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Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Story of L. M. Montgomery and Her Literary Classic Hardcover – July 8, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312382375
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312382377
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,855,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The 100th anniversary of the publication of the still-popular Anne of Green Gables (50 million copies sold to date) is being greeted by a flurry of activity, including a new edition of the novel; a prequel, Before Green Gables (2008), written by Canadian Budge Wilson; and, now, this new biography of Anne’s creator and alterego, Lucy Maude Montgomery. Gammel, a Canadian academic and editor of several earlier collections of Anne-related essays, is clearly a fan, and, frankly, her prodigiously researched and breathlessly written study will have its primary appeal to other fans. Her revelations “for the first time” of the inspirations for Anne’s face and the character itself provide persuasive answers to some lingering questions about the genesis of the fiery redhead. But they will be of interest principally to what Margaret Atwood has tartly called “The Annery.” General readers will be interested, however, in Gammel’s careful deconstruction of the context—early-twentieth-century popular culture—for Anne’s creation and the complex personality of the woman who found refuge from her own unhappy life in the creation of Anne and her beloved Avonlea. --Michael Cart

Review

"Drawing on a vast array of neglected and unknown sources, this groundbreaking study establishes new connections between Montgomery's isolated life in Cavendish, P.E.I., and the metropolitan existence that she consumed vicariously through magazines published in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Looking for Anne is a highly readable, top-rate study that [provides] a new spin on Montgomery's text."— Globe and Mail (click here for the full article, "Eternally Anne")

"Rather than simply rehashing available material, Ryerson professor and noted literary researcher Irene Gammel … explores the social and literary influences that guided and inspired Montgomery in creating her impetuous heroine. … Even more fascinating is the amount of inspiration Montgomery found in the myriad of current magazines and journals that made their way into her hands via the desk of her grandmother the town postmistress." — Quill and Quire


"Looking for Anne is a fascinating and wonderful book. It brings forward an amazing wealth of new information, filling in many gaps (some of which I didn’t even know existed!), and is presented in a captivating narrative that is very well organized and a great read. The research is fabulous…. It’s rather like the Road to Xanadu.”— Carole Gerson, Simon Fraser University and co-editor of History of the Book in Canada

"... The material is incredible, the interpretive work unsurpassable. "— Holly Virginia Blackford, Rutgers University-Camden.


More About the Author

Irene Gammel is Professor of English and holds the Canada Research Chair in Modern Literature and Culture and at Ryerson University, Toronto. She is also the director of the Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre, which is dedicated to the preservation and study of early twentieth-century modern texts and artifacts. She is has published eleven books, including the internationally-acclaimed Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada and Everyday Modernity: A Cultural Biography (MIT Press, 2002) and most recently Body Sweats: The Uncensored Writings by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (MIT Press 2011). Irene Gammel is well-known for her scholarship on gender, identity, and modernism. Her research has helped uncover the earliest roots of modern and feminist performance art, contributed to the consolidation of L.M. Montgomery Studies as an academic field, and claimed women's confessional discourses as a sub-discipline of autobiographical studies.

Irene Gammel has served as president of the Canadian Comparative Literature Association, editorial board member of Canadian Literature, co-chair of the L. M. Montgomery Institute, vice-president of the Canadian Comparative Literature Association, and director of Women's Studies at UPEI. She has also served as a visiting scholar at the Centre for Comparative Literature and Department of English at the University of Toronto (Spring 2004), as well as visiting professor at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena and Erfurt Universität in Germany (Spring 2001). In 2009, she was elected a member of the Royal Society of Canada.

