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Anne Of Green Gables Author Biography Essay

Lucy Maud Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery ca. 1935

Born(1874-11-30)November 30, 1874
Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Canada
DiedApril 24, 1942(1942-04-24) (aged 67)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
OccupationFiction writer
EducationPrince of Wales College, Dalhousie University
GenreCanadian literature, children's novels, short fiction, poetry
Notable works
SpouseEwen ("Ewan") Macdonald
ChildrenChester (1912–1963)
Hugh (1914–1914)
Stuart (1915–1982)

Lucy Maud Montgomery, OBE (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942), published as L.M. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables. The book was an immediate success. The central character, Anne Shirley, an orphaned girl, made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following.[1]

The first novel was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. Most of the novels were set in Prince Edward Island, and locations within Canada's smallest province became a literary landmark and popular tourist site – namely Green Gables farm, the genesis of Prince Edward Island National Park. She was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

Montgomery's work, diaries and letters have been read and studied by scholars and readers worldwide.[2]

Early life[edit]

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Clifton (now New London) in Prince Edward Island on November 30, 1874. Her mother, Clara Woolner Macneill Montgomery, died of tuberculosis when Lucy was twenty-one months old. Stricken with grief, her father, Hugh John Montgomery, placed Lucy in the custody of her maternal grandparents. When Lucy was seven, he moved to Prince Albert, North-West Territories (now Prince Albert, Saskatchewan).[4] From then on Lucy was raised by her grandparents, Alexander Marquis Macneill and Lucy Woolner Macneill, in the nearby community of Cavendish.

Montgomery's early life in Cavendish was very lonely. Despite having relatives nearby, much of her childhood was spent alone. Montgomery credits this time of her life, during which she created imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness, with developing her creativity. The population of Prince Edward Island was nearly evenly split between Catholics and Protestants.[7] Montgomery inherited her ancestors' Protestant values of hard work, thrift, and modesty.

In 1887, at age 13, Montgomery wrote in her diary that she had "early dreams of future fame." She submitted a poem for publication, writing, "I saw myself the wonder of my schoolmates – a little local celebrity." Upon rejection, Montgomery wrote, "Tears of disappointment would come in spite of myself, as I crept away to hide the poor crumpled manuscript in the depths of my trunk." She would later write, "down, deep down under all the discouragement and rebuff, I knew I would 'arrive' some day."

After completing her education in Cavendish, Montgomery spent one year (1890) in Prince Albert with her father and her stepmother, Mary Ann McRae.[4] While in Prince Albert, Montgomery's first work, a poem entitled "On Cape LeForce,"[4] was published in the Charlottetown paper, The Daily Patriot. She was as excited about this as she was about her return to her beloved Prince Edward Island in 1891. Before returning to Cavendish, Montgomery had another article published in the newspaper, describing her visit to a First Nations camp on the Great Plains.

The return to Cavendish was a great relief to her. Her time in Prince Albert was unhappy, for she did not get along with her stepmother.[11] According to Lucy, her father's marriage was not a happy one. In 1893, she attended Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown and obtained a teacher's license. Montgomery loved Prince Edward Island, writing that she was "very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a very thin veil."

During solitary walks through the peaceful island countryside, Montgomery started to experience what she called "the flash" – a moment of tranquility and clarity when she felt an emotional ecstasy, and was inspired by the awareness of a higher spiritual power running through nature. Montgomery's accounts of this "flash" later served as the basis for her descriptions of Anne Shirley's sense of emotional communion with nature. She completed the two-year teaching program in one year.[4] In 1895 and 1896, she studied literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Writing career, romantic interests, and family life[edit]

Published books and suitors[edit]

Upon leaving Dalhousie, Montgomery worked as a teacher in various Prince Edward Island schools. Though she did not enjoy teaching, it afforded her time to write. Beginning in 1897, her short stories were published in magazines and newspapers. A prolific writer, Montgomery published over 100 stories between 1897 and 1907.

During her teaching years, Montgomery had numerous love interests. As a highly fashionable young woman, she enjoyed "slim, good looks" and won the attention of several young men. In 1889, at 14, Montgomery began a relationship with a Cavendish boy named Nate Lockhart. To Montgomery, the relationship was merely a humorous and witty friendship. It ended abruptly when Montgomery refused his marriage proposal.

The early 1890s brought unwelcome advances from John A. Mustard and Will Pritchard. Mustard, her teacher, quickly became her suitor; he tried to impress her with his knowledge of religious matters. His best topics of conversation were his thoughts on predestination and "other dry points of theology", which held little appeal for Montgomery. During the period when Mustard's interest became more pronounced, Montgomery found a new interest in Will Pritchard, the brother of her friend Laura Pritchard. This friendship was more amiable but, again, he felt more for Montgomery than she did for him. When Pritchard sought to take their friendship further, Montgomery resisted. Montgomery refused both marriage proposals; the former was too narrow-minded, and the latter was merely a good chum. She ended the period of flirtation when she moved to Prince Edward Island. However, she and Pritchard did continue to correspond for over six years, until Pritchard died of influenza in 1897.

In 1897, Montgomery received a proposal from Edwin Simpson,[4] who was a student in French River near Cavendish.[20] Montgomery wrote that she accepted his proposal out of a desire for "love and protection", and because she felt her prospects were rather poor. Montgomery came to dislike Simpson, whom she regarded as intolerably self-centered and vain to the extent of feeling nauseous in his presence. While teaching in Lower Bedeque, she had a brief but passionate affair with Herman Leard, a member of the family with which she boarded.[23] Of the men she loved, it was Leard she loved the most, writing in her diary:

"Hermann suddenly bent his head and his lips touched my face. I cannot tell what possessed me – I seemed swayed by a power utterly beyond my control – I turned my head – our lips met in one long passionate pressure – a kiss of fire and rapture such I had never experienced or imagined. Ed's kisses at the best left me cold as ice – Hermann's sent flame through every fiber of my being".

On 8 April 1898, Montgomery wrote she had to stay faithful towards Simpson as "for the sake of my self respect I must not stoop to any sort of an affair with another man" which was followed by:

"If I had – or rather if I could have – kept this resolve I would have saved myself incalculable suffering. For it was but a few days later that I found myself face to face with the burning consciousness that I loved Herman Leard with a wild, passionate, unreasoning love that dominated my entire being and possessed me like a flame – a love I could neither quell nor control – a love that in its intensity seemed little short of absolute madness. Madness! Yes!"

In Victorian Canada, premarital sex was rare for women. Montgomery had been brought up in strict Presbyterian household where she had been taught that all who sinned in fornication were among the damned who burned in Hell. Despite this upbringing, Montgomery often invited Leard into her bedroom when everybody else was out, though she remained a virgin. Montgomery referred to Leard in her diary as "a very nice, attractive young animal," albeit one with "magnetic blue eyes."

Following objections from her family and friends that Leard was not "good enough" for her, Montgomery broke off her relationship with him. He died shortly afterwards of the flu. In 1898, after much unhappiness and disillusionment, Montgomery broke off her engagement to Simpson. Montgomery no longer sought romantic love. Despite breaking off the relationship with Leard in 1898, Montgomery was greatly upset when she learned of his death in June 1899, writing in her diary: "It is easier to think him as dead, mine, all mine in death, as he could never be in life, mine when no other women could ever lie on his heart or kiss his lips."

