-long appointment during his welcoming remarks at the 2010 L.M. Montgomery Conference taking place at UPEI, June 24–27.

“We are pleased to have Dr. Lefebvre return as our Visiting Scholar and accept this further term. His past year’s work with LMMI’s governing committee in facilitating and expanding scholarship about L.M. Montgomery and her contemporaries has been excellent. We look forward to seeing what exciting initiatives the next year will bring.”

Lefebvre will continue working with the Institute on projects that will benefit Montgomery’s international community of readers, including coediting a collection of essays with UPEI’s Dr. Jean Mitchell, a past Visiting Scholar. The collection will be based on papers presented at the 2010 conference, titled ‘L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature,’ which begins today.

“I am thrilled to be invited to return, as it gives me further opportunities to support the mandate of the LMMI and to be energized by the dedication of its committee members,” Lefebvre says.

He adds, “It is extremely rewarding to witness first-hand the community of Montgomery scholars and readers that have built up over time. I am so pleased with the high quality of work and the range of topics pursued at this conference by participants from all over the world.”

The conference features speakers and panellists from the United States, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Japan, China, Australia, Taiwan, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa and explores Montgomery’s writing and thoughts on nature through a number of presentations and papers.

The biannual event also provides a captive audience for the release of another one of Lefebvre’s projects, Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables. Edited by Lefebvre and Dr. Irene Gammel, this collection of original essays offers “fresh and timely approaches to issues of culture, identity, health, and globalization as they apply to Montgomery’s famous character, and to today’s readers.” Anne’s World was published by University of Toronto Press this month, June 2010.

Lefebvre has previously published internationally on Montgomery’s fiction and life-writing, and on film, television, and tourism adaptations of her work. His edition of Montgomery’s rediscovered final book, The Blythes Are Quoted, was published by Viking Canada in October 2009.

Lefebvre’s term as Visiting Scholar runs from July 2010 to June 2011. For more information on LMMI and the 2010 L.M. Montgomery Conference, visit

Anne’s World Now Available!

Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables, a new collection of essays edited by me and Irene Gammel and published by University of Toronto Press, is now available in paperback! The hardcover edition will be published later this summer.

The recent 100-year anniversary of the first publication of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables has inspired renewed interest in one of Canada’s most beloved fictional icons. The international appeal of the red-haired orphan has not diminished over the past century, and the cultural meaning of her story continues to grow and change. The original essays in Anne’s World offer fresh and timely approaches to issues of culture, identity, health, and globalization as they apply to Montgomery’s famous character and to today’s readers.