“People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?” - L.M. Montgomery
Published in 1908, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables was an instant best-seller and quickly earned its place as a timeless classic. Written and set in Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, it tells the story of a middle-aged brother and sister who seek a boy to help them on their farm –– and are sent an orphan girl by mistake. That girl, Anne Shirley, is one of the most beloved characters in fiction: her antics, utterances, and “scope for imagination” have charmed generations from school ma’ams to statesmen and inspired dozens of spin-offs.
This conversation will look at the original novel’s background: who was Lucy Maud Montgomery, what experiences went into her writing, and how did the setting, a small island on the Eastern seaboard of Canada, populated by Scots, Irish and English immigrants, shape her most famous book? We’ll think about the pressures on a female writer in a Scots-Presbyterian community at the turn of the twentieth-century and trends in popular fiction at the time.
Montgomery’s descriptions of the natural beauty of her beloved Prince Edward Island are major reasons for the book’s ongoing appeal. We’ll go on a tour of the real-life inspirations for Bright River Station, the Lake of Shining Waters, the Haunted Wood, and other familiar scenes. Anne of Green Gables has drawn visitors from around the world to Canada for a hundred years and put Prince Edward Island on the literary map of the world.
Led by Dr. Jenny Litster, a renowned L.M. Montgomery scholar, together we will journey around the sites which inspired this Canadian classic, Anne of Green Gables.
About Your Expert
Born and raised in the Scottish Borders, Jenny moved to Edinburgh in the late 1980s to study History and English Literature. She later completed a PhD on the Scottish context of Canadian author L.M. Montgomery at the University of Edinburgh, where she also taught American History. Jenny worked in adult education research and policy at the Institute of Education, London for over a decade, living in Edinburgh and travelling regularly to Europe. Her main interests lie in Scottish literature, culture and folklore and in children's books. She has two daughters.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.
Dr. Litster is clearly passionate about Anne of Green Gables and LMM’s history and history of PEI! I’m planning a visit!
A presentation chock full of information for anyone who loves Anne of Green Gables but knows little about the author, Lucy Maud (without an e...) who is fascinating in her own way.
This was one of the best Context seminars I've attended, but I may be biased, because the subject is an absolute favorite! Dr. Litster was so knowledgeable and such a fantastic presenter about all things Anne.
I was so upset not be able to attend this live (work called), as I've asked Dr. Litster for this talk at every previous talk of hers that I've attended. It was just wonderful to hear about Anne, Lucy Maud Montgomery and PEI itself in an engaging way. I especially loved the photos from Prince Edward Island. Now I can start asking for a sequel talk.
I've enjoyed the Netflix series on Anne of Green Gables and wanted know about the author. I was not disappointed. Dr. Lister wove the stories we know about Anne into the life of the author, L.M. Montgomery. What a treat.