By any standard, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables is a stunning success. The novel about a plucky redhead from Prince Edward Island has been in print for one hundred years, sold more than 50 million copies, been translated into more than 17 languages (including Braille), and become the focus of international academic attention. But why Anne? How did this little book create such enduring interest? The answer, though more intriguing than even Anne could have imagined, is strangely elusive. In her journal, Maud’s quick pen would froth up the tiniest details of her life into dramatic events, but that same pen revealed barely a word about its most famous creation?at least not until many years later. As a result, the novel’s secrets have remained sealed for over a century. Looking for Anne: How Lucy Maud Montgomery Dreamed Up a Literary Classic is the untold story of both Anne and her creator. Irene Gammel delves into the life of a writer who found inspiration everywhere she looked?from fashion magazines and American mass market periodicals to the quiet laneways and babbling brooks of her own community. In her early writing, Maud consciously imitated the formula fiction of the day to create marketable stories for juvenile periodicals, religious newspapers, and glamorous women’s magazines. But unlike so many writers of her era, Maud was willing to push beyond these boundaries. Ultimately, in the storm that brewed up the novel, she transcended these influences to create a twentieth-century literary classic that would conquer the world. In this revised edition?available for the first time in paperback?Gammel includes an epilogue dealing specifically with the rumours surrounding the nature of Montgomery’s death. Did she, in fact, commit suicide, and if so, why? Blending biography with cultural history, penetrating and uncensored, Looking for Anne captures both the spirit of Marilla’s critical probing for “bald facts” and Anne’s belief in the infinite power of the imagination. It is a must-read for anyone who has ever fallen under the spell of Anne with an “e.”
IRENE GAMMEL is the author and editor of eight books including Baroness Elsa-A Cultural Biography (voted one of the top 25 books of 2002 by New York’s Village Voice) and several scholarly books of essays, including Making Avonlea (PEI Heritage Award) and The Intimate Life of L. M. Montgomery. She is the co-curator of the exhibit Anne of Green Gables: A Canadian Icon at 100 in venues in Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Prince Edward Island. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.