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Scholarly Book Chapters

“Editing in Canada: The Case of L.M. Montgomery.” Jointly with Irene Gammel. In Editing as Cultural Practice in Canada, edited by Dean Irvine and Smaro Kamboureli, 75–91. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2016. TransCanada.

Synopsis: This chapter explores editorial practices in a Canadian context, focusing on the role academic editors have played in the creation and consolidation of L.M. Montgomery studies as an academic field. Crucial to the development of this field has been the publication of a wide range of trade and critical editions of her fiction as well as volumes of scholarly essays, life writing, and rediscovered primary work. Reflecting the multiple needs of myriad groups and institutions across space and time, the editing of Montgomery’s work since her death has contributed enormously to Montgomery scholarship around the globe.

“Nationalism, Nostalgia, and Intergenerational Girlhood: Textual and Ideological Extensions to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House.” In Children and Cultural Memory in Texts of Childhood, edited by Heather Snell and Lorna Hutchison, 47–65. New York: Routledge, 2014. Children’s Literature and Culture. Paperback edition, 2021.

Synopsis: This chapter investigates a unique phenomenon in American children’s literature over the last twenty years: the textual and ideological expansion of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, in the form of abridgements, rediscovered writings, and additional sets of books depicting the childhood and adolescence of three of Wilder’s forebears and one of her descendants. Focusing on the continued depiction of patriarchy and heterosexual marriage as the narrative “solution” to a female character’s coming of age, the chapter is especially concerned with the continued attempt to sell a particular formulation of the American past for readers at the turn of the twenty-first century.

“Our Home on Native Land: Adapting and Readapting Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie.” In Textual Transformations in Children’s Literature: Adaptations, Translations, Reconsiderations, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, 175–96. New York: Routledge, 2013. Children’s Literature and Culture. Paperback edition, 2015.

Synopsis: Drawing on recent theories of translation as cultural survival and on new shifts in the field of adaptation studies, this chapter traces the complexities of adapting Laura Ingalls Wilder’s bestselling children’s book for television audiences of 1974 and 2005. While the adapted text’s major plot about a U.S. Anglo-American family settling in the “Indian Territory” of the post-Civil War period is retained, the book’s racist and patriarchal elements are reconsidered in explicit and subtle ways. This revisitation of these aspects of Wilder’s text is important not only as a commentary on the novel itself and the cultural story it tells, but in order to make this story relevant to later audiences.

“Archival Adventures with L.M. Montgomery; or, ‘As Long as the Leaves Hold Together.’” Jointly with Vanessa Brown. In Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace: Explorations in Canadian Women’s Archives, edited by Linda M. Morra and Jessica Schagerl, 233–48. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012. Life Writing. Paperback edition, 2018.

Synopsis: This chapter traces the approaches to the L.M. Montgomery archives by two researchers, one an antiquarian book cataloguer and appraiser, one an academic with a background in Canadian literature and cultural studies. While their professional backgrounds differ, both authors have been drawn, personally and professionally, to the mystery surrounding Montgomery’s death in 1942, and discovered that with each clue that is unearthed, the enormity of the overall puzzle points to the impossibility of conclusive answers.

Reprinted: In The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 2: A Critical Heritage, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, 371–86. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014.

“What’s in a Name? Towards a Theory of the Anne Brand.” In Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables, edited by Irene Gammel and Benjamin Lefebvre, 192–211. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010.

Synopsis: This chapter borrows from the work of past scholars who have examined the cultural industries that expand and export L.M. Montgomery’s work and name to geopolitical contexts all over the globe in order to focus on the brand power of “Anne Shirley.” Aspects of Montgomery’s legacy over which she had no control literally came to life in 1934, when actor Dawn Paris took the name Anne Shirley as her stage name as part of her attempt to reinvent herself as a Hollywood star. The critical and commercial success of the film version of Anne of Green Gables led to a sequence of early Hollywood film texts whose only relationship to Montgomery’s work is through the name and image of Anne Shirley. The inability of either Montgomery or Paris to exert control over the name or the identity anticipated the contested ownership of the Anne brand in the twenty-first century.

“‘That Abominable War!’: The Blythes Are Quoted and Thoughts on L.M. Montgomery’s Late Style.” In Storm and Dissonance: L.M. Montgomery and Conflict, edited by Jean Mitchell, 109–30. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.

Synopsis: This chapter examines L.M. Montgomery’s rediscovered final project, The Blythes Are Quoted, now part of an archival repository at the University of Guelph. It considers the ways in which Montgomery’s anxieties about war and the future are woven into her final cycle of stories, which she mixed together with forty-one of her poems once she was no longer able to write in the journal she was preserving for posthumous publication. Drawing on Edward Said’s notion of “late style,” a form of reconsideration that he suggests occurs near the end of all lives, the chapter considers the ways in which this final typescript provides evidence of Montgomery’s reevaluation of her medium and her message as the storms of the Second World War raged on.

“The Fitness of Things: Anne of Green Gables, Social Change, and L.M. Montgomery’s ‘Discerning Extraordinary Observer.’” In Diversity and Change in Early Canadian Women’s Writing, edited by Jennifer Chambers, 170–93. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.

Synopsis: This chapter recovers an optional reading strategy built into L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, an alternative to the reading of the novel as a narrative of acculturation for child readers (particularly girls). It emphasizes Anne’s potential as an agent of social change, one who disrupts normative values that surrounding adults adhere to as she evolves from a pre-socialized child to a conventional (and consequently much less interesting) young woman. Using Montgomery’s journals as an intertext, the chapter considers some of the reasons for the novel’s enduring popularity across diverse reading audiences, particularly given the double-edged resolution in which Anne renounces her ambitions for the sake of the domestic sphere while gaining more agency than Montgomery herself had during the period of the novel’s composition.

“‘A Small World After All’: L.M. Montgomery’s Imagined Avonlea as Virtual Landscape.” In The International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments, edited by Joel Weiss, Jason Nolan, Jeremy Hunsinger, and Peter Trifonas, 1121–40. Dordrecht, Neth.: Springer, 2006. Springer International Handbooks of Education 14.

Synopsis: Drawing on Jean Baudrillard’s concept of “simulacrum,” this chapter proposes that L.M. Montgomery’s imagined community of Avonlea, ostensibly based on her own experience in Prince Edward Island at the turn of the twentieth century, is in fact a selective representation of reality, one that avoids cultural and historical specificity in order to make this imagined space highly appealing to readers who had never even heard of Prince Edward Island. By examining her bestselling novel, Anne of Green Gables (1908), in the context of more recent adaptations and spin-off products, this chapter strives to ascertain how Montgomery’s fiction proved so universally malleable in the first place. While Montgomery’s creative choices are directly responsible for the books’ international relevance and popularity, this selective representation has a downfall when read as metonymically representing the nation.

Road to Avonlea: A Co-production of the Disney Corporation.” In Making Avonlea: L.M. Montgomery and Popular Culture, edited by Irene Gammel, 174–85. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002.

Synopsis: This chapter draws on American cultural theories to investigate the involvement of the Disney Corporation, an American conglomerate known for its subtle patterns of cultural domination, in the creation of the television series Road to Avonlea, both a “Canadian” popular culture phenomenon and an international televisual export. While this “family” series borrows from Disney’s patterns of innocence in its depiction of time and place, it nevertheless resists conforming to a narrow range of possibilities by focusing on alternative family structures, thus making the series both progressive and conservative simultaneously.