May 15, 2018

L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s)

L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) edited by Rita Bode and Jean Mitchell

L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in April 2018. This book of scholarship examines L.M. Montgomery's appreciation for nature and her depictions of nature in her writings. It was edited by Rita Bode and Jean Mitchell. The volume contains contributions by Catriona Sandilands, Jennifer H. Litster, Nancy Holmes, Rita Bode, Elizabeth Rollins Epperly, Jean Mitchell, Kate Sutherland, Tara K. Parmiter, Paul Keen, Laura M. Robinson, Lesley D. Clement, and Idette Noomé.

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

A critical study of L.M. Montgomery’s relationship to the material world and the revealing interconnections between nature and culture.

L.M. Montgomery’s writings are replete with enchanting yet subtle and fluid depictions of nature that convey her intense appreciation for the natural world. At a time of ecological crises, intensifying environmental anxiety, and burgeoning eco-critical perspectives, L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) repositions the Canadian author’s relationship to nature in terms of current environmental criticism across several disciplines, introducing a fresh approach to her life and work.

Drawing on a wide range of Montgomery’s novels as well as her journals, this collection suggests that socio-ecological relationships encompass ideas of reciprocity, affiliation, autonomy, and the capacity for transformation in both the human and more-than-human worlds, and that these ideas are integral to Montgomery’s vision and her literary legacy. Framed by the twin themes of materiality and interrelationships, essays by scholars of literature, law, animal studies, anthropology, and ecology examine place, embodiment, and difference in Montgomery’s works and embrace the multiplicities embedded in the concept of nature.

Through innovative critical approaches, L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) opens up conversations about humans’ interactions with nature and the material environment.


“An emphasis on humanity’s interrelatedness with nature extends the significance of L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) past Montgomery studies and Canadian literary and cultural studies to engage with the larger issues of how humans’ interactions with nature shape our daily lives and the future of the planet.” Mary Jeanette Moran, Illinois State University

“This collection is significant for its ability to offer unexpected, highly convincing engagements with L. M. Montgomery’s work and disciplines far beyond the scope of traditional literary studies. It provides new perspectives on Montgomery’s oeuvre, while also extending the definition of environmental study and eco-critical analysis in this field.” Sarah Galletly, James Cook University

"The linked themes of understanding and empathy toward the natural world supply a bridge between the literary and the ecological, between the writer and the places she knew. Matter of Nature(s) is a wonderful opportunity to place one of Canada’s most prolific and well-known authors in a wider environmental history." American Review of Canadian Studies

“[L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s)] successfully offers a broad spectrum of insights on the ways in which Montgomery’s fiction and nonfiction address the conceptof interconnectedness between the human and the nonhuman. Each chapter provides a concise and clear analysis that points readers to new perspectives, and the breadth of the collection overall highlights many new avenues of research that remain to be explored.” International Research for Children’s Literature

The book includes the following content and essays:

Introduction: L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) by Rita Bode and Jean Mitchell

Part One: Nature’s Places

1. Fire, Fantasy, and Futurity: Queer Ecology Visits Silver Bush by Catriona Sandilands
2. The Scotsman, the Scribe, and the Spyglass: Going Back with L.M. Montgomery to Prince Edward Island by Jennifer H. Litster
3. Romantic Novelist as Naturalist: John Foster and the Bird Woman by Nancy Holmes
4. L.M. Montgomery’s “Indoors and Out”: Imagining an Organic Architecture by Rita Bode

Part Two: Nature’s Embodiments

5. Natural Bridge: L.M. Montgomery and the Architecture of Imaginative Landscapes by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly
6. L.M. Montgomery’s Neurasthenia: Embodied Nature and the Matter of Nerves by Jean Mitchell
7. The Education of Emily: Tempering a Force of Nature through Lessons in Law by Kate Sutherland
8. The Spirit of Inquiry: Nature Study and the Sense of Wonder in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne Books by Tara K. Parmiter

Part Three: Nature’s Otherness

9. “No London street Arabs for me”: The Unnatural Orphan in Anne of Green Gables by Paul Keen
10. Kindred Spirits: Kinship and the Nature of Nature in Anne’s House of Dreams and The Blue Castle by Laura M. Robinson
11. The Empathic Poetic Sensibility: Discerning and Embodying Nature’s Secrets by Lesley D. Clement
12. The Nature of the Beast: Pets and People in L.M. Montgomery’s Fiction by Idette Noomé

Image credit:
Book cover of L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) from McGill-Queen’s University Press.

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L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) edited by Rita Bode and Jean Mitchell

Created May 15, 2018. Last updated June 10, 2024.

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