The call for proposals for L.M. Montgomery and War, the eleventh biennial conference hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute and held at the University of Prince Edward Island on 26–29 June 2014, has a new deadline of 15 August 2013! Please visit the new conference Facebook page for all the latest updates!
“And you will tell your children of the Idea we fought and died for—teach them it must be lived for as well as died for, else the price paid for it will have been given for nought.” — Rilla of Ingleside (1921)
“I am thankful now, Jem, that Walter did not come back … and if he had seen the futility of the sacrifice they made then mirrored in this ghastly holocaust …” — The Blythes Are Quoted (2009)
The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, a global conflict that would prove life-changing for L.M. Montgomery and millions of her contemporaries. For the eleventh biennial conference hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island, we invite proposals for papers that consider war in relation to L.M. Montgomery’s fiction, poetry, life writing, photographs, and scrapbooks, and the range of adaptations and spinoffs in the areas of film, television, theatre, tourism, and online communities.
Montgomery’s 1921 novel Rilla of Ingleside is one of the only contemporary accounts of Canadian women’s experience on the homefront during the First World War, but the War is evoked and implied in direct and indirect ways in many of the novels, short stories, and poems that precede and follow it. The Blythes Are Quoted, Montgomery’s final published work, bridges the years between the First World War and the Second World War, complicating Montgomery’s perspectives and thoughts about war and conflict. Montgomery’s work has met with a variety of responses world-wide during times of war and rebellion, from post-WWII Japan to today’s Middle Eastern countries. Different kinds of wars and rebellions also permeate her fiction and life writing—class conflicts, family disputes, gender and language wars—sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic. This conference seeks to take stock of the complex ways in which war in all its forms has influenced Montgomery’s works and their reception, both in Canada and around the world.
Possible topics include: the Great War anticipated, revisited, remembered, and re-imagined; the politics of gendered witnessing; Montgomery’s reception in times of war and conflict; chivalry, patriarchy, conflict, and romance in poetry and fiction; war as an agent of change; internal and external rebellion in relation to war; the psychology of war in battle and on the homefront.
Proposals should clearly articulate the proposed paper’s argument and demonstrate familiarity with current scholarship in the field (please see http://lmmresearch.org/bibliography for an updated bibliography). For more information, please contact the conference co-chairs, Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre (email@example.com) and Dr. Andrea McKenzie (firstname.lastname@example.org). Submit a proposal of 200–250 words, a biographical statement of 70 words, and a list of A/V requirements by 15 August 2013 by using our online form at the L.M. Montgomery Institute website at http://www.lmmontgomery.ca/. Proposals for workshops, exhibits, films, and performances are also welcomed. Since all proposals are vetted blind, they should include no identifying information.
The Early Canadian Literature Series returns to print rare texts deserving restoration to the canon of Canadian texts in English. Including novels, periodical pieces, memoirs, and creative non-fiction, the series showcases texts by Indigenous peoples and immigrants from a range of ancestral, language, and religious origins. Each volume includes an afterword by a prominent scholar providing new interpretations for all readers.
I’m series editor, and the series is supported by an advisory board consisting of Andrea Cabajsky (Université de Moncton), Carole Gerson (Simon Fraser University), and Cynthia Sugars (University of Ottawa).
The first title in the series, Ralph Connor’s novel The Foreigner: A Tale of Saskatchewan (1909), with an afterword by Daniel Coleman (McMaster University), is scheduled for publication in December 2013. It will be followed by two more titles in early 2014: George Copway’s The Traditional History and Characteristic Sketches of the Ojibway Nation (1850), with an afterword by Shelley Hulan (University of Waterloo), and Nellie L. McClung’s Painted Fires (1925), with an afterword by Cecily Devereux (University of Alberta).
Several more titles are in preparation, and we warmly welcome suggestions for future titles.
I’m very pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of my next book, The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print, which will be published by University of Toronto Press in October 2013. It will be followed by two additional volumes.
“Lucy Maud of Macneill Farm,” my review of The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1889–1900, edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, appears in today’s issue of The Globe and Mail.
Although the ninth biennial international conference at the University of Prince Edward Island is still a few weeks away, I’m pleased to circulate the call for papers for a collection of essays on the conference theme, to be edited by me and Andrea McKenzie.
“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
—The Golden Road (1913)
“And even if you are not Abegweit-born you will say, ‘Why … I have come home!’”
—“Prince Edward Island” (1939)
The University of Toronto Press has expressed interest in publishing a collection of essays entitled L.M. Montgomery and Cultural Memory, using papers presented at the ninth biennial conference hosted by the L.M. Montgomery Institute as a starting point. We invite the submission of full-length papers that consider these issues in relation to Montgomery’s fiction, poetry, life writing, photographs, and scrapbooks, as well as the range of adaptations in the areas of film, television, theatre, tourism, and online communities.
