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Two New Publications

Last week I received copies of two new publications. The first is a new edition of L.M. Montgomery’s novel A Tangled Web (1931), published by Dundurn Press, for which I wrote a new introduction. The second is an article titled “Agency, Belonging, Citizenship: The ABCs of Nation-Building in Contemporary Canadian Texts for Adolescents,” published in the Autumn 2008 issue of Canadian Literature. It is an expansion of a paper I first gave at the International Symposium on Adolescent Literature at Ningbo University (China) in May 2007. Here is the abstract:

Abstract: This paper pinpoints the ways in which discourses of agency, belonging, and citizenship are staged in a handful of Canadian texts for adolescents published in the last twenty-five years: Beatrice Culleton’s April Raintree (1984), Marlene Nourbese Philip’s Harriet’s Daughter (1988), Deborah Ellis’s Parvana’s Journey (2002), Glen Huser’s Stitches (2003), and Martine Leavitt’s Heck Superhero (2004). These novels depict young people who are marginalized due to oppressive discourses such as racism, patriarchy, homophobia, poverty, and the dissolution of the nuclear family, and thus lack the support systems of the status quo. At the same time, they appear to broach larger questions about the construction of the Canadian nation alongside the story of a central protagonist’s growth from relative immaturity to relative maturity. Undercutting the dominant fantasy of a liberal and diverse nation-state, these narratives refuse to resolve or settle oppressive discourses that conflict with official policies of multiculturalism, keeping the ideal nation in sight but out of reach.

Public Lecture at Ryerson University

As part of the Metropolis Lecture Series hosted by the Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre at Ryerson University, I will be giving a public lecture entitled “Divided City, Divided Self: Reading Montreal,” which will examine the depictions of Montreal in Hugh MacLennan’s Two Solitudes and Gabrielle Roy’s The Tin Flute, two popular novels that were published immediately before the Citizenship Act of 1946. The lecture will occur on Monday, 30 March 2009 from 4:30 to 5:30 at 111 Gerrard St. (Third floor) in Toronto. All are welcome to attend.

Takes on Maud

I’ll be participating at the following event at the Bookshelf Cinema in Guelph, this Thursday, 23 October, at 7:00 PM, as part of a conference on L.M. Montgomery happening this weekend at the University of Guelph:

“Takes on Maud,” a screening of two short films — I Know a Secret by Lucy Maud Montgomery and Boys and Girls by Alice Munro, produced by Atlantis Films runs at the Bookshelf Cinema. It will be followed by a panel discussion and reception in the E-Bar. Panellists are Michael MacMillan, executive chair of Alliance Atlantis; University professor emerita Elizabeth Waterston; Prof. Paul Salmon, English and Theatre Studies; and film historian Benjamin Lefebvre of the University of Alberta.

Globe and Mail: “The Heartbreaking Truth”

An article titled “The Heartbreaking Truth about Anne’s Creator,” written by Kate Macdonald Butler (Montgomery’s granddaughter), appears in today’s Globe and Mail (pp. F1, F6):

Despite her great success, it is known that she suffered from depression, that she was isolated, sad and filled with worry and dread for much of her life. But our family has never spoken publicly about the extent of her illness.

What has never been revealed is that L.M. Montgomery took her own life at the age of 67 through a drug overdose.

CFP: Anne of Green Gables: New Directions

Edited by Irene Gammel and Benjamin Lefebvre

Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Call for Papers

Since its first publication in 1908, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables has been a remarkable success with a worldwide following of readers and an energetic scholarly engagement over the past two decades. As the novel enters the second centennial of its publication, the University of Toronto Press is interested in publishing a collection of scholarly essays dedicated to the topic Anne of Green Gables: New Directions. The editors are interested in papers related to any aspect of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne, including its inspirations, its sequels, and its cultural impact. Innovative approaches including interdisciplinary perspectives that make us see Anne and the world of Avonlea in new ways are particularly encouraged. Papers should engage with relevant scholarship, and should be written in lively and accessible prose. Illustrations and formerly unpublished material are particularly welcomed. Twenty-five-page papers including all endnotes and bibliography should be accompanied by a bio-sketch and abstract. All essays are subject to blind peer review.