In 1898, Montgomery moved back to Cavendish to live with her widowed grandmother. For a nine-month period between 1901 and 1902, she worked in Halifax as a substitute proofreader for the newspapers Morning Chronicle and The Daily Echo.[4] Montgomery was inspired to write her first books during this time on Prince Edward Island. Until her grandmother's death in March 1911, Montgomery stayed in Cavendish to take care of her. This coincided with a period of considerable income from her publications. Although she enjoyed this income, she was aware that “marriage was a necessary choice for women in Canada.”[11]

Marriage and family[edit]

In 1908, Montgomery published her first book, Anne of Green Gables. An immediate success, it established Montgomery's career, and she would write and publish material (including numerous sequels to Anne) continuously for the rest of her life. Anne of Green Gables was published in June 1908 and by November 1909, the book had already gone through six printings. The Canadian press made much of Montgomery's roots in Prince Edward Island, which was portrayed as a charming part of Canada where the people retained old-fashioned values and everything moved at a much slower pace. The American press suggested that all of Canada was backward and slow, arguing that a book like Anne of Green Gables was only possible in a rustic country like Canada, where the people were nowhere near as advanced as the United States. Typical of the American coverage of Montgomery was a 1911 newspaper article in Boston, which asserted:

"Recently a new and exceedingly brilliant star arose on the literacy horizon in the person of a previously unknown writer of "heart interest" stories, Miss Lucy M. Montgomery and presently the astronomers located her in the latitude of Prince Edward Island. No one would ever imagined that such a remote and unassertive speck on the map would ever produce such a writer whose first three books should one and all be included in the 'six best sellers'. But it was on this unemotional island that Anne of Green Gables was born... This story was the work of a modest young school teacher, who was doubtless as surprised as any of her neighbors when she found her sweetly simple tale of childish joys and sorrows of a diminutive red-haired girl had made the literary hit of the season with the American public... Miss Montgomery, who is entirely unspoiled by her unexpected stroke of fame and fortune, made her first visit to Boston last winter and was lionized to quite an extent, her pleasing personality making a decidedly favorable impression on all who met her... It was all very nice and novel, but the young lady confided to her friends that she would be more than glad to get back to her quiet and uneventful country life and she would far prefer it as a regular thing even to a residence in Boston. One of the most delightful of her Boston experiences was a lunch that was given her by a local publishing house that issues her books, a thoroughly Bostonian idea as well as a most creditable one.... Britain possesses as a cherished literacy shrine, the Isle of Man, but on this side of the ocean we have our Isle St. Jean, where, in good old summer time, as Anne Shirley found it on the day of her arrival, the gulf-cooled air is 'sweet with the breath of many apple orchards' and the meadows slope away in the romantic distance to 'horizon mist of pearl and purple'"

In contrast to this publishers ideal image of her, Montgomery stated in a letter to a friend: "I am frankly in literature to make a living out of it." The British scholar Faye Hammill pointed out that Montgomery was hardly a young school teacher. Hammill also noted that Montgomery was presented as the ideal female author, who was most happy in a domestic/rural environment, and who disliked fame and celebrity, which was seen at the time as conflicting with femininity.

Shortly after her grandmother's death in 1911, she married Ewen (spelled in her notes and letters as "Ewan"[34]) Macdonald (1870–1943), a Presbyterian minister,[4] and they moved to Ontario where he had taken the position of minister of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Leaskdale in present-day Uxbridge Township, also affiliated with the congregation in nearby Zephyr. Montgomery wrote her next eleven books from the Leaskdale manse that she complained had neither a bathroom nor a toilet. The structure was subsequently sold by the congregation and is now the Lucy Maud Montgomery Leaskdale Manse Museum. The Reverend Macdonald was not especially intelligent nor was he interested in literature as Montgomery was. Montgomery wrote in her diary: "I would not want him for a lover but I hope at first that I might find a friend in him." After their wedding, Montgomery and her husband took their honeymoon in England and Scotland, the latter being a particular point of interest to her, as Scotland was for her the "Old Country", the romantic land of castles, rugged mountains, shining glens, lakes and waterfalls, her ancestral homeland. By contrast, the Reverend Macdonald's parents had come to Canada after being evicted in the Highland Clearances, and he no desire to visit the "Old Country." He was at first unwilling to go wlth his wife to the Isle of Skye, the home of the Clan MacDonald, where the Macdonalds had once reigned as the Lords of the Isles. The MacDonalds had been Gaelic-speaking Highlanders while the Montgomerys and Macneils had been English-speaking Lowlanders, which might explain the different attitudes held by the couple toward Scotland, since Montgomery was more proud of her Scottish heritage than was her husband. Furthermore, Montgomery had read the works of Scots writers like Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. Ewan did not read literature, so this required Lucy to explain to him who Burns and Scott were. In England, Montgomery visited places associated with her favorite writers, going to the Lake District made famous by William Wordsworth, William Shakespeare's house in Stratford-upon-Avon, and the Haworth house in the Yorkshire moors.

The Macdonalds had three sons; the second was stillborn. Montgomery believed it was her duty as a woman to make her marriage work, though she quipped to a reporter during a visit to Scotland that those women whom God wanted to destroy He would make into the wives of ministers. The great increase of Montgomery's writings in Leaskdale is the result of her need to escape the hardships of real life. In 1909-10, Montgomery drew upon her Scottish-Canadian heritage and her memories of her teenage years to write her 1911 novel The Story Girl. Montgomery's youth had been spent as a member of a Scottish-Canadian family, where Scottish tales, myths and legends had often been recounted, and Montgomery used this background to create the character of 14-year old Sara Stanley, a skilled story-teller, who was merely an "idealized" version of her adolescent self. The character of Peter Craig in The Story Girl very much resembles Herman Leard, the great love of Montgomery's life, whom she wished she had married. The other characters in "The Story Girl" object to the lower-class Craig as not "good enough."

World War I[edit]

During the First World War, Montgomery, horrified by reports of the "Rape of Belgium" in 1914, was an intense supporter of the war effort, seeing the war as a crusade to save civilization, regularly writing articles urging men to volunteer for the Canadian expeditionary force and for people on the home front to buy victory bonds. Montgomery wrote in her diary on 12 September 1914 about the reports of the "Rape of Belgium":

"But oh, there have been such hideous stories in the papers lately of their cutting off the hands of little children in Belgium. Can they be true? They have committed terrible outrages and crimes, that is too surely true, but I hope desperately that these stories of the mutilation of children are false. They harrow my soul. I walk the floor in my agony over them. I cry myself to sleep about them and wake again in the darkness to cringe with the horror of it. If it were Chester!".

In Leaskdale, like everywhere else in Canada, recruiting meetings were held where ministers, such as the Reverend MacDonald, would speak of Kaiser Wilhelm II as the personification of evil, described the "Rape of Belgium" in graphic detail, and asked for young men to step up to volunteer to fight for Canada, the British Empire, and for justice, in what was described at the time as a crusade against evil. In a 1915 essay appealing for volunteers, Montgomery wrote: "I am not one of those who believe that this war will put an end to war. War is horrible, but there are things that are more horrible still, just as there are fates worse than death." Montgomery argued prior to the war that Canada had been slipping into atheism, materialism and "moral decay", and the war had brought about a welcome revival of Christianity, patriotism and moral strength as the Canadian people faced the challenge of the greatest war yet fought in history. Montgomery ended her essay by stating that women on the home front were playing a crucial role in the war effort, which led her to ask for woman's suffrage. Since women were playing an equal part to men in the war, it was unfair to give one the vote to one and deny the other. On 7 October 1915, Montgomery gave birth to her third child and was thrown into depression when she discovered she could not produce breast milk to feed her son, who was given cow's milk instead, which was a health risk in the days before pasteurization.

Montgomery identified very strongly with the Allied cause, leading her on 10 March 1916 to write in her diary: "All my misery seemed to centre around Verdun where the snow was no longer white. I seemed in my own soul to embrace all the anguish and strain of France." In the same diary entry, Montgomery wrote of a strange experience, "a great calm seemed to descend upon me and envelop me. I was at peace. The conviction seized upon me that Verdun was safe-that the Germans would not pass the grim barrier of desperate France. I was as a woman from whom some evil spirit had been driven-or can it be as a priestess of old, who out of depths of agony wins some strange foresight of the future?" Montgomery celebrated every Allied victory at her house, for instance running up the Russian flag when she heard that the Russians had captured the supposedly impregnable Ottoman city-fortress of Trebizond in April 1916. Every Allied defeat depressed her. When she heard of the fall of Kut-al-Amara, she wrote in her diary on 1 May 1916: "Kut-el-Amara has been compelled to surrender at last. We have expected it for some time, but that did not prevent us from feeling very blue over it all. It is an encouragement to the Germans and a blow to Britain's prestige. I feel too depressed tonight to do anything." Much to Montgomery's disgust, Ewen refused to preach about the war. As it went on, Lucy wrote in her diary "it unsettles him and he cannot do his work properly". The Reverend Macdonald had developed doubts about the justice of the war as it went along, and had come to believe that by encouraging young men to enlist, he had sinned grievously.