A term that originated in the field of archaeology and that now resonates in a wide range of disciplines, cultural memory refers to the politics of remembering and forgetting, sometimes in opposition to official versions of the past and the present. Within textual studies, the term invites us to consider the ways in which the past, the present, and the future are remembered, recorded, and anticipated by members of a collective and encoded into text. As a result, cultural memory touches on a number of key concerns, including identity, belonging, citizenship, home, community, place, custom, religion, language, landscape, and the recovery and preservation of cultural ancestries.
But what versions of Prince Edward Island, of Canada, of the world do Montgomery’s work and its derivatives encourage readers to remember? How do gender and genre (not to mention religion and power) affect and shape Montgomery’s selective and strategic ways of remembering in her fiction and life writing? What acts of memory can be found in the depiction of writers, diarists, letter writers, oral storytellers, poets, and domestic artists in her fiction? What roles do domesticity, nature, conflict, and war play in the shaping and reshaping of cultural memory? To what extent do nostalgia and antimodernism drive Montgomery texts in print and on screen? How have these selective images of time and place been adapted to fit a range of reading publics all over the world?
All submissions should rely on relevant theory and scholarship that will help anchor discussions of Montgomery’s work within the field of cultural memory. They should refer to the Seal editions of Montgomery’s fiction (except for Rilla of Ingleside and The Blythes Are Quoted, for which papers should refer to the recent Penguin Canada editions). All citations (including references to Montgomery texts) should be given in endnotes and be accompanied by a bibliography of references; for more information, consult chapters 16–17 of the Chicago Manual of Style. Submissions should include two files: in the first, a paper of 5000–6000 words (including endnotes), and in the second, a bibliography of all sources consulted as well as a bionote of a maximum of 100 words.
Please submit your files as Word files to the volume editors: Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre (email@example.com) and Dr. Andrea McKenzie (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 September 2012. Queries are welcomed at any time.
It’s been announced recently that the South Dakota State Historical Society Press is preparing an annotated edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s memoir “Pioneer Girl,” with plans to publish the book in June 2013. It’s being prepared by Pamela Smith Hill, author of the exceptional biography Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, which I found filled with wonderful new insights and information about Wilder, her families, and her communities.
I started reading Wilder’s books as a boy, around the same time that I watched reruns of the TV show Little House on the Prairie on the nearest CBS affiliate. Unlike a number of readers of Wilder’s texts who detested the TV show due to the huge liberties taken with the story, I found both Little House worlds equally interesting, in spite of the differences in terms of medium and storytelling style (also, alas, the books did not have extreme close-ups of Pa crying). Moreover, I’ve continued to be interested in both adapted texts and adaptations as an adult. The TV show Little House on the Prairie remains a guilty pleasure, and I confess to enjoying the wide range of parodies and mash-ups I’ve seen on YouTube. My research in the field of Ingalls-Wilder-Lane studies hasn’t been extensive, except for a few review articles and a website that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, but this fall I’ll be publishing a chapter entitled “Our Home on Native Land: Adapting and Readapting Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie” in my latest collection of essays, Textual Transformations in Children’s Literature. (I went over the copy-edited version not too long ago and am currently waiting for proofs. The book should be out in August or September.)
This week I started rereading Wilder’s novel Farmer Boy (the one about Almanzo), partly because I haven’t reread it in ages and partly because I’m trying to make sense of a recent sequel entitled Farmer Boy Goes West. I’ve also had a blast reading recent memoirs by Melissa Gilbert, Alison Arngrim, and Melissa Anderson, three of the actors from the TV show. I always enjoy knowing more about the people behind texts or shows that I like—even (or especially) aspects that reveal them to be real human beings.
Anyway, I’m glad Pioneer Girl will finally be available in book form. I read parts of one draft on microfilm, and it was enough to convince me that it’s a significantly different story than the one told in Wilder’s autofiction. These differences are important, especially because of the misconception that Wilder’s books are straightforward autobiography or memoir. They are, in a sense, but without insisting on total historical accuracy. In the final analysis, they are not history, but story.
