Published today are the paperback version of my edition of L.M. Montgomery’s rediscovered final book, The Blythes Are Quoted, and a restored and annotated edition of Montgomery’s First World War novel, Rilla of Ingleside, edited in collaboration with Andrea McKenzie. Both are now available in bookstores across Canada and will soon appear at local libraries. They can also be shipped worldwide if ordered from Amazon.ca or from Penguin Canada.
Included in our edition of Rilla of Ingleside is a bonus section entitled “Canadian Women’s Poetry of the First World War,” which contains the full text of two rarely seen poems that, like the novel, focus on the women at home who watched husbands, sons, brothers, friends, and neighbours go off to fight overseas. L.M. Montgomery’s poem “Our Women” was first published in the collection of poems Canadian Poems of the Great War (1918). Also included in this anthology is a poem called “The Young Knights” by Montgomery’s Ontario contemporary, Virna Sheard, whose work is virtually unknown today. Montgomery selected the first stanza of Sheard’s poem as her epigraph to Rilla of Ingleside.
I have just received four copies of the fall 2010 issue of Journal of Canadian Studies / Revue d’études canadiennes, which includes my article “In Search of Someday: Trauma and Repetition in Joy Kogawa’s Fiction.”
This essay brings to the forefront the work by Joy Kogawa that preceded and followed her watershed novel Obasan (1981), which privileges the perspective of a traumatized child to narrate the internment of Japanese Canadians during and after the Second World War. The objective of the essay is to address an overlooked pattern of repetition and revision that can be traced across these multiple texts – a sequel, Itsuka / Emily Kato; a revision for children, Naomi’s Road; and a thematic follow-up, The Rain Ascends – all of which were revisited by Kogawa after their initial publication. Drawing on pivotal work on trauma and memory, the essay considers to what extent Kogawa’s larger story of oppression, dispersal, and forgetting is unconcludable.
Although the paperback edition of The Blythes Are Quoted and the new edition of Rilla of Ingleside aren’t technically scheduled for publication until 26 October, copies are already available through Amazon.ca! I’m also told by my local independent bookstore, Words Worth Books, that copies will be available there by Friday, at which point I’ll stop in to sign them. I expect that copies will trickle into various bookstores across the country between now and next Tuesday, so keep your eyes peeled!
I’ll be giving a paper at next weekend’s Conference on Editorial Problems at the University of Toronto. This year’s conference is hosted by the Editing Modernism in Canada (EMiC) project. My paper, “Editing L.M. Montgomery across the Scholarly/Trade Divide,” discusses the challenges and dilemmas involved in putting together editions of Montgomery’s work that follow scholarly editorial principles while remaining accessible to her wide range of readers.
When putting together The Blythes Are Quoted near the end of her life, L.M. Montgomery repeated the strategy she had used when putting together Chronicles of Avonlea three decades earlier: she rewrote existing stories about unrelated characters and locations in order to include mentions of and brief appearances by Anne. In looking for material that could be reworked for Anne and her family, Montgomery selected not only some of her short stories published throughout the 1930s, but also a few that she was not able to publish.
Three of the short stories were published in Family Herald and Weekly Star, a Montreal farm magazine, and the first short story in the book is also the earliest. “Some Fools and a Saint” was published in its original form in Family Herald and Weekly Star in four installments in May and June 1931; this version was also reprinted in the collection of short stories Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side. The original version of “Fool’s Errand” followed in February 1933, and the original version of “An Afternoon with Mr. Jenkins” appeared in August 1933. Note that these stories in their original form had nothing to do with Anne, the Blythes, or the community of Glen St. Mary.
Three more stories were published elsewhere throughout the 1930s. Several more appear in Montgomery’s records of her income as a writer, indicating that they were in fact published in the original form, but we haven’t yet been able to determine where. Three of the short stories, though, don’t appear on Montgomery’s ledger: “The Pot and the Kettle,” “The Reconciliation,” and “Retribution.” Was their inclusion in The Blythes Are Quoted an attempt by Montgomery to salvage work that was deemed too controversial for magazine publication?