October 20, 2015

L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911-1942

L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911-1942 edited by Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement

L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911-1942 was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in October 2015. This volume of scholarship examines L.M. Montgomery's life and work during her decades living in Ontario, Canada. The book was edited by Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement. There are contributions by Elizabeth Waterston, Mary Beth Cavert, Margaret Steffler, Laura M. Robinson, Caroline E. Jones, William V. Thompson, Melanie J. Fishbane, Katherine Cameron, Emily Woster, Natalie Forest, E. Holly Pike, Linda Rodenburg, Kate Sutherland, Lesley D. Clement, and Kate Macdonald Butler.

Here's the description of the volume from McGill-Queen’s University Press:

Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) and Anne of Green Gables will always be associated with Prince Edward Island, Montgomery's childhood home and the setting of her most famous novels. Yet, after marrying Rev. Ewan Macdonald in 1911, she lived in Ontario for three decades. There she became a mother of two sons, fulfilled the duties of a minister's wife, advocated for copyright protection and recognition of Canadian literature, wrote prolifically, and reached a global readership that has never waned.

Engaging with discussions on both her life and her fiction, L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valleys explores the joys, sorrows, and literature that emerged from her transformative years in Ontario. While this time brought Montgomery much pleasure and acclaim, it was also challenged and complicated by a sense of displacement and the need to self-fashion and self-dramatize as she struggled to align her private self with her public persona. Written by scholars from various fields and including a contribution by Montgomery's granddaughter, this volume covers topics such as war, religion, women's lives, friendships, loss, and grief, focusing on a range of related themes to explore Montgomery's varied states of mind.

An in-depth study of one of Canada's most internationally acclaimed authors, L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valleys shows how she recreated herself as an Ontario writer and adapted to the rapidly changing world of the twentieth century.

Contributors include Elizabeth Waterston (Guelph), Mary Beth Cavert (Independent), Margaret Steffler (Trent), Laura M. Robinson (Royal Military College), Caroline E. Jones (Austin Community College), William V. Thompson (Grant MacEwan University), Melanie J. Fishbane (Humber College), Katherine Cameron (Concordia University College), Emily Woster (Minnesota-Duluth), Natalie Forest (York), E. Holly Pike (Memorial-Grenfell), Linda Rodenburg (Lakehead-Orillia), Kate Sutherland (York), Lesley D. Clement (Lakehead-Orillia), Kate Macdonald Butler (Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc.).


“With its interest in placing Montgomery’s work in new cultural and historical contexts, L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys expands our understanding of this canonical Canadian author. Although there is no disputing that PEI had an enduring impact on Montgomery's literary sensibility, Ontario played its part too, as the essays in this collection abundantly reveal.” Janice Fiamengo, University of Ottawa

“Coherent and well-structured, L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys breaks new ground with its singular focus on the Ontario years. It will unquestionably command the attention of an academic audience, but is also accessible to the general reader who has an interest in Montgomery or in Canadian culture.” Joy Alexander, Queen’s University, Belfast

L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valleys is important because it resists Montgomery’s own obsessive returns to Prince Edward Island, as well as those of her readers and critics. The collection remains grounded in her Ontario experience, demonstrating its influence on all the writing she did in the second half of her life.” The Times Literary Supplement

The book includes the following content and essays:

Introduction by Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement


1. Leaskdale: L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valley by Elizabeth Waterston

A New Home in Leaskdale: War and Religion

2. “To the Memory of”: Leaskdale and Loss in the Great War by Mary Beth Cavert
3. “Being a Christian” and a Presbyterian in Leaskdale by Margaret Steffler

The Changing World of Women: Mother, Daughter, Friend

4. “A Gift for Friendship”: Revolutionary Friendship in Anne of the Island and The Blue Castle by Laura M. Robinson
5. The New Mother at Home: Montgomery’s Literary Explorations of Motherhood by Caroline E. Jones

Shadows in Rainbow Valley: Loss and Grief

6. The Shadow on the House of Dreams: Montgomery’s Re-Visioning of Anne by William V. Thompson
7. “My Pen Shall Heal, Not Hurt”: Writing as Therapy in Rilla of Ingleside and The Blythes Are Quoted by Melanie J. Fishbane


L.M.M. by Katherine Cameron

A Sense of Place: Reading and Writing

8. Old Years and Old Books: Montgomery’s Ontario Reading and Self-Fashioning by Emily Woster
9. (Re)Locating Montgomery: Prince Edward Island Romance to Southern Ontario Gothic by Natalie Forest

Travels to Muskoka: Commodification and Tourism

10. Propriety and the Proprietary: The Commodification of Health and Nature in The Blue Castle by E. Holly Pike
11. Bala and The Blue Castle: The “Spirit of Muskoka” and the Tourist Gaze by Linda Rodenburg

Life in Toronto: Professional and Cultural Links

12. Advocating for Authors and Battling Critics in Toronto: Montgomery and the Canadian Authors Association by Kate Sutherland
13. Toronto’s Cultural Scene: Tonic or Toxin for a Sagged Soul? by Lesley D. Clement


14. Dear Grandmother Maud on the Road to Heaven by Kate Macdonald Butler


Montgomery’s Ontario Legacies: A Community Presence in the Twenty-First Century by Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement with the assistance of Kristina Eldridge and Chloe Verner

Image credit:

Book cover of L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911-1942 from McGill-Queen’s University Press.

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L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911-1942 edited by Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement

Created October 20, 2015. Last updated June 7, 2024.
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