Customer Reviews

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I saw the book at my library and picked it up out of curiosity.
JMD
I recently made a trip to Prince Edward Island and picked up a number of books related to L.M. Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables.
Nancy Smith
It's well written and while much of it is theoretical, it's really enjoyable to see someone picking at Maud's mind.
Catherine Eaton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Smith on August 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I recently made a trip to Prince Edward Island and picked up a number of books related to L.M. Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables. I actually had passed on this one because I saw that Amazon had such a fantastic price on it. Anyway, as an Anne of Green Gables and L.M. Montgomery junkie, I've read practically every book on Maud and her work and this one is by far the best. The research in this book is positively amazing. Kudos to the author for digging so deeply and for taking the time to be so complete and thorough. However, I don't want people to think that this is some dry scholarly book, on the contrary, it is almost impossible to put down. Not only does the author dig up facts, she analyzes them with exceptional insight and brillance. She knows her subjects backwards and forwards. At times during the book, one could almost sense the presence of Maud Montgomery herself. It is as though she whispered her secrets to the author who then revealed them to us the readers. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Anne or Maud. It is as close as a book can come to being perfect.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JMD on October 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read the Anne of GG books as a girl and watched the PBS movies countless times, but I'm not an Anne fanatic. For example, I've never visited PEI. :) I also don't really like to read biographies. I saw the book at my library and picked it up out of curiosity. So I'm not the typical reviewer of this book...

But I can't put it down! It reads like a mystery about how Maud was inspired to write Anne. It also has reflective commentary on the themes in the Anne books, which is interesting to think about in terms of what Anne meant to me while I was her age. And the reliance on Maud's diaries for piecing together history is intriguing to me, as someone who has sporadically kept diaries.

Overall, I am thoroughly enjoying the book -- it is my guilty pleasure every day.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Cherie Miller on September 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was disappointed by two aspects of this book. The first was the dramatic style of writing by the author. Just write, we get it.

The second was that I expected a biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery's life, but I really didn't get a sense of who she was. This book ends near the publication date of "Anne," so I don't know anything about Maud's marriage, move west, birth of her 2 sons (I don't even know their names!), and when she and her husband die.

This is more of a scholarly look at the life of the book, instead of it's creator, so I was disappointed in that. There are also some allusions to lesbianism, but they're unfounded. No facts are brought to bear on that allegation. It just seems too "fashionable" to publish some "dirt" on this pastor's wife. It's speculation - looking back on 100 years of history - and I didn't like it. (The same thing was said when the author alludes that Hans Christian Anderson was a homosexual.) If you're going to make such statements, at least provide me with FACTS, not speculation. It's tawdry.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Durkin on May 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's funny, but as you grow up you do see the flaws in your childhood icons, but it doesn't really hurt as much now as I think it would have back then. I loved the Green Gables books and have read almost everything that LM Montgomery has written back in the resurgence of her popularity in the 80s. Thought she was just about the most perfect writer, and all her books were so romantic, etc. I think I saw what I wanted to see. As Gammel points out, Montgomery really didn't have much romance in her, and most of her characters lasting relationships are with their best girl friends. She also was a bit of a snob, which does explain some references in her books that I always wondered about.

This was a very interesting book, retreading things I did know but putting them in a new light. Anyone who grew up reading Green Gables, or the Emily Series should pick this up.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By L. K. Brestovansky on December 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Like other reviewers, I picked this book up at the library thinking it was a biography of L.M. Montgomery and how her classic stories came to be written. Like other reviewers I was put off by allegations of Montgomery's lesbianism without any real proof. The author of the book seems to forget that society was much different in those days in many respects (the friendships between women; the recognition that some parts of life are intended to remain private and not even included in journal entries; and that pre-teen girls were not generally permitted to read bodice-ripping romances (hence the relationship between Gilbert and Anne was romantic rather than sexual).Personally, I long for the days when society was reserved and there was room for romance rather than these days of reality TV and tabloids.

Further I had to laugh out loud at some of the pseudopsychological claptrap the author used to explain why Anne's hair was red. I don't have the book in front of me or I'd quote it directly, but believe me it was a hoot. Her hair was red, get over it.

Lastly, as I said, I was disappointed that the book was not a biography. For example, it only mentions the year of Montgomery's death as a year or two before or after her husband's (again, I don't have the book in front of me) and does not list the cause.

This was the only biography I had seen about Ms. Montgomery. I hope there are others out there that are not so lurid. She deserves better.
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