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.

20 comments:

Bridget said...

What a great idea! I had signed up for an Anne knit- and read-along last fall, but only got through the first two books before it ended. Please count me in!

raidergirl3 said...

Let me know what you'd like me to do. I'd love to help in any way.
Great idea, btw.

ravenousreader said...

How lovely! I didn't meet Anne until I was an adult, but I loved all the books. I cherish a dream of traveling to PEI and seeing the sights for myslef.

So, count me in for the birthday celebration :)

misajane said...

Oh yes!! Claps hands with glee! I knew I would have to reread at some point this year, and this is the perfect thing to get my book off the shelf.
Happy to help in any way--Anne was my first love--going on 20 years now!

Alison Boon said...

I would love to do this. I loved all the books and would love to re-read them.

Dorothy W. said...

I'll definitely participate -- looking forward to it!

NigelBeale said...

I've just interviewed Irene Gammel for my radio program The Biblio File. For those interested in listening, please go here:

http://nigelbeale.com/?p=818

Becky said...

I would love to participate!!!

Seachanges said...

I'd love to but not having read Anne of Green Gables before (coming from a different language culture) and having committed myself to so many other challenges already (on top of the day job!) I shall simply follow your adventures from a distance this time. It's a great idea however, and if I get round to reading any of the books I'll let you know. Enjoy the celebrations...x

Somer said...

I'm so excited to hear about your plan of a group read of Anne! I've been wanting to re-read it for ages, and this is as good a time as any!

Melanie said...

Yes! This sounds great! I'm reading Looking for Anne right now, and have been anxiously awaiting Mary Rubio's bio for a LONG time. :) Did you know that Jane Urquhart is writing a Penguin Lives bio of LMM?

LK said...

I just smiled at all of those covers! What a great idea. (You know, I've never read Anne of Green Gables. Maybe that would be one for my Year of Reading Dangerously...)

amcorrea said...

A brilliant idea, Kate. Count me in!

Mark Thwaite said...

Ooh, what booootiful covers! I think I likes me the "sporting a blue hat and looking forlornly upwards into the middle-distance" one the best!

jenclair said...

Hard to believe that Anne has managed to engage us for so long! Thanks for all of the links!

Eva said...

Oooh! I just finished rereading Anne of the Island, which has left me craving more and more Anne, so I'll sign up. Didn't realise it was her 100th anniversary...I love Anne. :D

Ramya said...

I have read the complete series before..but it would be fun to re-read the entire set.. count me in!:)let me know what i should do!

KATE EVANS said...

Thanks!! I love AOGG.

Richard Palmer said...

My wife is an Anne of Green Gables fan since childhood. Her lifetime wish is to have the whole set of L. Montgomery's books (hardcover). Does anyone know where I can purchase a set for Christmas 2008??

Please reply to rwp6@pge.com

Thanks

Richard

Anonymous said...

I just saw that Sotheby's auction house in New York City is selling a very rare Anne of Green Gables in the dustjacket on Dec. 10. They estimate it at $20,000-$30,000..Go Anne, I love all the books.