Montgomery, a deeply religious woman, wrote in her diary: "I believe in a God who is good, but not omnipotent. I also believe in a principle of Evil, equal to God in power... darkness to His light. I believe an infinite ceaseless struggle goes on between them." In a letter, Montgomery dismissed Kaiser Wilhelm II's claim that God was on the side of Germany, stating that the power responsible for the death of "little Hugh" (her stillborn son) was the same power responsible for the "Rape of Belgium," which could not possibly be the power of God. For this reason the Allies were destined to win the war. Montgomery had worked as a Sunday school teacher at her husband's church, and many of the men from Uxbridge county who were killed or wounded in the war had once been her students, causing her much emotional distress. Uxbridge county lost 21 men in the Great War from 1915, when Canadian troops first saw action at the Second Battle of Ypres, until the war's end in 1918. Montgomery's biographer Mary Henley Rubio observed: "Increasingly, the war was all that she thought of and wanted to talk about. Her journals show she was absolutely consumed by it, wracked by it, tortured by it, obsessed by it - even addicted to it." Montgomery was sometimes annoyed if her husband did not buy a daily newspaper from the corner store because she always wanted to read the latest war news.

Montgomery underwent several periods of depression while trying to cope with the duties of motherhood, church life, and her husband's attacks of religious melancholia (endogenous major depressive disorder) and deteriorating health: "For a woman who had given the world so much joy, life was mostly an unhappy one."[11] In 1918, Montgomery was stricken with, and was almost killed by, the "Spanish Flu" pandemic that killed between 50-100 million people worldwide in 1918-1919. She spent ten days bed-ridden. In her diary on 1 December 1918, Montgomery wrote: "Toronto was then beginning to be panic stricken over the outbreak of the terrible Spanish flu. The drug counters were besieged with frantic people seeking remedies and safeguards." Montgomery wrote in her diary about being infected with Spanish flu: "I was in bed for ten days. I never felt so sick or weak in my life," going on to express thanks to God and to her friends for helping her survive the ordeal. Montgomery's best friend Frederica Campbell MacFarlane was not so lucky. She died of the Spanish flu on 20 January 1919. Montgomery was upset that her husband had been indifferent to her friend as she lay dying, which drove her to think about divorce, something very difficult to obtain in Canada in that era. (between 1873 and 1901, there were only 263 divorces in Canada out of a population of six million.) Ultimately, Montgomery decided that it was her Christian duty to make her marriage work.

After the First World War, a recurring character in Montgomery's journal that was to obsess her for the rest of her life was "the Piper", who at first appeared as a heroic Highland piper from Scotland, leading men into battle while playing traditional Highland tunes, but who turned out to be the Pied Piper of Hamelin, a trickster taking children away from their parents forever. The figure of "the Piper" reflected Montgomery's own disillusionment with World War One and her guilt at her ardent support for the war. To inspire men to volunteer for the war, a piper had marched through the center of Leaskdale daily, playing Highland war tunes, and became the basis for "the Piper" character. "The piper" first appears in the Anne books in Rainbow Valley (1919), inspiring the men of Avonlea with his courage. In Rilla of Ingleside (1921), "the Piper" returns as a more sinister figure, inspiring Anne's son Walter to enlist in the Canadian expeditionary force, while taking on the appearance and personality of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

The Reverend Ewen MacDonald, a good Calvinist who believed in predestination, had become convinced that he was not one of the Elect, chosen by God to go to Heaven, leading him to severe depression. The Reverend MacDonald often told his wife that he wished she and their children had never been born, since they were also not of "the Elect," and all of them were going to Hell when they died. MacDonald refused to assist with the children or the housework, and was given over to erratic, reckless driving, as if he were deliberately trying to get himself killed in a car crash. Montgomery herself was driven to depression by her husband's conduct, often writing that she wished she had married somebody else. Montgomery wrote in her diary that she could not stand looking at her husband when he had that "horrible imbecile expression on his face." In February 1920, Montgomery wrote about having to deal with:

"A letter from some pathetic ten-year old in New York who implores me to send her my photo because she lies awake in her bed wondering what I look like. Well, if she had a picture of me in my old dress, wresting with the furniture this morning, "cussing" the ashes and clinkers, she would die of disillusionment. However, I shall send her a reprint of my last photo in which I sat in rapt inspiration – apparently – at my desk, with pen in my hand, in gown of lace and silk with hair so – Amen. A quite passable woman, of no kin whatever to the dusty, ash-covered Cinderella of the furnace-cellar."

For much of her life, writing was her one great solace. In 1920, Montgomery wrote in her diary a quotation from the South African writer Olive Schreiner's book The Story of an African Farm which defined different types of love, including a "love without wisdom, sweet as life, bitter as death, lasting only a hour." This led her to write: "But it is worth having lived a whole life for that hour." Montgomery concluded:

"My love for Hermann Leard, though so incomplete, is...a memory which I would not barter for anything save the lives of my children and the return of Frede" [Frederica Campbell MacFarlane, her best friend]

Montgomery believed her spells of depression and migraine headaches were both expressions of her suppressed romantic passions and Leard's ghost haunting her.

Publishing disputes and film[edit]

Starting in 1917, Montgomery was engaged in five bitter, costly, and burdensome lawsuits with Louis Coues Page, owner of the publishing house L.C. Page & Company, that continued until she finally won in 1928. Page had a well deserved reputation as one of the most tyrannical figures in American publishing, a bully with a ferocious temper who signed his authors to exploitative contracts and liked to humiliate his subordinates, including his mild-mannered younger brother George in public. Montgomery received 7 cents on the dollar on the sale of every one of the Anne books, instead of the 19 cents on the dollar that she was entitled to, which led her to switch publishers in 1917 when she finally discovered that Page was cheating her. When Montgomery left the firm of L.C. Page & company, Page demanded she sign over the American rights to Anne's House of Dreams and, when she refused, he cut off the royalties from the earlier Anne books. Even though he did not own the U.S. rights to Anne's House of Dreams, Page sold those rights to the cheap publishing house of Grosset & Dunlap as way of creating more pressure on Montgomery to fold, as it forced Montgomery to sue Grosset & Dunlap, adding more legal fees. Page was counting on the fact that he was a millionaire and Montgomery was not, and the prospect of having to spend thousands in legal fees would force her to give in. Much to his surprise, she did not. Montgomery hired a lawyer in Boston and sued Page in the Massachusetts Court of Equity for illegally withholding royalties due her and for selling the U.S rights to Anne's House of Dreams that he did not possess.

In 1920, Montgomery was infuriated with the 1919 film version of Anne of Green Gables for changing Anne from a Canadian to an American, writing in her diary:

"It was a pretty little play well photographed, but I think if I hadn't already known it was from my book, that I would never had recognized it. The landscape and folks were 'New England', never P.E Island... A skunk and an American flag were introduced – both equally unknown in PE Island. I could have shrieked with rage over the latter. Such crass, blatant Yankeeism!"

