The L.M. Montgomery Reader assembles significant rediscovered primary material on one of Canada’s most enduringly popular authors throughout her high-profile career and after her death. Each of its three volumes gathers pieces published all over the world to set the stage for a much-needed reassessment of Montgomery’s literary reputation. Much of the material is freshly unearthed from archives and digital collections and has never before been published in book form.
The selections appearing in this first volume focus on Montgomery’s role as a public celebrity and author of the resoundingly successful Anne of Green Gables (1908). They give a strong impression of her as a writer and cultural critic as she discusses a range of topics with wit, wisdom, and humour, including the natural landscape of Prince Edward Island, her wide readership, anxieties about modernity, and the continued relevance of “old ideals.” These essays and interviews, joined by a number of additional pieces that discuss her work’s literary and cultural value in relation to an emerging canon of Canadian literature, make up nearly one hundred selections in all.
Each volume is accompanied by an extensive introduction and detailed commentary by leading Montgomery scholar Benjamin Lefebvre that trace the interplay between the author and the critic, as well as between the private and the public Montgomery. This volume – and the Reader as a whole – adds tremendously to our understanding and appreciation of Montgomery’s legacy as a Canadian author and as a literary celebrity both during and beyond her lifetime.
“Lefebvre has uncovered a cache of new, important material in an already impressive and crowded field of Montgomery scholarship. His sensitive editing of the material brings the public side of Montgomery into better focus as she fields endless questions about how she became a writer, how Anne came to be and whether or not she was a real girl and what the author thought of young women in her day. [This book will] deepen our knowledge and understanding of this beloved Canadian icon.”
‘Lefebvre’s archival research is thorough and often brilliant, making the Reader an invaluable trove not only for Montgomery scholars but also for those working with the reception history of Canadian writers.’
“While Lefebvre’s The L.M. Montgomery Reader is a vital resource of primary sources from and secondary assessments of one of Canada’s most popular twentieth-century authors, it is his insightful and knowledgeable analysis that shapes and gives meaning to the collection. The depth of his knowledge results in a work that is as comprehensible as it is comprehensive.”
“This comprehensive volume (with its two companions) forms a treasure trove of previously unavailable material; it will be of interest to scholars of Canadian and world literature and possibly to true admirers of Anne of Green Gables and its author.”
“With this volume, Lefebvre broadens our understanding of Montgomery’s reception and reputation both within Canada and internationally, unearthing previously obscure content and commentary and making it accessible to a far wider audience. This reader will thus prove a valuable resource to both existing and future scholars of Montgomery’s work and life, as well as those fans keen for a little more insight into the ever-elusive figure of L.M. Montgomery.”