So many people around the world are familiar with Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. It doesn’t need much introduction, but maybe I can remind some of you about the story and the author herself.
This Canadian literary classic is the story of 11-year-old orphan Anne Shirley who is sent by mistake to live at Green Gables in Avonlea with a brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. The Cuthberts were ready for a boy to help out with the daily chores at the farm. But within a few days Anne has fallen in love with the Cuthberts and Green Gables and wants it to be her permanent home. Matthew and Marilla are quickly drawn to Anne in return and cannot envision life without her, despite all the awkward situations this scrappy, talkative, red-haired child gets into.
The traditions and lifestyle of Prince Edward Island where Avonlea is situated are based on Montgomery’s own experiences growing up in this unique place. She also includes descriptions of its beautiful landscapes.
Since its first publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages. Numerous sequels were penned by Montgomery, and since her death another sequel has been published, as well as an authorized prequel. The original book is taught to students around the world.
It has been adapted as films, made-for-television movies, and animated and live-action television series. Anne Shirley was played by Megan Follows in the 1985 Canadian produced movie. Plays and musicals have also been started, with annual productions in Canada since 1964 of the first musical production, which has toured in Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan. Others have been produced in Canada and the United States.
Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on November 30, 1874 in Clifton, P.E.I., and died on April 24, 1942 in Toronto, Ontario at the age of 67. She was called “Maud” by family and friends and publicly generally known as L. M. Montgomery. The first story was published in 1908. Anne of Green Gables was an instantaneous success. Perhaps a not so well-known fact about Montgomery is that she went on to create 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. The majority of the novels were set on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and places in the Canadian province became literary points of interest. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
Mindful of her fame, by 1920 Montgomery began editing and recopying her journals, presenting her life as she wanted it remembered. In doing so certain episodes were changed or excluded.
Freckles was popularized in the book ‘Anne of Green Gables’ in which Anne Shirley has freckles over her face. Freckles, also known as sun’s kiss. It is often said of freckles that they give that ‘girl next door’ look. At the time, many young girls became proud of their freckles.
There are so many links I can offer you about the book series and about Montgomery, but allow me to offer you a select collection. You can get free audio readings of her books at Librivox; Ryerson University has created the Anne of Green Gables Centenary; the University of Guelph has put together the L. M. Montgomery Research Centre; I also suggest the The L. M. Montgomery Literary Society.
“You’re not eating anything,” said Marilla sharply, eying her as if it were a serious shortcoming. Anne sighed.
“I can’t. I’m in the depths of despair. Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?”
“I’ve never been in the depths of despair, so I can’t say,” responded Marilla.
“Weren’t you? Well, did you ever try to IMAGINE you were in the depths of despair?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Then I don’t think you can understand what it’s like. It’s very uncomfortable feeling indeed. When you try to eat a lump comes right up in your throat and you can’t swallow anything, not even if it was a chocolate caramel. I had one chocolate caramel once two years ago and it was simply delicious. I’ve often dreamed since then that I had a lot of chocolate caramels, but I always wake up just when I’m going to eat them. I do hope you won’t be offended because I can’t eat. Everything is extremely nice, but still I cannot eat.”