Reporting on the film's premiere in Los Angeles, one American journalist described Anne of Green Gables as written by a "Mr. Montgomery", who is only mentioned in passing two-thirds into the article with the major focus being on the film's star Mary Miles Minter, who was presented as the true embodiment of Anne. Montgomery disapproved of Minter's performance, writing she portrayed "a sweet, sugary heroine utterly unlike my gingerly Anne" and complained about a scene in the film where Anne used a shotgun to threaten people with, writing her Anne would never do such a thing. Montgomery had no say in either the 1919 or 1934 versions of Anne of Green Gables as the publisher, L.C. Page had acquired the film rights to the story in 1908, and as such, all of the royalties paid by Hollywood for both versions of Anne of Green Gables went to him, not Montgomery. Montgomery stopped writing about Anne in about 1920, writing in her journal that she had tired of the character. By February 1921, Montgomery estimated that she had made about $100,000 from the sales of the Anne books while declaring in her diary: "It's a pity it doesn't buy happiness". She preferred instead to create books about other young, female characters, feeling that her strength was writing about characters who were either very young or very old. Other series written by Montgomery include the "Emily" and "Pat" books, which, while successful, did not reach the same level of public acceptance as the "Anne" volumes. She also wrote a number of stand-alone novels, which were also generally successful, if not as successful as her Anne books.

In 1925, a Massachusetts court ruled in favor of Montgomery against her publisher Louis Coues Page, as the judge found that he had systemically cheated her out of the profits from the Anne books since 1908. Page used every conceivable excuse to avoid paying Montgomery what he owed her, and after his brother George died of a heart attack in 1927, accused Montgomery of causing his brother's death by suing him for her rightful shares of the royalties. In fact, Louis Page was not close to George, who had just left the firm of L.C. Page & Company to get away from his abrasive and arrogant brother before he died of a heart attack, aged 52. In October 1928, Montgomery finally won while Page, a sore loser to the end, continued to insist in public that she had caused the death of his brother, which he used as a reason why he should not have to pay Montgomery anything. Page, who was a notorious bully, waged a campaign of harassment against Montgomery, sending her telegrams accusing her of causing his brother's death and the subsequent mental breakdown of his widow by defeating him in court, asking her if she was pleased with what she had allegedly done. Page's behavior badly damaged his business as no author chose to publish with a publisher who had revealed himself to be both dishonest and vindictive, and after the 1920s Page's publishing house largely depended upon reissuing older books rather than issuing new books as authors took their business elsewhere. On 7 November 1928, Montgomery received a cheque for the $15,000 US dollars that auditors had established Page had cheated her out of.

In terms of sales, both in her lifetime and since, Montgomery was the most successful Canadian author of all time, but because her books were seen as children's books and as women's books, she was often dismissed by the critics, who saw Montgomery as merely a writer for schoolgirls, and not as a serious writer. In 1924, the Maple Leaf magazine asked its readers to nominate the 14 greatest living Canadians, and all of the winners were men. Montgomery only made the runner's up list to the 14 greatest Canadians, coming in at 16. However, Montgomery did make it onto another list of the 12 greatest living Canadian women. Hammill argued that Montgomery was successful at managing her fame, but the media's fixation on presenting her as the idealised woman writer, together with her desire to hide her unhappy home life with her husband, meant that her creation Anne, whose "life" was more "knowable" and easier to relate to, overshadowed her both in her lifetime and after.

Later life[edit]

In 1925, Ewen MacDonald became estranged from his folk when he opposed his church joining the United Church of Canada, and was involved in an incident when he nearly ran over a Methodist minister who was promoting the union. Had he not been a minister, he almost certainly would have been charged with attempted murder. In 1926, the family moved into the Norval Presbyterian Charge, in present-day Halton Hills, Ontario, where today the Lucy Maud Montgomery Memorial Garden can be seen from Highway 7. In 1934, Montgomery's extremely depressed husband signed himself into a sanatorium in Guelph. After his release, the drug store gave Montgomery a "blue pill" intended to treat her husband's depression that was accidentally laced with insecticide (a mistake on the part of the drug store clerk) that almost killed him. The Reverend MacDonald become notably paranoid after this incident, accusing Montgomery of attempting to murder him, and in his more lucid mental states, he beat her. MacDonald alternated between moments of passivity, where he became catatonic, staring into space for hours with blank, empty eyes; and more cogent mental states, where he declared he hated God for making him one of "the damned", would never preach again, and beat Montgomery for supposedly trying to kill him.

In 1935, upon her husband's retirement, Montgomery moved to Swansea, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, buying a house which she named Journey's End, situated on Riverside Drive along the east bank of the Humber River. Montgomery continued to write, and (in addition to writing other material) returned to writing about Anne after a 15-year hiatus, filling in previously unexplored gaps in the chronology she had developed for the character. She published Anne of Windy Poplars in 1936 and Anne of Ingleside in 1939.Jane of Lantern Hill, a non-Anne novel, was also composed around this time and published in 1937. Writing kept up Montgomery's spirits as she battled depression while taking various pills to improve her mood, but in public she presented a happy, smiling face, giving speeches to various professional groups all over Canada. On 10 November 1937, Montgomery gave a speech in Toronto calling for Canadian writers to write more stories about Canada, arguing Canadians had great stories worth writing. Despite her efforts to raise the profile of Canadian literature through the Canadian Author's Association, the avant garde of Canadian litearture led by Frederick Philip Grove, F. R. Scott, Morley Callaghan and Raymond Knister complained about the mostly female membership of the CAA, whom they felt had overly glorified someone like Montgomery who was not a "serious" writer. Over time, Montgomery became addicted to bromides and barbiturates that the doctors had given her to help treat her depression.

Montgomery was greatly upset by World War II, calling the war in a 1940 letter "this nightmare that has been loosed on the world... unfair that we should have to go through it again". In her only diary entry for 1941, Montgomery wrote on 8 July 1941: "Oh God, such an end to life. Such suffering and wretchedness". On 28 December 1941, Montgomery wrote to a friend:

"This past year has been one of constant blows to me. My oldest son has made a mess of his life and his wife has left him. My husband's nerves are even worse than mine. I have kept the nature of his attacks from you for over 20 years but they have broken me at last... I could not go out to select a book for you this year. Pardon me. I could not even write this if I had not been a hypodermic. The war situation kills me along with many other things. I expect conscription will come in and they will take my second son and then I will give up all effort to recover because I shall have nothing to live for."

In 1940, the Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King introduced conscription under the National Resources Mobilization Act, but with the caveat that conscripts could only be used in the defence of North America, and only volunteers would be sent overseas. Mackenzie King scheduled a referendum for 27 April 1942 to ask the voters to release him from his promise to only send volunteers overseas, which Montgomery alluded to in her letter mentioning "conscription will come in". In her last entry in her diary on 23 March 1942, Montgomery wrote: "Since then my life has been hell, hell, hell. My mind is gone – everything in the world I lived for has gone – the world has gone mad. I shall be driven to end my life. Oh God, forgive me. Nobody dreams of what my awful position is."

In the last year of her life, Montgomery completed what she intended to be a ninth book featuring Anne, titled The Blythes Are Quoted. It included fifteen short stories (many of which were previously published) that she revised to include Anne and her family as mainly peripheral characters; forty-one poems (most of which were previously published) that she attributed to Anne and to her son Walter, who died as a soldier in the Great War; and vignettes featuring the Blythe family members discussing the poems. The book was delivered to Montgomery's publisher on the day of her death, but for reasons unexplained, the publisher declined to issue the book at the time. Montgomery scholar Benjamin Lefebvre speculates that the book's dark tone and anti-war message (Anne speaks very bitterly of WWI in one passage) may have made the volume unsuitable to publish in the midst of the Second World War.

An abridged version of this book, which shortened and reorganized the stories and omitted all the vignettes and all but one of the poems, was published as a collection of short stories called The Road to Yesterday in 1974, more than 30 years after the original work had been submitted. A complete edition of The Blythes Are Quoted, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, was finally published in its entirety by Viking Canada in October 2009, more than 67 years after it was composed.


