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510 lETTERS IN CANADA 1997 Wendy E. Barry, Margaret Anne Doody, and Mary E. Doody Jones, editors. The Amwtated An11e of Green Gables Oxford University Press. viii, 496. $39.95 Considering Anne Shirley's enduring popularity with readers worldwide, it is perhaps surprising that it has taken this long for an armotated editionĀ· of Anne ofGreen Gables to appear. Yet the current surge of scholarly interest in LM. Montgomery is a relatively recent development, most major critical studies of her work having been published within the last fifteen years. This volume seeks to fill a very real gap in the resources available to students of thenovel, and indeed to anyone interested in L.M. Montgomery as an important Canadian woman writer. Like the annotated edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland1 this book is packed with valuable explanations of everything from place names to plants to poems and songs. It is lavishly illustrated with both photographs and black and white illustrations. As might be expected, the photographs include ones of Montgomery; her family, and the places that were important to her. Interestingly, the editors have also chosen to include photos which illustrate the historical context of the novel, such as a picture of a typical nineteenth-century sleigh. Among the most fascinating images are illustrations from various editions of the novel, especially the early ones from 1908 to the 1930s. This allows the modem reader to view the dramatic moments of the story through the eyes of Anne's earliest illustrators. The text of the novel is followed by a series of appendices which continue the focus on historical context. Detailed discussions of such topics as food preparation, the plight of the female orphan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, education on Prince Edward Island, and the geography of the novel prov1de valuable insights into Arme's world. The final two sections of the volume contain the words to all the songs and recitation pieces mentioned in the novet and a fascinating selection of contemporary reviews of the book Margaret Anne Doody's wide-ranging introduction places Anne ofGreen Gables within its literary context as well as its historical milieu. She discusses in detail the multiple connections between Montgomery's own life and struggles as a woman writer and Anne as a character. Because Anne's personality is so intimately bound up with Montgomery's evolving views on women's treedom, Doody's discussion includes feminist readings of the text as well as sections on the use of names, the significance of places, Montgomery's somewhat unorthodox religious views; and other issues. Doody's introduction cannot possibly cover all critical perspectives, but it provides a solid background for the student approaching the text critically for the first time. A comprehensive bibliography is included at the end of the book. Unfortunately, there is no index- a surprising omission in such an otherwise thorough volume. HUMANITIES 511 Textual notes follow the novel and provide further details on certain emendations to the text. This is the section where the scholarly reader wishes for more detaiL The most obvious emendation to the text adopted by the editors- and the one for which we Long for more explanation -is the division of the famous paragraph-long opening sentence into two. At the beginning of the textual notes, the editors make the general comment that, since 'in many case of the variants the 1925 (English] edition agrees with the MS/ they have concluded that Montgomery had 'some input into the English edition and that the readings of 1925 are sometimes superior to those of 19o8.' However, the fact that aJl other editions leave the first sentence undivided casts doubt on this editorial decision. Unfortunately, the notes provide no further explanation for this particular change, a change which certainly undermines Elizabeth Epperly's contention in The Fragrance ofSweetgrass that the opening paragraph constitutes an 'imitation of the twists of road and stream it describes.' These quibbles aside, The Annotated Anne of Green Gables will prove an invaluable resource to both students and scholars. Its hefty price may discourage its inclusion on university reading lists, but certainly every library should have a copy. (JOANNE fiNDON) Klaus...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 510-511
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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