Please submit your paper electronically to the editors:

Dr. Irene Gammel
Department of English
Ryerson University
E: gammel@ryerson.ca

Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre
Department of English and Film Studies
University of Alberta
E: ben@roomofbensown.net

Irene Gammel is the author of Looking for Anne: How L.M. Montgomery Dreamed Up a Literary Classic (Key Porter and St. Martin’s Press, 2008), and most recently the editor of The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery (University of Toronto Press, 2005), and Making Avonlea (University of Toronto Press, 2002).

Benjamin Lefebvre is director of the L.M. Montgomery Research Group and editor of “Reassessments of L.M. Montgomery” (2004), a double issue of Canadian Children’s Literature / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse.

Deadline: August 15, 2008. Early submissions are encouraged.

Back from Congress

I returned late last night from Congress in Vancouver, where I had a great time. Waiting for me was the latest issue of Children’s Literature, where I discovered a listing of my doctoral dissertation in their “Dissertations of Note” column! This was a pleasant surprise, given that the column tends to focus primarily on dissertations from American universities. The column—and the whole issue for that matter—is available through ProjectMuse to subscribing libraries.

I also received an e-mail today from the L.M. Montgomery Research Centre at the University of Guelph (not to be confused with the L.M. Montgomery Research Group that I run) that a tentative program has been posted for their forthcoming conference on Montgomery and the archival collection there. I will be participating in a roundtable of people who will be discussing two short films from the early 1980s: Boys and Girls and I Know a Secret.

Radio Interview and Roundtable

I will be interviewed by Line Boily on her radio show Les arts et les autres on Monday, 2 June 2008, at 1:05 EST, on Radio-Canada 1 (French-language CBC). The topic is Anne of Green Gables and I will be commenting on its origins, its continued international popularity in the centenary year, and its success in adaptations such as movies, musicals, and tourist sites in Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Since I am presently in Vancouver attending Congress, I will be speaking to her from Studio C at CBC Vancouver.

Les arts et les autres is broadcast across Ontario; to find your local frequency, click here. You can also listen to it live through the Radio-Canada website. On the homepage for Ontario, click on “Écoutez en direct—Première chaine” and choose your nearest location.

Also, today I am participating at a one-day symposium on Anne of Green Gables at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia. In addition to co-chairing an ACCUTE panel on “Anne of Green Gables: New Directions at 100,” I will be one of seven participants in a roundtable called “Anne of Green Gables: A Literary Icon at 100: Canadian Scholars and Critics Reflect on Anne of Green Gables in the Centenary Year,” chaired by Irene Gammel:

This round table of leading Canadian critics and scholars takes stock of Canada’s most famous literary icon, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, at its centenary anniversary. What is behind the popularity of the novel? What is its global value and status? What is its future in Canada and the world? We also invite the public to submit questions to our panel of experts via email: Anne100@mlc.ryerson.ca.

My five-minute paper is titled “Confessions of a Male Montgomery Scholar” and will include a discussion of my Green Gables toenail clippers. I am also presenting a paper as part of the ACCUTE conference on the fiction of Joy Kogawa.

Je serai l’invité de Line Boily à l’émission de radio Les arts et les autres ce lundi, 2 juin 2008, à 13h05 (heure normale de l’est), à Radio-Canada (première chaine). L’entrevue porte sur le roman Anne… La Maison aux pignons verts : ses origines, sa popularité internationale continue pendant l’année de son centième anniversaire, et son succès dans les médias connexes, telles que le petit écran, la comédie musicale, et le site touristique en Ontario et à l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard. Étant donné que je suis présentement à Vancouver pour assister au Congrès des sciences humaines, je lui parlerai du Studio C à Radio-Canada Vancouver.

L’émission est diffusée à travers l’Ontario; vous trouverez votre fréquence locale ici. Vous pouvez également écouter à l’émission au site web de Radio-Canada. Une fois rendus à la page pour l’Ontario, choisissez la rubrique « Écoutez en direct » ainsi que votre région.