The house in the photo above is the one on which L.M. Montgomery modelled Green Gables, and I’m off to Prince Edward Island to have another look at it. Of course, there’s much more to PEI than its association with Montgomery and her creations. It’s the birthplace of at least one other literary giant: Milton Acorn, known throughout Canada as “the people’s poet.” Many talented contemporary Canadian writers make their home there, for example, J.J. Steinfeld. It’s even home to one of my favourite fictional poets, young Lawrence Campbell, narrator of Lynn Coady’s excellent novel Mean Boy. And outside the literary realm, there’s that whole cradle of Canadian confederation business.
However, Montgomery is the draw for me this time around. Over the next couple of days I’ll be attending a conference titled Storm and Dissonance: L.M. Montgomery and Conflict. I look forward to hearing presentations with such tantalizing titles as “The Darker Side of L.M. Montgomery,” and “Projecting Dissonance: The Real and Virtual Landscapes in Anne of Green Gables and Dracula.” And to making a presentation of my own which marks a bit of a departure in my academic work.
Time and internet access permitting, I’ll check in with occasional bulletins from the conference. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with an entry from Montgomery’s journals, dated February 1922, to whet your appetite. This is hardly scandalous, but perhaps not what you expected from the author of Anne of Green Gables:
[Captain Smith] was here both Saturday and Sunday nights and we spent both evenings talking of a thousand subjects. It is such a delight to have a real conversation with a companion of intellect and sympathy. Captain Smith is one of the few people I have met with whom I can discuss with absolute frankness, any and every subject, even the delicate ones of sex. Sex is to men and women one of the most vital subjects in the world—perhaps the most vital subject since our total existence is based on and centres around it. Yet with how few, even of women, can this vital subject be frankly and intelligently discussed. It is so overlaid with conventions, inhibitions and taboos that it is almost impossible for anyone to see it as it really is.
(From The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volume III: 1921-1929.)