January 27, 2022

Thoughts on "The 'Anne of Green Gables' V.R. Experience"

The "Anne of Green Gables" V.R. Experience by Weike Wang, published in The New Yorker, Illustration by Luci GutiƩrrez

On Monday, The New Yorker published an article titled, "The 'Anne of Green Gables' V.R. Experience" by Weike Wang. The article appears in the "Shouts & Murmurs" section, which contains humor, satire, and funny observations. It's a curious piece, and I recommend reading it if you're an Anne of Green Gables fan.

The article begins without mentioning any history of Anne of Green Gables and fails to mention the novel's author, L.M. Montgomery, by name. These were odd omissions. But perhaps Anne is such an iconic character that she and Montgomery no longer need an introduction.

Rather than spending time on introductory matters, Weike Wang dives into a description of your Anne of Green Gables virtual reality experience. You (as Anne Shirley) have a choice in skin tones, but must have long red hair styled in two braids. Your journey in the carriage occurs in the autumn and without Matthew (unlike the book), and you meet the Cuthberts at Green Gables.

Later, your virtual reality experience continues in the classroom where your teacher leaves a vowel out of your name to your dismay. When your classmate Gilbert Blythe insults you, you have the option to hit him with a virtual arsenal of weapons including the standard slate, as well as a retractable prop dagger, a dead fish, and more. After class you go on "life-affirming adventures" with your bosom friend Diana Barry.

Then you must study, eventually graduating with your teaching license from Queen’s and winning the prestigious Avery scholarship, which allows you to attend a four-year college. Your friends, including Gilbert, celebrate you. Weike Wang notes that you can choose to end your virtual reality experience here, "feeling galvanized, like you can do anything," or you can choose to stay for the final two minutes. In these final minutes, your family loses their savings, Matthew Cuthbert dies of a heart attack, and you defer your dreams for a time and stay at Green Gables. Then you marry Gilbert, have seven children, and live in an idyllic home. Wang writes, "though you do leave the room less galvanized, you are relieved that the immense pressure to amount to something has resolved itself and, in the natural course of adulting, priorities must change."

The article had a bit of humor and weirdness, but it also left me thinking about the author's purpose. Was it simply a humorous piece, poking fun at virtual reality and Zuckerberg's metaverse, or was it more? Weike Wang brings up an interesting point, namely, that in this virtual reality version of Anne's story, you could stop your experience at a wonderfully high point in Anne's life. When Anne wins the Avery scholarship, she has so many ambitions and dreams ahead of her, and she's on the cusp of success.

Do many modern women truly want to live out Anne's full life story? When she's young, she's charismatic and passionate, and she doesn't conform. She's not ordinary. But later, she gives up her dreams of teaching and writing for her loving brood of children and devoted (but mainly absentee) husband. As Weike Wang notes, "A person can’t trailblaze forever; she has to slow down sometimes and take stock of societal norms." This piece left me wondering where I would choose to conclude my own Anne of Green Gables virtual reality experience and whether I would prefer to leave before those final two minutes.

Created January 27, 2022.

January 23, 2022

The Watchman and Other Poems

The Watchman and Other Poems by L.M. Montgomery, 1916 cover, University of Texas at Austin library

L.M. Montgomery published a volume of poetry titled The Watchman and Other Poems in 1916 by McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart. The book is named for the introductory poem, entitled “The Watchman.” This poem is followed by three thematic groups of poems: Songs of Sea, Songs of the Hills and Woods, and Miscellaneous.

All of the poems included in The Watchman and Other Poems had been previously published in magazines according to John Robert Sorfleet [1]. In her acknowledgements, L.M. Montgomery thanked the following publishers and magazines for granting permission to republish her poetry: The Youth's Companion, Forward, East and West, MacLean's Magazine, The Sunday School Times, Zion's Herald, The Outlook, Munsey's Magazine, The New Idea Woman's Magazine, Smart Set, The Ladies' World, The Canadian Magazine, St. Nicholas, The Congregationalist and Christian World, Everybody's Magazine, The Christian Endeavor World, The American Messenger, The Delineator, and Smith's Magazine.

L.M. Montgomery dedicated The Watchman and Other Poems to the soldiers who fought in WWI:

"To the memory of the gallant
Canadian soldiers who have laid
down their lives for their
country and their empire."

I took the photograph pictured above of a 1916 volume of The Watchman and Other Poems that I read from the University of Texas at Austin library.

