Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

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[BRIEF NOTE] The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery

I went to a book launch last night for The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery, yesterday evening at Ryerson University's Oakham House. The usual attendees at most Montgomery-related academic events I've attended were there: students, academics, fans, Montgomery relatives, others like myself. The second half of the book launch will be held on Prince Edward Island on the 17th, under the auspices of the LM Montgomery Institute.

Lucy Maud Montgomery's posthumous reputation is increasingly founded not only on her works of fiction like Anne of Green Gables, but on the personal journals she kept for most of her life. The recent publication of the fifth volume of these journals under the editorial supervision of Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston from the University of Guelph, covering the period of from 1935 to 1942, completes their publication. These journals are popular because of their detail and their sense of immediacy, charting Montgomery's personal evolution from the inside out. As the late Canadian-American author Carol Shields wrote after the publication of the first volume in 1986 (as reported by Rubio and Waterston), "Such social history, but so much more!"

Much recent Montgomery scholarship focuses upon how Montgomery edited her personal journals so as to produce a specific image at odds with other elements of her self-representation (mother, wife, author). The nine essays in this collection, edited by former UPEI professor Dr. Irene Gammel, seek to explore this. One interesting announcement was the discovery of a collaboratively written diary written in collaboration by Montgomery and her long-time friend Nora Lefurgey, covering the period from January to June 1903 when Lefurgey lodged with the MacNeills, published for the first time as part of The Intimate Life. Excerpts were read by two actors from Ryerson's theatre program, dressed in period costume. The bantering gossipy dialogue, light in tone, reminded me of nothing so much as some early 21st century bloggers, at last, after a century's remove contributing to the community of ideas. What was particularly interesting was that this exuberantly happy diary was written at the same time that Montgomery was confessing her terrible despair to her journals.
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