On April 24, 1942, Montgomery was found dead in her bed in her Toronto home. The primary cause of death recorded on her death certificate was coronary thrombosis.[87] However, in September 2008, her granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, revealed that Montgomery suffered from depression – possibly as a result of caring for her mentally ill husband for decades – and may have taken her own life through a drug overdose.[88]

A note was found on Montgomery's bedside table which read, in part, "... I have lost my mind by spells and I do not dare think what I may do in those spells. May God forgive me and I hope everyone else will forgive me even if they cannot understand. My position is too awful to endure and nobody realizes it. What an end to a life in which I tried always to do my best."[89] An alternative explanation of this document is provided in Mary Henley Rubio's 2008 biography Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings, which suggests that Montgomery may have intended it as an entry in part of a journal now lost, rather than a suicide note.[87]

Montgomery was buried at the Cavendish Community Cemetery in Cavendish following her wake in the Green Gables farmhouse and funeral in the Cavendish United Church (formerly Cavendish Presbyterian church).

During her lifetime, Montgomery had published twenty novels, over 500 short stories, an autobiography, and a book of poetry. Aware 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 omitted.



The L. M. Montgomery Institute, founded in 1993, at the University of Prince Edward Island, promotes scholarly inquiry into the life, works, culture, and influence of L. M. Montgomery and coordinates most of the research and conferences surrounding her work. The Montgomery Institute collection consists of novels, manuscripts, texts, letters, photographs, sound recordings and artifacts and other Montgomery ephemera.[92]

Her major collections are archived at the University of Guelph.

The first biography of Montgomery was The Wheel of Things: A Biography of L. M. Montgomery (1975), written by Mollie Gillen. Dr. Gillen also discovered over 40 of Montgomery's letters to her pen-friend George Boyd MacMillan in Scotland and used them as the basis for her work. Beginning in the 1980s, her complete journals, edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston, were published by the Oxford University Press. From 1988–95, editor Rea Wilmshurst collected and published numerous short stories by Montgomery. Most of her essays, along with interviews with Montgomery, commentary on her work, and coverage of her death and funeral, appear in Benjamin Lefebvre's The L. M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print (2013).[93]

Despite the fact that Montgomery published over twenty books, "she never felt she achieved her one 'great' book". Her readership, however, has always found her characters and stories to be among the best in fiction. Mark Twain said Montgomery's Anne was “the dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice". Montgomery was honoured by being the first female in Canada to be named a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in England and by being invested in the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

However, her fame was not limited to Canadian audiences. Anne of Green Gables became a success worldwide. For example, every year, thousands of Japanese tourists "make a pilgrimage to a green-gabled Victorian farmhouse in the town of Cavendish on Prince Edward Island". In 2012, the original novel Anne of Green Gables was ranked number nine among all-time best children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience.[97] The British public ranked it number 41 among all novels in The Big Read, a 2003 BBC survey to determine the "nation's best-loved novel".[98] The British scholar Faye Hammill observed that Montgomery is an author overshadowed by her creation as license plates in Prince Edward Island bear the slogan "P.E.I Home of Anne of Green Gables" rather than "P.E.I Birthplace of L.M Montgomery. Much to Montgomery's own annoyance, the media in both the United States and Canada tried to project the personality of Shirley onto her.

Landmarked places[edit]

Montgomery's home of Leaskdale Manse in Ontario, and the area surrounding Green Gables and her Cavendish home in Prince Edward Island, have both been designated National Historic Sites.[100][101] Montgomery herself was designated a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada in 1943.[102]

Bala's Museum in Bala, Ontario, is a house museum established in 1992. Officially it is "Bala's Museum with Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery", for Montgomery and her family stayed in the boarding house during a July 1922 holiday that inspired her novel The Blue Castle (1926). The museum hosts some events pertaining to Montgomery or her fiction, including re-enactment of the holiday visit.[103]

Honours and awards[edit]

Montgomery was honoured by Britain's King George V as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), as there were no Canadian orders, decorations or medals for civilians until the 1970s.

Montgomery was named a National Historic Person in 1943 by the Canadian federal government. Her Ontario residence was designated a National Historic Site (NHS) in 1997 (Leaskdale Manse NHS), while the place that inspired her famous novels, Green Gables, was designated "L. M. Montgomery's Cavendish NHS" in 2004.

On May 15, 1975, the Post Office Department issued a stamp to "Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables" designed by Peter Swan and typographed by Bernard N. J. Reilander. The 8¢ stamps are perforated 13 and were printed by Ashton-Potter Limited.[104]

A pair of stamps was issued in 2008 by Canada Post, marking the centennial of the publication of Montgomery's classic first novel.[105]

The City of Toronto named a park for her (Lucy Maud Montgomery Park) and in 1983 placed a historical marker there near the house where she lived from 1935 until her death in 1942.[106]

On November 30, 2015 (her 141st birthday), Google honoured Lucy Maud Montgomery with a Google Doodle published in twelve countries.[107]



Anne of Green Gables series[edit]

  1. Anne of Green Gables (1908)
  2. Anne of Avonlea (1909)
  3. Anne of the Island (1915)
  4. Anne of Windy Poplars (1936)
  5. Anne's House of Dreams (1917)
  6. Anne of Ingleside (1939)
  7. Rainbow Valley (1919)
  8. Rilla of Ingleside (1921)
  9. The Blythes Are Quoted (2009) — was submitted to publisher the day of her death but not published in its entirety until sixty-seven years later.

Emily trilogy[edit]

  1. Emily of New Moon (1923)
  2. Emily Climbs (1925)
  3. Emily's Quest (1927)

Pat of Silver Bush[edit]

  1. Pat of Silver Bush (1933)
  2. Mistress Pat (1935)

The Story Girl[edit]

  1. The Story Girl (1911)
  2. The Golden Road (1913)

Stand Alone Novels[edit]

Short story collection[edit]

  • Chronicles of Avonlea (1912)
    • "The Hurrying of Ludovic"
    • "Old Lady Lloyd"
    • "Each In His Own Tongue"
    • "Little Joscelyn"
    • "The Winning of Lucinda"
    • "Old Man Shaw's Girl"
    • "Aunt Olivia's Beau"
    • "Quarantine at Alexander Abraham's"
    • "Pa Sloane's Purchase"
    • "The Courting of Prissy Strong"
    • "The Miracle at Carmody"
    • "The End of a Quarrel"
  • Further Chronicles of Avonlea (1920)
    • "Aunt Cynthia's Persian Cat"
    • "The Materializing of Cecil"
    • "Her Father's Daughter"
    • "Jane's Baby"
    • "The Dream-Child"
    • "The Brother Who Failed"
    • "The Return of Hester"
    • "The Little Brown Book of Miss Emily"
    • "Sara's Way"
    • "The Son of his Mother"
    • "The Education of Betty"
    • "In Her Selfless Mood"
    • "The Conscience Case of David Bell"
    • "Only a Common Fellow"
    • "Tannis of the Flats"
  • The Road to Yesterday (1974)
    • "An Afternoon With Mr. Jenkins"
    • "Retribution"
    • "The Twins Pretend"
    • "Fancy's Fool"
    • "A Dream Come True"
    • "Penelope Struts Her Theories"
    • "The Reconciliation"
    • "The Cheated Child"
    • "Fool's Errand"
    • "The Pot and the Kettle"
    • "Here Comes the Bride"
    • "Brother Beware"
    • "The Road to Yesterday"
    • "A Commonplace Woman"
  • The Doctor's Sweetheart and Other Stories, selected by Catherine McLay (1979)
    • "Kismet"
    • "Emily's Husband"
    • "The Girl and the Wild Race"
    • "The Promise of Mary Ellen"
    • "The Parting of the Ways"
    • "The Doctor's Sweetheart"
    • "By Grace of Julius Caeser"
    • "Akin to Love"
    • "The Finished Story"
    • "My Lady Jane"
    • "Abel and His Great Adventure"
    • "The Garden of Spices"
    • "The Bride is Waiting"
    • "I Know a Secret"
  • Akin to Anne: Tales of Other Orphans, edited by Rea Wilmshurst (1988)
    • "Charlotte's Quest"
    • "Marcella's Reward"
    • "An Invitation Given on Impulse"
    • "Freda's Adopted Grave"
    • "Ted's Afternoon Off"
    • "The Girl Who Drove the Cows"
    • "Why Not Ask Miss Price?"
    • "Jane Lavinia"
    • "The Running Away of Chester"
    • "Millicent's Double"
    • "Penelope's Party Waist"
    • "The Little Black Doll"
    • "The Fraser Scholarship"
    • "Her Own People"
    • "Miss Sally's Company"
    • "The Story of an Invitation"
    • "The Softening of Miss Cynthia"
    • "Margaret's Patient"
    • "Charlotte's Ladies"
  • Along the Shore: Tales by the Sea, edited by Rea Wilmshurst (1989)
    • "The Magical Bond of the Sea"
    • "The Life-Book of Uncle Jesse"
    • "Mackereling Out in the Gulf"
    • "Fair Exchange and No Robbery"
    • "Natty of Blue Point"
    • "The Light on the Big Dipper"
    • "An Adventure on Island Rock"
    • "How Don Was Saved"
    • "A Soul That Was Not at Home"
    • "Four Winds"
    • "A Sandshore Wooing"
    • "The Unhappiness of Miss Farquhar"
    • "A Strayed Allegiance"
    • "The Waking of Helen"
    • "Young Si"
    • "A House Divided Against Itself"
  • Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side, edited by Rea Wilmshurst (1990)
  • After Many Days: Tales of Time Passed, edited by Rea Wilmshurst (1991)
  • Against the Odds: Tales of Achievement, edited by Rea Wilmshurst (1993)
  • At the Altar: Matrimonial Tales, edited by Rea Wilmshurst (1994)
  • Across the Miles: Tales of Correspondence, edited by Rea Wilmshurst (1995)
  • Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories, edited by Rea Wilmshurst (1995)
  • The Blythes Are Quoted, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre (2009) (companion book to Rilla of Ingleside)