[1] Sorfleet, John. R. "L. M. Montgomery: Canadian Authoress." in L. M. Montgomery: An Assessment. Ed. John Robert Sorfleet. Guelph: Canadian Children's Press, 1976. pages 42–49.

Purchase and read The Watchman and Other Poems and The Poetry Of Lucy Maud Montgomery:

The Watchman and Other Poems by L.M. Montgomery The Poetry Of Lucy Maud Montgomery

Created February 17, 2002. Re-posted online January 23, 2022. Last updated January 23, 2022.

January 22, 2022

Jane tasted happiness...

A quote on happiness and being admired by L.M. Montgomery from her novel Jane of Lantern Hill.

"Jane tasted happiness. It was the first time any one had ever admired her."

-L.M. Montgomery
Jane of Lantern Hill

Read more quotes by L.M. Montgomery.

Image credit:
Photograph by Ingrid A. Lobo.

Purchase and read Jane of Lantern Hill:

Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery

Created January 22, 2022.

January 21, 2022

Courageous Women

Courageous Women by L.M. Montgomery, Marian Keith, and Mabel Burns (M.B.) McKinley book cover

In 1934, L.M. Montgomery, Marian Keith, and Mabel Burns (M.B.) McKinley published a book called Courageous Women. This volume of nonfiction contained 21 “Inspiring Biographies of Girls who Grew to be Women of Courage and Achievement.” In this collection of biographical essays, L.M. Montgomery, Marian Keith, and M.B. McKinley told the stories of “Women of heroism, courage, endurance, resourcefulness, and cheerful spirit.” L.M. Montgomery wrote three sketches in the volume, namely the biographies of Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale, and Mary Slessor of Calabar.

The book cover shown above features photographs of six of the women featured in the volume. Across the top row, from left to right, are Margaret Polson Murray, founder of the Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire, Florence Nightingale, the “noted pioneer among war nurses,” and Lady Tilley, who was active in Red Cross work and other public service. Across the bottom row, from left to right, are Marshall Saunders, C.B.E., “known the world over for her championship of dumb animals,” Aletta E. Marty, the first woman to hold the office of Public School Inspector in Canada, and Ada May Courtice, the founder of the Home and School Club Movement.

The 1934 book jacket for Courageous Women published by McClelland and Stewart describes the book as follows:

“A series of inspiring biographies of girls who grew to be women of courage and achievement. Vivid human interest stories of women leaders in many fields of activity. Fifteen out of the twenty-one sketches in the book deal with Canadian women who have taken a prominent part in pioneer life, in mission work, in education, in literature, and in various spheres of public service. Many of these biographies appear now for the first time in book form.

Canadians will read with pride of the achievements of such courageous pioneers as Catharine Parr Traill and Elizabeth Mair; of the vision of Mrs. A. C. Courtice, founder of the Home and School Club movement; of Mrs. Clark Murray, founder of the I.O.D.E.; of Madame Albani, Canada’s Queen of Song; of courageous mission workers at home and abroad—Anna Gaudin, Sadie Stringer, Caroline MacDonald; of that leader in education, Dr. Aletta Elise Marty, of Marshall Saunders, beloved author and champion of dumb animals—and of many others.”

Courageous Women includes the following twenty-one chapters:

1) The Maid of France: Joan of Arc
2) The Angel of the Crimea: Florence Nightingale
3) The Great White Ma: Mary Slessor of Calabar
4) A Brave Deed: Laura Secord
5) Happiness in a Log Cabin: Catharine Parr Traill
6) A Noble Girl Queen: Queen Victoria
7) Courage in Danger: Madeleine de Vercheres
8) From Darkness to Light: Helen Keller
9) A Friend of the School: Ada May Courtice
10) The Golden Chrysanthemum: Caroline MacDonald
11) A Loyal Pioneer of the West: Elizabeth Louise Mair
12) Caring for Indians: Anna J. Gaudin
13) A War Heroine: Edith Cavell
14) Braving the White North: Sadie Stringer
15) Canada's Queen of Song: Madame Albani
16) The Princess of the Paddle: (Tekahionwake) E. Pauline Johnson
17) A Leader in Education: Aletta Elise Marty
18) A Pupil at School: Dr. Margaret MacKellar
19) A Daughter of the Empire: Margaret Polson Murray
20) Service for Others: Lady Tilley
21) Champion of Dumb Animals: Marshall Saunders

Purchase and read the Courageous Women:

Courageous Women by L.M. Montgomery, Marian Keith, and M.B. McKinley

Created January 21, 2022.

