Thursday, April 24, 2008
Anne of Green Gables at 100
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic novel Anne of Green Gables and the occasion is being commemorated in a myriad of ways in a multitude of places.
Several books related to Lucy Maud Montgomery and to Anne have been or will be published this year to coordinate with the centennial. The one which has garnered the most attention so far is the prequel, Before Green Gables, authorized by Montgomery's family and written by Budge Wilson. (I have so far resisted reading this one out of loyalty to the original Anne but, having recently ventured into the realm of LMM research, I've been persuaded that I ought to give it a go out of scholarly interest, so you may hear something from me about it soon.) But there are many more. For example, there's a lovely re-issue of the novel that reproduces the cover of the 1908 edition. And there are a number of books that will be of great interest to scholars as well as general readers including the marvellous Looking for Anne: How Lucy Maud Montgomery Dreamed Up a Literary Classic by Irene Gammel (I promise to post a review of this one soon), and the one I'm most excited about, due out in October, Mary Rubio's biography of LMM, Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (it's the first biography to draw upon LMM's voluminous journals and I've been eagerly anticipating it since cracking open the first volume of those journals back in 1985).
And there are events galore: book launches, exhibits, scholarly conferences, and celebrations of varying degrees of formality. Just a small sample includes conferences due to be hosted by the University of Prince Edward Island ("L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables & the Idea of Classic") and the University of Guelph ("From Canada to the World: The Cultural Influence of Lucy Maud Montgomery"), an exhibit ("Anne of Green Gables: A Literary Icon at 100") organized by Irene Gammel which has just opened at the Spadina Museum in Toronto, and celebrations in Leaskdale and Uxbridge (two Ontario towns where LMM once made her home), St. Paul, Minnesota, and, of course, all across Prince Edward Island.
Reflecting on all of the foregoing, it seems to me that Anne's centennial ought to be duly commemorated in the blogosphere as well by doing what we do best: reading (or rereading) the book and sharing our reflections on it with one another. So how about a group read of Anne of Green Gables? The novel's original publication date was June 1908, so I'm proposing that our group read commence on June 1st. That would give all those interested in participating a bit of lead time to acquire a copy of the book and to read it. In anticipation, I've set up a dedicated blog to serve as a home for our discussion where we can post our thoughts on the novel and all things related to Anne and her centennial. Let me know, via email or the comments section below, if you're interested in participating. It would be wonderful to have a range of participants, some encountering the book for the first time, and others revisiting a childhood favourite, thereby giving us a broad scope to explore its enduring appeal.