Short stories by chronological order[edit]

  • Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories: 1896 to 1901 (2008)
    • "A Case of Trespass" (1897)
    • "A Christmas Inspiration" (1901)
    • "A Christmas Mistake" (1899)
    • "A Strayed Allegiance" (1897)
    • "An Invitation Given on Impulse" (1900)
    • "Detected by the Camera" (1897)
    • "In Spite of Myself" (1896)
    • "Kismet" (1899)
    • "Lillian's Business Venture" (1900)
    • "Miriam's Lover" (1901)
    • "Miss Calista's Peppermint Bottle" (1900)
    • "The Jest that Failed" (1901)
    • "The Pennington's Girl" (1900)
    • "The Red Room" (1898)
    • "The Setness of Theodosia" (1901)
    • "The Story of An Invitation" (1901)
    • "The Touch of Fate" (1899)
    • "The Waking of Helen" (1901)
    • "The Way of Winning Anne" (1899)
    • "Young Si" (1901)
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories: 1902 to 1903 (2008)
    • "A Patent Medicine Testimonial" (1903)
Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1884 (age 10)
Birthplace of Lucy Maud Montgomery
Leaskdale manse, home of Lucy Maud Montgomery from 1911 to 1926
Gravestone of Lucy Maud Montgomery
Title page of the first edition of Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908

This article is about the novel. For other uses, see Anne of Green Gables (disambiguation).

Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery (published as L. M. Montgomery). Written for all ages, it has been considered a children's novel since the mid-twentieth century. It recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in the fictional town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. The novel recounts how Anne makes her way with the Cuthberts, in school, and within the town.

Since its publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into at least 36 languages. Montgomery wrote numerous sequels, 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.[4]

The book has been adapted as films, made-for-television movies, and animated and live-action television series. Musicals and plays have also been created, with productions annually in Canada since 1964 of the first musical production, which has toured in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan.[5][6][7]


In writing the novel, Montgomery was inspired by notes she had made as a young girl about a couple who were mistakenly sent an orphan girl instead of the boy they had requested yet decided to keep her. She drew upon her own childhood experiences in rural Prince Edward Island, Canada. Montgomery used a photograph of Evelyn Nesbit, which she had clipped from New York’s Metropolitan Magazine and put on the wall of her bedroom, as the model for the face of Anne Shirley and a reminder of her "youthful idealism and spirituality."[8]

Montgomery was also inspired by the "formula Ann" orphan stories (called such because they followed such a predictable formula) which were popular at the time and distinguished her character by spelling her name with an extra "e".[9][10] She based other characters, such as Gilbert Blythe, in part on people she knew. She said she wrote the novel in the twilight of the day, while sitting at her window and overlooking the fields of Cavendish.[11]

Plot summary[edit]

Anne Shirley, a young orphan from the fictional community of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia (based upon the real community of New London, Prince Edward Island),[12][13] is sent to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, siblings in their fifties and sixties, after a childhood spent in strangers' homes and orphanages. Marilla and Matthew had originally decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage to help Matthew run their farm at Green Gables, which is set in the fictional town of Avonlea. Through a misunderstanding, the orphanage sends Anne instead.

Anne is highly imaginative, eager to please and, at times, quite a dramatic individual. However, she is defensive about her appearance, despising her red hair and pale, thin frame. She is often quite talkative, especially when it comes to describing her fantasies and dreams. At first, stern and sharp Marilla says Anne must return to the orphanage, but after much observation and considering, along with Matthew's strong liking to Anne, she decides to let her stay.

As a child of imagination, Anne takes much joy in life and adapts quickly, thriving in the close-knit farming village. Her imagination and talkativeness soon brighten up Green Gables.

The book recounts Anne's adventures in making a home: the country school where she quickly excels in her studies; her friendship with Diana Barry, the girl living next door (her best or "bosom friend" as Anne fondly calls her); her budding literary ambitions; and her rivalry with her classmate Gilbert Blythe, who teases her about her red hair. For that, he earns her instant hatred, although he apologizes many times. As time passes, Anne realizes she no longer hates Gilbert but cannot bring herself to speak to him.

The book also follows Anne's adventures with her new-found friends. Episodes include her play-time with her friends Diana, a calm girl named Jane Andrews and a good-natured but often hysterical girl called Ruby Gillis, and her run-ins with the unpleasant Pye sisters Gertie and Josie; and domestic mishaps such as dyeing her hair green while intending to dye it black, and accidentally getting Diana drunk by giving her what she thought was raspberrycordial but turned out to be currant wine.

At sixteen, Anne goes to Queen's Academy to earn a teaching license, along with Gilbert, Ruby, Josie, Jane, and several other students, excluding Diana much to Anne's dismay. She obtains her license in one year instead of the usual two and wins the Avery Scholarship for the top student in English. Her attainment of this scholarship would allow her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree at the fictional Redmond College (based on the real Dalhousie University) on the mainland in Nova Scotia.

Near the end of the book however, tragedy strikes when Matthew dies of a heart attack after learning that all of his and Marilla's money has been lost in a bank failure. Out of devotion to Marilla and Green Gables, Anne gives up the scholarship to stay at home and help Marilla, whose eyesight is failing. She plans to teach at the Carmody school, the nearest school available, and return to Green Gables on weekends. In an act of friendship, Gilbert Blythe gives up his teaching position at the Avonlea School to work at the White Sands School instead, knowing that Anne wants to stay close to Marilla after Matthew's death. After this kind act, Anne and Gilbert's friendship is cemented, and Anne looks forward to what life will bring next.


Green Gables household:

  • Anne Shirley: An imaginative, talkative, red-headed orphan who comes to live with Matthew Cuthbert and Marilla Cuthbert. Anne is very sensitive and dislikes the color of her hair. She exhibits categorical interest in everything romantic.
  • Marilla Cuthbert: Matthew's sister, she is an austere but fair woman who objects to Anne's imaginative, unusual conduct on the grounds of its being part of the same group of behavioral misconducts that bring about dereliction of responsibility or produce a disrespectful personal image. Life experience with Anne, however, profoundly affects Marilla's ways; in a very early instance, she experiences first-hand how worthless a confession under duress could be. Although conservative and austere, she is fond of Anne and has the glimmerings of a sense of humor.
  • Matthew Cuthbert: Marilla's brother, he is an overly shy, albeit kind, old man with a lumbering frame and above-average strength. Matthew takes a liking to Anne from the start and the two become fast friends. Because Marilla has primary responsibility for rearing the girl, he has no qualms about "spoiling" her and indulging her in pretty clothes and other frivolities.

