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This course will be offered for the first time this October 2023 (Anne’s favourite month)

Within weeks of its 1908 publication, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables became a bestseller. Over the years, this charming orphan story put Montgomery and her imaginative Prince Edward Island on a global map.

Despite the fact that Anne of Green Gables is Canada’s bestselling novel throughout the world—or because of it—Montgomery was ignored by the literati and scholarship. Montgomery was a public intellectual, the first female Canadian fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and invested Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Still she was dismissed as “just” a children’s writer, a regionalist, or a woman. It was 25 years after Montgomery’s death before children’s literature and feminist scholars began to recover her work as worthy of study.

While there is a robust field of Montgomery scholarship, there are areas where our focus is sometimes too narrow. One of these is the category of “realistic” fiction. While there is a kind of verisimilitude about everyday life in the late Victorian era in her work, the realism is pressed to the margins of definition as Montgomery romanticizes the worlds she creates. And can we disagree that there is something magical about Anne herself? By changing our way of approach and by looking at Anne of Green Gables as a fantasy novel, what can we unveil in this classic novel?

Native Prince Edward Islander and Montgomery scholar Brenton Dickieson will lead students through a rereading of Anne of Green Gables using the lenses we use to study fantasy and speculative fiction with the goal of allowing one of the greatest living children’s books to live in new ways.

Required Texts

Anne of Green Gables, available cheaply in paperback, in public domain digitally as an eBook, in Kindle, and in a variety of audiobook readings. The pre-publication manuscript is transcribed in book form and is available in a full online form, with a French translation and reading resources at https://annemanuscript.ca/). Anne of Green Gables is available in 40+ languages, and students are encouraged to read in other languages provided they know the English text well enough to comment.

Knowledge of the other eight Anne novels or Montgomery’s other work is not necessary.

Recommended text for writers, literary critics, and literature students:
• Elizabeth R. Epperly, The Fragrance of Sweet-Grass: L.M. Montgomery's Heroines and the Pursuit of Romance (1994; 2014; available in print and eBook)

Recommended biographical resources:
• Montgomery’s selected diaries are fully available in print with an index. Her complete diaries are available in print up to the mid-1930s. There are selections of her letters available in print.
• Critical Biography: Mary Henley Rubio, Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (2010; available in print and kindle)
• Young Adult Biography: Liz Rosenberg, House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery Paperback (2020), with illustrations by Julie Morstad (available in print, Kindle, and audiobook)
Check out Current and Upcoming offerings from:

Iterations

October 2023 Confirmed

If you're interested in this course...

If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].