January 20, 2022

Anne of Green Gables Jigsaw Puzzle

Anne of Green Gables jigsaw puzzle

Enjoy playing with this online Anne of Green Gables jigsaw puzzle. Before beginning, you can rotate the puzzle pieces and increase the number of pieces to make this puzzle more challenging. You can also customize the background color.

The cover artwork is by George Gibbs for the 1908 version of Anne of Green Gables published by L.C. Page & Company.

Created January 20, 2022.

January 13, 2022

Anne blew a couple of airy kisses...

Anne of Green Gables Quote on Cherry Blossoms

"Anne blew a couple of airy kisses from her fingertips past the cherry blossoms and then, with her chin in her hands, drifted luxuriously out on a sea of daydreams."

-L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables

Read more quotes by L.M. Montgomery.

Image credit:
Photograph by Ingrid A. Lobo.

Purchase and read Anne of Green Gables:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables Book Set by L.M. Montgomery

Created January 13, 2022.

January 08, 2022

When Anne of Green Gables Book Covers Go Bad

Anne of Green Gables book cover featuring Anne Shirley as a blonde.

First published in 1908, L.M. Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables has been republished many times over the years. The artists who have depicted Anne Shirley on book covers often have a strong grasp of her personality and character. Sometimes these images form the basis for how readers imagine Anne and compliment L.M. Montgomery's text. But other times, Anne of Green Gables book cover designs baffle me and leave me somewhat aghast. Let's look at a few examples:

Anne of Green Gables book cover that looks more like a Lolita cover.

The above Anne of Green Gables book cover is for a 2021 Kindle edition. It gives me Lolita vibes and to me looks nothing like Anne Shirley. I also imagine this Anne tossing her glossy locks, telling everyone that she hates her hair and fishing for compliments while secretly being a hair model influencer.

Anne of Green Gables book cover featuring a headless Anne Shirley.

This above version of Anne of Green Gables (ISBN-13 9781080273300) was independently published in 2019. Let's start with the good: the depiction of nature is nice. Beyond that though, everything puzzles me. Is the young girl in the gaudy dress supposed to be Anne? She's younger than Anne, and the dress is too bright and anachronistic. And why is the girl's face scribbled over? Just to add more green to the cover or to leave her headless? The font choices and colors are odd too.

Pixelated Anne of Green Gables book cover

The version of Anne of Green Gables shown above was independently published as a 2017 Kindle edition. It's a green-hued, pixelated version of a drawing from the 1908 version of Anne of Green Gables depicting, "Thwack! Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert's head." A new reader might think that they could step into the Matrix with Anne.

Anne of Green Gables book cover featuring Anne Shirley as a blonde.

The above version of Anne of Green Gables was self-published in 2013 through Amazon's CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. This edition of Anne is notorious for its book cover depicting Anne Shirley as a curvaceous blonde. At the time, the cover and the negative response to it by fans made headlines at NPR, CBC, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, CTV News, BuzzFeed News, The Guardian, and The Toronto Star.

Created January 8, 2022.

January 07, 2022

Bibliography of L.M. Montgomery

Book Covers, Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery was a Canadian author who wrote works that have been read by millions the world over. She was a prolific writer throughout her lifetime, penning over 20 books, including fictional novels, a volume of poetry, and short story collections. She also wrote a book of essays with collaborating authors. L.M. Montgomery achieved her greatest popular success in creating the character Anne Shirley of the Anne of Green Gables series.

L.M. Montgomery's bibliography of works published during her lifetime is listed below:

L.M. Montgomery's Publications
Anne of Green Gables 1908
Anne of Avonlea1909
Kilmeny of the Orchard1910
The Story Girl1911
Chronicles of Avonlea1912
The Golden Road1913
Anne of the Island 1915
The Watchman and Other Poems   1916
Anne's House of Dreams 1917
Rainbow Valley 1919
Further Chronicles of Avonlea1920
Rilla of Ingleside 1921
Emily of New Moon1923
Emily Climbs1925
The Blue Castle1926
Emily's Quest1927
Magic for Marigold1929
A Tangled Web1931
Pat of Silver Bush1933
Courageous Women   
(Essays written with Marian Keith
and Mabel Burns McKinley)
Mistress Pat1935
Anne of Windy Poplars1936
Jane of Lantern Hill1937
Anne of Ingleside1939

Created September 1, 1999. Re-posted online January 7, 2022. Last updated January 7, 2022.