Anne's schoolmates:

  • Diana Barry: Anne's bosom friend and a kindred spirit. Anne and Diana become best friends from the moment they meet. She is the only girl of Anne's age who lives close to Green Gables. Anne admires Diana for being pretty and for her amiable disposition. Diana lacks Anne's powerful imagination but is a loyal friend.
  • Gilbert Blythe: A handsome, smart, witty and chivalrous classmate who has a crush on Anne the moment he sees her. Unaware of Anne's near-pathological sensitivity about her red hair, he tries to get Anne's attention by holding her braid and calling her "Carrots!" Anne's explosively hostile reaction only causes Gilbert to be more smitten. He makes several attempts to apologize, the failure of all of which do not seem to mar his admiration. He attempts to apologize one last time when he saves Anne from drowning; Anne crassly rebuffs this attempt, only to regret it almost immediately. Years later, he gives up his job offer of teaching at the Avonlea school so that Anne may live at Green Gables, upon which the two reconcile and become good friends.
  • Ruby Gillis: Another of Anne's friends. Having several "grown up" sisters, Ruby loves to share her knowledge of beaux with her friends. Ruby is portrayed as traditionally beautiful with long golden hair. She is hysterical and suffers from consumption (tuberculosis).
  • Jane Andrews: One of Anne's friends from school, she is plain and sensible. She does well enough academically to join Anne's class at Queen's.
  • Josie Pye: A classmate generally disliked by the other girls (as are her siblings), Josie is vain, dishonest, and jealous of Anne's popularity.

Avonlea's locals:

  • Mrs. Rachel Lynde: A neighbour of Matthew and Marilla, Mrs. Lynde is an amalgamation of vices and virtues. She is industrious and helpful, and does work for the church, yet she is famous for being nosy and condescending. Although she and Anne start off the wrong foot, owing to Mrs. Lynde's blunt criticism and Anne's short temper, they soon become quite close. Mrs. Lynde is married and has raised ten children, although her husband, Thomas Lynde, is mentioned briefly and never speaks.
  • Mr. Phillips: Anne's first teacher at Avonlea, Mr. Phillips is unpopular with students, because of his boring and crude ways. In Anne's case, he continually misspells her name (without the "E") and punishes only her among twelve pupils who arrive late. He is described as lacking discipline, and "courts" one of his pupils openly (this was less frowned upon then as opposed to more contemporary times).
  • Miss Muriel Stacy: Anne's energetic replacement teacher. Her warm and sympathetic nature appeals to her students, but Avonlea's conservative parents disapprove of her liberal teaching methods. She forms a special relationship with Anne, who views her as a mentor. Miss Stacy encourages Anne to develop her character and intellect and helps prepare her for the entrance exam at Queen's Academy, where she finishes in a tie for first with Gilbert Blythe.
  • Reverend and Mrs. Allan: The minister and his wife also befriend Anne, with Mrs. Allan becoming particularly close. She is described as pretty.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Barry: Diana's parents. Mr. Barry farms. Near the end of the book, he offers to rent some tracts to help out Anne and Marilla, after Matthew's passing. Mrs. Barry has a severe personality, expecting her children to follow strict rules. After Anne accidentally gets Diana drunk, Mrs. Barry rejects the girl, forbidding Diana to have anything to do with Anne. This sanction is repealed after Anne saves Minnie May.
  • Minnie May Barry: Diana's baby sister, whose life is saved by Anne when she comes down with croup.


  • Miss Josephine Barry: Diana's great-aunt. Initially portrayed in a negative light, she is quickly charmed by Anne's imagination, and eventually invites her and Diana to tea. She refers to Anne as "the Anne-girl" and even sends Anne beaded slippers as a Christmas present.
  • Mrs Hammond: Anne had lived with her for a portion of her pre-Green-Gables life. She was very mean as a result of her husband′s death. Anne was treated more as a maid in her home than as a daughter or friend.

Related works[edit]

Based on the popularity of her first book, Montgomery wrote a series of sequels to continue the story of her heroine Anne Shirley. They are listed chronologically below, by Anne's age in each of the novels.

#BookDate publishedAnne Shirley's ageTimeline year
1Anne of Green Gables190811—161876-1881
2Anne of Avonlea190916—181881-1883
3Anne of the Island191518—221883-1887
4Anne of Windy Poplars (Canada and USA)
Anne of Windy Willows (UK and Australia)
5Anne's House of Dreams191725—271890-1892
6Anne of Ingleside193934—401899-1905
The following books focus on Anne's children, or on other family friends. Anne appears in these volumes, but plays a lesser part.
#BookDate publishedAnne Shirley's ageTimeline year
7Rainbow Valley191941—431906-1908
8Rilla of Ingleside192149—531914-1918
9The Blythes Are Quoted200940—751905-1940
Anne Shirley features in one story (and is referenced in other stories) in each of the following collections:
#BookDate publishedAnne Shirley's ageTimeline year
Chronicles of Avonlea1912approx. 201885
Further Chronicles of Avonlea1920approx. 201885

The prequel, Before Green Gables (2008), was written by Budge Wilson with authorization of heirs of L. M. Montgomery.

Tourism and merchandising[edit]

The province and tourist facilities have highlighted the local connections to the internationally popular novels. Anne of Green Gables has been translated into 36 languages.[14][15] "Tourism by Anne fans is an important part of the Island economy".[16] Merchants offer items based on the novels.

The Green Gables farmhouse is located in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. Many tourist attractions on Prince Edward Island have been developed based on the fictional Anne, and provincial licence plates once bore her image.[17] Balsam Hollow, the forest that inspired the Haunted Woods and Campbell Pond, the body of water which inspired The Lake of Shining Waters, both described in the book, are located in the vicinity.[18] In addition, the Confederation Centre of the Arts has featured the wildly successful Anne of Green Gables musical on its mainstage every summer for over five decades.[19] The Anne of Green Gables Museum is located in Park Corner, PEI, in a home that inspired L.M. Montgomery.[20]

The novel has been very popular in Japan, where it is known as Red-haired Anne,[21][22] and where it has been included in the national school curriculum since 1952. 'Anne' is revered as "an icon" in Japan, especially since 1979 when this story was broadcast as anime, Anne of Green Gables. Japanese couples travel to Prince Edward Island to have civil wedding ceremonies on the grounds of the Green Gables farm. Some Japanese girls arrive as tourists with red-dyed hair styled in pigtails, to look like Anne.[23] In 2014, Asadora 'Hanako to Anne' (Hanako Muraoka is the first translator in Japan) was broadcast and Anne became popular among old and young alike.

A replica of the Green Gables house in Cavendish is located in the theme park Canadian World in Ashibetsu, Hokkaido, Japan. The park was a less expensive alternative for Japanese tourists instead of traveling to P.E.I. The park hosted performances featuring actresses playing Anne and Diana. The theme park is open during the summer season with free admission, though there are no longer staff or interpreters.[24]

The Avonlea theme park near Cavendish and the Cavendish Figurines shop have trappings so that tourists may dress like the book's characters for photos.[25] Souvenir shops throughout Prince Edward Island offer numerous foods and products based on details of the 'Anne Shirley' novels. Straw hats for girls with sewn-in red braids are common, as are bottles of raspberry cordial soda.[26] In the first book, Lucy Maud Montgomery established the cordial soda as the favorite beverage of Anne, who declares: "I just love bright red drinks!"

