Ryerson University

L. M. Montgomery and Canadian Culture

Edited by Irene Gammel and Elizabeth Epperly
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.

Prince Edward Island Heritage Award, 1999

Despite the enormous popularity of her books, particularly Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery's role in the development of Canada's national culture is not often discussed by literary historians. This is curious as some of Canada's leading writers, including Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and Jane Urquhart, have acknowledged their indebtedness to Montgomery's fiction.

That scholars have not mined the 'Canadianness' of Montgomery's writing is redressed by this collection. It is the first systematic effort to investigate and explore Montgomery's active engagement with Canadian nationalism and identity, including regionalism, canon formation, and Canadian-American cultural relations. It examines her work in relation to the many dramatic changes of her day, such as the women's movement and the advent of new technologies; and it looks at the national and international consumption of Anne of Green Gables, in the form of both 'high' culture and cultural tourism.

The wide range of contributors represent views from across disciplines and boundaries, including feminist, biographical, psychoanalytical, historical, and cultural approaches. The scholarly reflections are punctuated to great effect by creative pieces, personal reflections, and interviews.

This ground-breaking collection will appeal to all fans of Montgomery's work and to students of Canadian letters. It places Montgomery and her work squarely in the mainstream of Canadian literary history, affirming her importance to our country's cultural development.

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Praise and Reviews

This is not a collection of essays which simply revisits the past decade of Montgomery study, but which really does take it in new directions within Canadian cultural studies.
— Cecily Devereux, Canadian Literature, 2001

An impressive feature of this collection is the high standard of editorial work evident not merely in the range and organization of the essays, but also in the efforts that have been made to encourage authors to engage explicitly with each other's materials.
— Danielle Fuller, Ariel: A Review of International English 31.3, 2000

Whether she is interpreted as subversive or conservative, this collection leaves no doubt that Montgomery does indeed have a significant place in Canadian culture – whether high, low, or ‘pop' .... It seems fitting, too, that the compilation of literary criticism, personal ‘reflection pieces' and journalism should make a readable collection, likely to be as enjoyable for Montgomery's educated popular audience as it is for her scholarly critics.
— Deirdre Baker, Humanities, 1999

L. M. Montgomery and Canadian Culture departs from much existing Montgomery criticism by replacing the emphasis on her gender with an emphasis on her nationality. A further strength is its acknowledgements and exploration of inconsistencies, shifts and ideological tensions in Montgomery's writing.
— Faye Hammill, Canadian Children's Literature 26.1, 2000

Anne of Green Gables creator is abundantly interpreted in a collection of essays by academics and others
— Val Ross,Globe and Mail, August 7, 1999

In setting out to prove that a popular writer like Montgomery should be taken seriously as a focal point of Canadian literary history, Gammel and Epperly are singularly successful. The essays are intriguing, informative, and clearly structured, as interesting to the layman as to the scholar.
— Nancy Schiefer, London Free Press, October 23, 1999

This book of essays by writers from Canada and across the globe moves to new ground by affirming Montgomery's importance to Canada's cultural development.
— Patricia Morley

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