Frame of Reference

Introduction - LM Montgomery special issue

Caroline Jones

Working on “Alice’s Academy” for The Looking Glass is always a labor of love and learning, but this special issue of TLG has been especially close to my heart, because L.M. Montgomery has been one of my favorite authors since I was a little girl reading Emily of New Moon under my grandmother’s dining room table. Montgomery had no small role in my journey into children’s literature within the academy, and has been significant in the shaping of my scholarly identity. I have often felt that surely I am she, reborn! But, that’s just me. What is it about Montgomery’s work, and the woman herself, that keeps contemporary readers engaged? How does she resonate with us over seventy years after her death?

With this issue we seek answers to those questions. In “Alice’s Academy,” three scholars explore three different facets of Montgomery’s life and work. Lauren Makrancy looks at the connections between imaginative space and female agency in Montgomery’s classic, Anne of Green Gables. She notes unique connections among place, space, and the blossoming female self as Anne roots herself at Green Gables, in the community of Avonlea, and in the fertile natural spaces of PEI. She also finds connections between Anne and her creator, a woman sympathetic to a child in need of room and nurture as she embarks on first girlhood, and into young womanhood.

Vappu Kannas explores the process of editing Montgomery’s published journals and the conversations she discovers among Montgomery, her editors, her publisher, and her son. Recognizing the arduous process of reading (and deciphering) Montgomery’s long-hand, self-edited journals, then contextualizing, cutting, restoring, and cutting again situates the five volumes of “selected” journal not as “found literature,” as we might wishfully assume, but as literary works constructed through painstaking attention to detail as well as to the integrity of Montgomery’s life, shared and masked.

Yoshiko Akamatsu turns to the origins of the Japanese translations of Montgomery’s work, and the Canadian missionary connections that brought “Red-Haired Anne” to the Japanese people. She explores the work of the women, Canadian missionaries and Japanese teacher, translator, and writer alike, who forged cultural bonds and respect that withstood the fear and hatred of World War II, and transformed and strengthened those relationships in a post-war mid-century world.

In “Jabberwocky,” Shea Keats explores what she calls “triumphant trauma,” a trope Montgomery used to great effect in several of her novels and short stories. Focusing on two of Montgomery’s more “mature” novels, Keats explores psychological theory and Montgomery’s life-writing to consider this literary convention more deeply.

Finally, in “The Tortoise’s Tale,” Laura Leden discusses the “conventionalization” of Emily Byrd Starr in Swedish translations of her trilogy. Leden considers the norms of translation in children’s literature, then looks at how those norms affect the novels, particularly the characterization of a notably unconventional heroine.

So, whether you know Montgomery intimately, or are just discovering the depth and breadth of her work, please dive into this issue, and use it as a launching pad for your own journey with L.M. Montgomery and her myriad characters.

Editor’s Note: I would like to thank my reviewers and contributors for all their hard work and careful revising and editing, and I would especially like to thank my fellow editors, David Beagley and Jill May for all their support, but particularly for the final editing for “Jabberwocky” and “Tortoise,” respectively.



Caroline Jones
Special Editor - The Looking Glass

Volume 18, Issue 2, The Looking Glass, December 2015

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