Legacy and honours[edit]

  • The popularity of the books and subsequent film adaptations is credited with inspiring the design and naming of buildings "Green Gables". An example still standing is an apartment block called "Green Gables" built in the 1930s, in New Farm, Queensland, Australia.[27]
  • Bala's Museum, located in Bala, Ontario, Canada, is a house museum established in 1992 and dedicated to Lucy M. Montgomery information and heritage. The house was a tourist home owned by Fanny Pike when Montgomery and her family stayed there on a summer vacation in 1922. That visit to the region inspired the novel The Blue Castle (1926).[28] The town is named Deerwood in the novel; this was Montgomery's only narrative setting outside Atlantic Canada.[29][30][31]
Postage stamps
Reading lists
  • In 2003, Anne of Green Gables was ranked number 41 in The Big Read, a survey of the British public by BBC to determine the "nation's best-loved novel" (not children's novel).[34]
  • In 2012, it was ranked number nine among all-time children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience.[35]




  • Ana of California: A Novel (2015), by Andi Teran, is a “contemporary spin on Anne of Green Gables. The lead character of Anne Shirley has been adapted to Ana Cortez, a 15-year-old orphan who "can't tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush" when she leaves East Los Angeles for the Northern California farm of Emmett and Abbie Garber.[37]

Radio productions[edit]

  • Anne of Green Gables (1941), a British radio drama produced and broadcast by BBC Home Service Basic, adapted into four parts by Muriel Levy, and starring Cherry Cottrell as Anne.[4]
  • Anne of Green Gables (1944), a recreation of the 1941 BBC Radio drama, produced and broadcast by BBC Home Service Basic.[38]
  • Anne of Green Gables (1954), a Canadian radio drama produced and broadcast by CBC Radio, adapted into 13 parts by Andrew Allen and starring Toby Tarnow as Anne.[39]
  • Anna zo Zeleného domu (1966), a Slovak radio drama produced and broadcast by Czechoslovak Radio, starring Anna Bučinská as Anne.[40]
  • Anne of Green Gables (1971), a British radio drama produced and broadcast by BBC Radio 4, adapted into 13 parts by Cristina Sellors, and read by Ann Murray.[41]
  • Anne of Green Gables (1997), a British radio drama produced and broadcast by BBC Radio 4, dramatized into five parts by Marcy Kahan and starred Barbara Barnes as Anne.[42]

Stage productions[edit]

  • Anne of Green Gables: The Musical, performed annually in the summer, at Charlottetown Festival, since 1965, this is Canada's longest-running main stage musical production, and has had a total audience of more than 2 million.[43][44][45]Anne of Green Gables – The Musical was composed by Canadians Don Harron and Norman Campbell, with lyrics by Elaine Campbell and Mavor Moore. The production has been performed before Queen Elizabeth II and it has toured across Canada, the United States, and Europe. In 1969, it had a run in London's West End. The Charlottetown Festival production performed at the 1970 World's Fair in Osaka, Japan. Walter Learning directed and organized a successful national tour of the musical in Japan in 1991.[46]
  • The Guild in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, hosts Anne and Gilbert, The Musical. Written by Nancy White, Bob Johnston, and Jeff Hochhauser, the production is based on Montgomery's sequels featuring Anne Shirley.[47]
  • The Nine Lives of L.M. Montgomery, a musical adapted from Montgomery's novel and her life, opened at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown, Prince Edward Island on June 20, 2008, the 100th anniversary of the book's publication. With book and lyrics by Adam-Michael James and music by Emmy-nominated composer Leo Marchildon, the musical depicts events from Montgomery’s life and features as characters heroines from all of her novels. Anne figures prominently, and is shown from age 12 into her 40s. Gilbert Blythe also appears. The show’s second production was at the Carrefour Theatre in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and opened July 11, 2009. Both years, the musical was nominated for The Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation's Wendell Boyle Award. In July 2010, a concert version of the show toured Prince Edward Island, with four performances at Green Gables.[48]
  • Theatreworks USA, a New York-based children's theatre company, produced an Anne of Green Gables musical in 2006 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. A revived production, with musical contributions from Gretchen Cryer, is planned to tour grade-schools.[49]
  • The Peterborough Players, based in Peterborough, New Hampshire, staged an adaptation by Joseph Robinette of Anne of Green Gables in August 2009.[50]
  • Anne and Gilbert is a musical adaptation of the books Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island. It depicts the relationship of Anne and Gilbert during their years as teachers and college students, as well as their return to Avonlea.[51]

Television movies[edit]

  • Anne of Green Gables (1956), a made-for-television musical version directed by Norman Campbell and starring Toby Tarnow as Anne.
  • Anne de Green Gables (1957), a French-Canadian television film directed by Jacques Gauthier, starring Mireille Lachance as Anne Shirley.
  • Anne of Green Gables (1958), a recreation of the 1956 film directed by Don Harron, starring Kathy Willard as Anne.
  • Anne of Green Gables (1972), a British made-for-television 5-part mini-series directed by Joan Craft, starring Kim Braden as Anne.
  • Anne of Avonlea (1975), a British made-for-television 4-part mini-series directed by Joan Craft, starring Kim Braden as Anne.
  • Anne of Green Gables (1985), a CBC 4-hour television mini series directed by Kevin Sullivan with Megan Follows as Anne.
  • Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1987), a sequel to the 1985 miniseries which aired on CBC and the Disney Channel as Anne of Avonlea: The Continuing Story of Anne of Green Gables.
  • Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story (2000), a television miniseries inaccurately[neutrality is disputed] based upon the novels.
  • Anne: Journey to Green Gables (2005), an animated video film produced by Sullivan Entertainment and the prequel to Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series (2001–2002)
  • Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning (2008), a television miniseries whose script is not based on the novels.
  • L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables (2016), a 90-minute made-for-television adaptation of the book by Breakthrough Films & Television, which began filming in Toronto in May 2015.[52][53] Casting was held in February 2015.[54] (This replaces the previously announced 13-part series that had been set to film in 2013).[55] It was adapted by Susan Coyne, directed by John Kent Harrison, and stars Ella Ballentine as Anne.[56] The world premiere of the film, advertised under the abbreviated title Anne of Green Gables, on February 15, 2016 on YTV.
  • Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars aired on YTV on February 20, 2017.
  • Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew, aired July 1, 2017 on YTV.

Television series[edit]

  • Anne of Green Gables (1952), a BBC television series starring Carole Lorimer as Anne.[57]
  • Akage no An (1979; Red-Haired Anne), an animated television series, part of Nippon Animation's World Masterpiece Theater, produced in Japan and directed by Isao Takahata.
  • Road to Avonlea (1990–1996) shown on CBC, a live-action television series produced by Kevin Sullivan, based upon characters and episodes from several of L.M. Montgomery's books, excluding Anne Shirley. Gilbert Blythe, Marilla Cuthbert, Rachel Lynde and other characters from the Anne books are included, and the series is set within the same continuity as Sullivan's 1980s miniseries.
  • Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series (2000), a PBS Kids animated series for older children ages eight to twelve, created by Sullivan Entertainment Inc.
  • Kon'nichiwa Anne: Before Green Gables (2009), part of the World Masterpiece Theater, this prequel to Akage no An is based on Budge Wilson's authorized prequel Before Green Gables (2008).
  • Anne (2017), an eight-part TV series produced and broadcast by CBC in Canada, and released through Netflix internationally under the title, Anne with an "E".[58][59]

Web productions[edit]

  • Green Gables Fables (2014–2016), an American-Canadian web series which conveys the story in the form of Tumblr posts, tweets, vlogs, and other social media. It is a modern adaptation of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of the Island, with many of its elements changed to better suit 21st-century culture. Mandy Harmon portrays the main character, Anne Shirley.[60]
  • Project Green Gables (2015–2016), a Finnish web series and a modern adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, which conveys the story in the form of vlogs. Laura Eklund Nhaga plays Anne Shirley.[61]


As one of the most familiar characters in Canadian literature, Anne of Green Gables has been parodied by several Canadian comedy troupes, including CODCO (Anne of Green Gut) and The Frantics (Fran of the Fundy).


Sign marking trail through Balsam Hollow
Panorama of Green Gable farmhouse and grounds in Cavendish
Entrance to Anne of Green Gables Museum in Park Corner
Anne as she appeared in the 1979 Japanese anime adaptation of Anne of Green Gables.
Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series
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  50. ^""