The first edition of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery was published in the 1980s, with fifty percent of the material removed to save space, as well as to reflect a quaint, marketable vision of small-town Canada. The editors were instructed to excise anything that was not upbeat or did not "move the story along." The resulting account of Montgomery's youthful life in Prince Edward Island depicts a fun-loving, simple country girl. The unabridged journal, however, reveals something quite different.
We now know that Montgomery was anything but simple. She was often anxious, bitter, dark, and political, although always able to see herself and her surroundings with a deep ironic - and often comical - twist. The unabridged version shows her using writing as a means of managing her own mood swings, as well as her increasing dependency on journal keeping, and her ambition as a writer. She was also exceedingly interested in men. We see here a more developed portrait of what she herself described as a "very uncomfortable blend" between "the passionate Montgomery blood and the Puritan Macneill conscience." Full details describe the impassioned events during which she describes becoming a "new creature," "born of sorrow ... and hopeless longing."
In addition, this unedited account is a striking visual record, containing 226 of her own photographs placed as she placed them in her journals, as well as newspaper clippings, postcards, and professional portraits, all with her own original captions. New notes and a new introduction give key context to the history, the people, and the culture in the text. A new preface by Michael Bliss draws some unexpected connections.
Available for the first time in paperback, the full PEI journals tells a fascinating tale of a young woman coming of age in a bygone rural Canada, a tale far thornier and far more compelling than the first selected edition could disclose.
About the authors
Mary Henley Rubio is professor emerita at the University of Guelph. Her biography Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (Doubleday, 2008) was nominated for British Columbia's National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and has successfully sold across the world. Rubio's other publications include co-editing with Elizabeth Hillman Waterston five volumes of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery (Oxford University Press, 1985-2005).
Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, FRCS, O.Ont., is professor emerita at the University of Guelph. Her critical work, Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery (Oxford, 2008), considers all of Montgomery's novels in the context of a richly textured imaginative landscape. Other books by Waterston include Rapt in Plaid: Canadian Literature and the Scottish Tradition (University of Toronto Press, 2003) and Children's Literature in Canada (Simon and Schuster, 1992), as well as two recent novels: Passion Spent (Lulu, 2007) and At the Corner of Hope (Borealis, 2008).