Wilder’s literary and cultural legacy shows no signs of slowing down. Her books are about to be reissued in the Library of America, in two paperback volumes and in a boxed set of hardcovers, both of which are definitely on my to-buy list. Her (largely negative) depiction of Native Americans is complex and complicated (at least to an extent), and it needs to be discussed more, especially since the novel Little House on the Prairie is still being bought for children. And while there have been numerous attempts to keep the story going by devising all kinds of prequels, sequels, interquels, sidequels, abridgments, and activity books, none of these offshoots—except for the TV show Little House on the Prairie—has endured. It’s Wilder’s own story that continues to be read, reread, and discussed as a particular slice of U.S. colonial history and children’s literature. And so having access to Wilder’s original first-person memoir, which she transformed into a set of children’s books after being unable to sell it, will add tremendously to our understanding of how this purportedly “true” story came to be shaped and reshaped.
A website for the Pioneer Girl Project has also been launched, and I for one look forward to seeing more details about this book as they become available.
UPDATE: Speaking of Laura Ingalls Wilder, my friend Melanie Fishbane has just published a guest blog entry on the excellent website Beyond Little House, which is the go-to place for everything Wilder-related. She discusses the chapter “Almanzo Says Good-By” from These Happy Golden Years and even throws in the weird-but-fascinating TV movie Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, where the keyword “true” definitely belongs in quotation marks (but it’s fascinating nonetheless)
UPDATE 2: I guess I should mention that Mel and I actually drove to Dearborn, Michigan in November 2010 to see a Laura Ingalls Wilder exhibit there. You can read more about it in Mel’s blog post, where I’m the unidentified “friend.”
I’m pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of my collection of essays Textual Transformations in Children’s Literature: Adaptations, Translations, Reconsiderations, which will be published in the Children’s Literature and Culture series by Routledge in Fall 2012.
This book offers new critical approaches for the study of adaptations, abridgments, translations, parodies, and mash-ups that occur internationally in contemporary children’s culture. It follows recent shifts in adaptation studies that call for a move beyond fidelity criticism, a paradigm that measures the success of an adaptation by the level of fidelity to the “original” text, toward a methodology that considers the adaptation to be always already in conversation with the adapted text. This book visits children’s literature and culture in order to consider the generic, pedagogical, and ideological underpinnings that drive both the process and the product. Focusing on novels as well as folktales, films, graphic novels, and anime, the authors consider the challenges inherent in transforming the work of authors such as William Shakespeare, Charles Perrault, L.M. Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and A.A. Milne into new forms that are palatable for later audiences particularly when—for perceived ideological or political reasons—the textual transformation is not only unavoidable but entirely necessary. Contributors consider the challenges inherent in transforming stories and characters from one type of text to another, across genres, languages, and time, offering a range of new models that will inform future scholarship.
In honour of Remembrance Day, two recent blog entries have appeared discussing L.M. Montgomery’s depiction of the Great War in Rilla of Ingleside and The Blythes Are Quoted. First, Christine Chettle discusses Walter Blythe’s poems “The Piper” and “The Aftermath” on the website for the Centre for Canadian Studies at the University of Leeds:
Most famous for her tale of cheerful red-headed orphan Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery offers a more complicated view of the Canadian war experience. Like many of her contemporaries, the fiercely patriotic Montgomery viewed World War I as a struggle for liberty against a threat of evil from Kaiser’s Germany.
It is hard for us to imagine that one hundred years ago, the boys we grew up with, the men we may have worked with and our brothers, husbands and partners would have joined in the wake of that strong call to arms in the belief that Canada, as an English colony, was in real danger. It is also hard to imagine, that many of those same men never came home. If we consider Montgomery’s fictional world of Ingleside, as a representation of the different townships across Canada, than I think we will begin to understand the magnitude WWI (and subsequent wars) had on our nation’s history.
I received my copies this week of the paperback edition of L.M. Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside, which I edited jointly with Andrea McKenzie and which was published in hardcover last October. The official street date is next Tuesday, 1 November 2011, but it’s already available for order at Amazon.ca and for purchase at bookstores. Order or buy your copy today!
Rilla of Ingleside—originally written as the final sequel to Anne of Green Gables—focuses on Rilla Blythe, the pretty and high-spirited youngest daughter of Anne Shirley. The novel paints a vivid and compelling picture of the women who battled to keep the home fires burning throughout the tumultuous years of the First World War. Using her own wartime experience, Montgomery recreates the laughter and grief, poignancy and suspense, struggles and courage of Canadian women at war. This special gift edition includes Montgomery’s complete, restored, and unabridged original text, as well as a thoughtful introduction from the editors, a detailed glossary, maps of Europe during the war, and war poems by L.M. Montgomery and her contemporary Virna Sheard.
“A tried-and-true wartime novel … Poignant, funny, sentimental, ironic, suspenseful, and heartbreaking.” —Toronto Star
“An essential purchase for all libraries, a wonderful read for adults and youth aged twelve and up, and a great resource for students of World War I. Highly recommended.” —CM Magazine