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lucy m montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery

[mont-guhm-uh-ree, -guhm-ree]
Lucy Maud Montgomery CBE, (always called "Maud" by family and friends) and publicly known as L. M. Montgomery, (November 30, 1874April 24, 1942) was a Canadian author, best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908.

Once published, Anne of Green Gables was an immediate success. The central character, Anne, an orphaned girl, made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following. The first novel was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. The novels became the basis for the highly acclaimed 1985 CBC television miniseries, Anne of Green Gables and several other television movies and programs, including Road to Avonlea, which ran in Canada and the U.S. from 1990-1996.

Biography

Early life

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island on November 30, 1874. Her mother, Clara Woolner Macneill Montgomery, died of tuberculosis when Maud was a mere 21 months old. Her father, Hugh John Montgomery, moved to Saskatchewan when Montgomery was only seven years old. She went to live with her maternal grandparents, Alexander Marquis Macneill and Lucy Woolner Macneill, in the nearby community of Cavendish and was raised by them in a strict and unforgiving manner. In 1890, Montgomery was sent to live in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, with her father and stepmother, but returned to the home of her grandparents after a year.

In 1893, following the completion of her grade school education in Cavendish, she attended Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown. Completing a two year program in one year, she obtained her teaching certificate. In 1895 and 1896 she studied literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Writing career and family life

Upon leaving Dalhousie, Montgomery worked as a teacher in various island schools. As well, beginning in 1897, she began to have her short stories published in various magazines and newspapers. A prolific talent, Montgomery had over 100 stories published from 1897 to 1907 inclusive.

In 1898 Montgomery moved back to Cavendish to live with her widowed grandmother. For a short time in 1901 and 1902 she worked in Halifax for the newspapers Chronicle and Echo. She returned to live with and care for her grandmother in 1902. Montgomery was inspired to write her first books during this time on Prince Edward Island.

In 1908, Montgomery published her first book, Anne of Green Gables. Three years later, shortly after her grandmother's death, she married Ewen (found in Montgomery's notes and letters as "Ewan") Macdonald (1870 - 1943), a Presbyterian Minister, and 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 had three sons: Chester Cameron Macdonald (7 July 1912 – 1964), Hugh Alexander Macdonald, who was stillborn 13 August 1914 and inspired the death of Anne Shirley's first child, Joyce, in Anne's House of Dreams, and Ewan Stuart Macdonald (7 October 1915 – 1982).

Montgomery wrote her next eleven books from the Leaskdale manse. The structure was subsequently sold by the congregation and is now the Lucy Maud Montgomery Leaskdale Manse Museum. In 1926, the family moved in to 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 1935, upon her husband's retirement, Montgomery moved to Toronto, buying a house on the Humber River in the city's west end, which she named "Journey's End". Montgomery continued to write, publishing Jane of Lantern Hill in 1937, and the final Anne novel Anne of Ingleside in 1939.

Beginning in 1940, Montgomery began work on a collection of short stories and poems called The Blythes Are Quoted. The stories were previously published works that were slightly rewritten to include Anne and her family as mainly peripheral characters; the poems (in the context of the book) were accredited to Anne and her son Walter. The book was not published until 1974, when it was issued as The Road To Yesterday, with all but one of the poems removed.

Death and aftermath

It was reported at the time of her death that Montgomery died of congestive heart failure in Toronto. However, it was revealed by her granddaughter Kate Macdonald Butler in September 2008 that Montgomery suffered from depression and took her own life via a drug overdose. But there is another point of view.

In all, during her lifetime she had published 20 novels, over 500 short stories, an autobiography and a book of poetry. She was buried at the Cavendish Community Cemetery in Cavendish following her wake in the Green Gables farmhouse and funeral in the local Presbyterian church.

Her major collections are archived at the University of Guelph, while the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island coordinates most of the research and conferences surrounding her work. 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.

Trivia

  • She is mentioned in Nova Scotia fiction writer Barry Wood's short story "Nowhere to Go" published in England's Postscripts #14 in 2008.
  • It appears as though Montgomery was an admirer of the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth through the novels she wrote; in Anne of the Island two instances reveal knowledge of Wordsworth's works: "the glory and the dream" of youth is mentioned (from his "Ode: Intimations of Immortality") and also the "drinking in" of nature.
  • Montgomery was born on the same day as British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

Works

Novels

Short story collections

  • Chronicles of Avonlea (1912)
  • Further Chronicles of Avonlea (1920)
  • The Road to Yesterday (1974)
  • The Doctor's Sweetheart (1979)
  • Akin to Anne: Tales of Other Orphans (1988)
  • Along the Shore: Tales by the Sea (1989)
  • Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side (1990)
  • After Many Days: Tales of Time Passed (1991)
  • Against the Odds: Tales of Achievement (1991)
  • At the Altar: Matrimonial Tales (1994)
  • Across the Miles: Tales of Correspondence (1995)
  • Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories (1995)

Poetry

  • The Poetry of Lucy Maud Montgomery (1887)
  • The Watchman & Other Poems (1916)

Non-fiction

  • Courageous Women (1934) (with Marian Keith and Mabel Burns McKinley)

Autobiography

Notes

Reference

  • Gammel, Irene. "Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Story of L. M. Montgomery and Her Literary Classic." St. Martin's Press, New York, 2008. ISBN 0-312-38237-5.
  • Heilbron, Alexandra, “Remembering Lucy Maud Montgomery.” Dundurn Press, 2001. ISBN-13 9781550023626.

External links

Texts, images and collections

Audiobook

  • LibriVox (free audiobooks of public domain)

Organizations

Other information

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