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Looking for Anne of Green Gables


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IRENE GAMMEL is an English professor and holds the Canada Research Chair in Modern Literature and Culture at Ryerson University, Toronto. She has served as president of the Canadian Comparative Literature Association and as an editorial board member of Canadian Literature. She lives in Toronto, Canada.


Gammel (modern literature & culture, Ryerson Univ., Toronto) has written numerous essays on Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) and Canadian culture. Here, with a good sense of narrative and "what the reader wants to know" and using little academic jargon, she extends her research into a full study of the Canadian author and her most famous creation, Anne Shirley. Montgomery was just 30 when she wrote Anne of Green Gables. In this book coinciding with the centenary of that book's publication, Gammel interweaves Anne's and Montgomery's life stories, showing how Anne's life mirrored her creator's own dreams, memories, and emotions. She shares such wonderful tidbits of information as how Anne got the e in her name, how she was modeled after the notorious Evelyn Nesbit, and which characteristics of her many friends Montgomery instilled in Anne. There are also photos of family and friends who are mirrored in the novels as well as actresses who have portrayed Anne over the years. This would make an excellent selection for lovers of Anne and her many adventures; recommended for all public and academic libraries.--Susan L. Peters, Univ. of Texas, Galveston Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Anne of Green Gables may be one of the most beloved of books, selling more than 50 million copies since it was first published 100 years ago. But according to Ryerson, a Canadian scholar and co-chair of the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Anne's creator was both secretive and "an emotional and forceful advocate of her own legend." So Ryerson seeks out the truth about Montgomery and the writing of her novel, including the possible sources for Anne Shirley, a high-spirited, irrepressibly optimistic, redheaded Canadian orphan. Among Anne's antecedents were the bestselling Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and a proliferation of stories and poems about orphan girls named Ann, such as James Whitcomb Riley's popular nursery rhyme "Little Orphan Annie," based on a girl orphaned during the Civil War. Montgomery's fear of aging and outsider status as a motherless child brought up by aging grandparents also fed into her image of Anne as did her adopted cousin Ellen Macneill, also an orphan. But this lackluster study won't find many takers beyond Montgomery scholars and rabid Anne Shirley fans. 16 pages of color photos. (July) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Interesting and well-researched." --The New York Times"Drawing on a vast array of neglected and unknown sources, this groundbreaking study establishes new connections between Montgomery's isolated life in Cavendish, P.E.I., and the metropolitan existence that she consumed vicariously through magazines published in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Looking for Anne is a highly readable, top-rate study that [provides] a new spin on Montgomery's text." --Globe and Mail"Rather than simply rehashing available material, Ryerson professor and noted literary researcher Irene Gammel ... explores the social and literary influences that guided and inspired Montgomery in creating her impetuous heroine. ... Even more fascinating is the amount of inspiration Montgomery found in the myriad of current magazines and journals that made their way into her hands via the desk of her grandmother the town postmistress. " --Quill and Quire"Looking for Anne is a fascinating and wonderful book. It brings forward an amazing wealth of new information, filling in many gaps (some of which I didn't even know existed!), and is presented in a captivating narrative that is very well organized and a great read. The research is fabulous.... It's rather like the Road to Xanadu." --Carole Gerson, Simon Fraser University and co-editor of History of the Book in Canada..". The material is incredible, the interpretive work unsurpassable. " --Holly Virginia Blackford, Rutgers University-Camden.

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