L.M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942), born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, was a novelist and short story writer best known for the Anne of Green Gables series. When she was less than two years old her mother died of tuberculosis, and her father left her to be raised by her grandparents.
The author drew upon her habitat for the adventures of Anne Shirley, one of the sunniest characters in children’s literature. Her fictional heroine provided a contrast with her own life, which became increasingly filled with cares as she entered adulthood. Bouts of depression increasingly took their toll, as did her husband’s deteriorating mental health, worries about her sons, and legal battles over her books.
Before getting published she worked as a teacher and then as a proofreader copy editor for the Halifax Chronicle. When she began writing short stories and poems she was mostly met with rejection. But with a firm belief in herself, she persevered.
Upon the first acceptance of a poem, she wrote in her journal: “The moment we see our first darling brain-child in black type is never to be forgotten.” At age 21 she sold her first short story for five dollars, and never looked back.
Weaving personal experience into her work
She wove personal experiences with marriage and motherhood into her work after she married Ewan MacDonald. For Maud, fiction became a buffer against resentment at the roles she maintained, first as a dutiful granddaughter, then as an upstanding minister’s wife and devoted mother of two sons. Though these roles weren’t entirely facades, her spirited female characters hint at rebellion toward limited opportunities.
Even more onerous than the depression she suffered from, her husband was beset by severe mental illness. This in turn impacted quality of life for both of them.
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A natural storyteller who loved to write
Montgomery held no lofty view of her own talent, though she savored her gift for storytelling and ability to earn good money doing what she loved. Her was an exception to the prevailing view of writing as an arduous (and sometimes agonizing) process. It was her greatest joy, and an escape from the troubles that grew ever more tangled as she aged, not the least of which were a husband who suffered from mental illness and serious legal battles over her most lucrative literary properties.
Seeking happiness for her readers while battling depression
Despite Maud’s own depressions, which included nervous breakdowns, she consciously sought to bring happiness to readers. The blend of nostalgia and realism in her works have captivated readers for generations. Anne of Green Gables remains a beloved series, and has been translated to film and stage numerous times. Many readers are equally devoted to the Emily of New Moon series.
Lucy Maud Montgomery kept copious journals, and the theme that emerges from her reflections was that despite her personal troubles, she viewed her writing as a vehicle for bringing joy to others. She died in 1942 at age 67; there is dispute over whether she died as a result of a heart condition, or if she took her own life.
More about L.M. Montgomery on this site
- How L.M. Montgomery found a publisher for Anne of Green Gables
- Beyond Beauty: The Natural World of Anne of Green Gables
- L.M. Montgomery’s Literary Pilgrimage to Concord, Mass
- Writing Without Time or Privacy
- Writing and Motherhood
- Dear Literary Ladies: Do you learn anything from reviews of your books?
- Dear Literary Ladies: How does it feel to achieve a breakaway success?
- Dear Literary Ladies: How can a writer deal with rejection?
- Anne of Green Gables
- Anne of Avonlea
- Anne of the Island
- Anne of Windy Poplars
- Anne’s House of Dreams
- Chronicles of Avonlea
- Emily of New Moon (series)
- Kilmeny of the Orchard
- Pat of Silver Bush
- Rainbow Valley
- The Story Girl
Biographies, Autobiographies, and Correspondence of L.M. Montgomery
- Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings by Mary Henley Rubio
- Looking for Anne of Green Gables:
The Story of L.M. Montgomery by Irene Gammel
- My Dear Mr. M.: Letters to G.B. MacMillan edited by Bolger and Epperly
- The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career by L.M. Montgomery
- The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The P.E.I. Years
- L.M Montgomery on Wikipedia
- L.M. Montgomery Institute
- Anne of Green Gables – Source for News, Blogs, Community and More
- Reader discussion of L.M. Montgomery’s books on Goodreads
- L.M. Montgomery page on Amazon
Read and Listen Online
Articles, News, Etc.
- Searching for ‘Anne of Green Gables’ on Prince Edward Island
- 105 Years of Anne of Green Gables Covers
Visit L.M. Montgomery sites
- Site of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Cavendish Home
- L.M. Montgomery Sites, PEI – Prince Edward Island, Canada
- Green Gables Heritage House -Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada
- Bideford Parsonage Museum – Bideford, Prince Edward Island, Canada
See also: L.M. Montgomery, Writing, and Motherhood
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