The Intimate Life of LM Montgomery

Description

305 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
$29.95
ISBN 0-8020-8676-4
DDC C813'.52

Year

2005

Contributor

Edited by Irene Gammel

Elisabeth Anne MacDonald-Murray teaches English literature at Brandon
University, Brandon, Manitoba.

Review

Lucy Maud Montgomery was long thought to have been as much an open book
to her adoring fans as her much-beloved character, the sunny and
effervescent Anne Shirley. Her fictional works were characterized by
their unfailing optimism and romantic happy endings. Yet as
Montgomery’s journals have been made public and the details of her
often-troubled private life have become more widely known, scholars have
become increasingly intrigued by a writer whose life and thoughts have
proven to be far more enigmatic that one would guess from her literary
works. In this latest collection of essays, a wide variety of Montgomery
scholars examine her journals, letters, scrapbooks, and photography,
delving behind the secrecy and codes in her life and writings to reveal
how she actively wrote and shaped her own life as she did her fiction.

The essays focus on those issues in Montgomery’s private writings
that were rarely revealed to her reading public: sexuality, depression,
aging, illness, and the problems of writing and marriage. The writers
also uncover some of Montgomery’s most closely concealed secrets—her
affair with Herman Leard; her relationship with her husband, Ewen
Macdonald—and details about her friendships with Nora Lefurgey and
Isabel Anderson. Employing literary theories of autobiography and life
writing, the various authors address these personal texts in an attempt
to decode the private reality behind Montgomery’s fiercely guarded
public persona. Every item, entry, and photograph is analyzed to
discover what it can reveal about the author’s true thoughts and her
personal identity. What becomes most evident from these articles is the
remarkable interaction between Montgomery’s life and her fiction.
Despite her intensely private life, and its difficult, even tragic,
circumstances, the many narrative and descriptive details and
entertaining characters that lend charm and interest to her fiction were
inspired by her own life and circle of friends. Although a scholarly
scraping of the decorous surface of her life has revealed unknown depths
of depression and darkness, clearly Montgomery’s writing proved to be
a beacon of hope and optimism as much for herself as for her readers.

Citation

“The Intimate Life of LM Montgomery,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/30612.