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Anne of Green Gables Day
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore
“Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
One of the most beloved of childhood books, Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908 by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, and follows the adventures of red-haired Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan girl, who is mistakenly sent to two middle-aged siblings; Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, originally intending to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in the fictional town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. Since its publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into at least 36 languages. Montgomery was inspired by the "formula Ann" orphan stories (called such because they followed such a predictable formula) which were popular at the time and distinguished her character by spelling her name with an extra "e".
Prince Edward Island
L.M. Montgomery OBE (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942), was the pen name of Lucy Maud Montgomery, a Canadian author of Scottish ancestry best known for a series of novels set in Prince Edward Island beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables. The central character, Anne Shirley, a red-haired orphan, made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following. Since its publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 36 languages.
Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. Most of her novels were set in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island.
In writing Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery was inspired by notes she had made as a young girl about a couple who were mistakenly sent an orphan girl instead of the boy they had requested, yet decided to keep her. She also drew upon her own childhood experiences for many incidents in the novels.
A new televised version of this book has been recently released in 2016 "Anne with an E" by PBS. Canada’s Global News describes the film, which was produced in part by Montgomery’s granddaughter, Kate MacDonald Butler, as distinct from previous renditions of the book, saying that it is "a more modern take on the story, with darker, edgier moments that take it out of the past and into the present."
Besides the charming stories of school life, the later novels follow Anne through marriage, motherhood, and the more sobering fate of her family through the first World War.
In the earlier novels, much of the special charm comes from Anne's magical descriptions of the beauty of Prince Edward Island. Anne, who loves and names almost every tree and flower she encounters, creates a poetical and vivid portrait of the landscape.
Since its publication in 1908, fans of Anne Shirley have made the journey to Prince Edward Island, keen to tour the landscapes she made memorable from the town of Cavendish (Avonlea in the novels), and Anne's fictitious haunts: The Lake of Shining Waters, the Haunted Wood, Lover’s Lane, and the Birch Path. Anne, who loves and names almost every tree and flower she encounters,
To learn more about Japan's particular fascination with Anne, click the book cover art showing Anne and her best friend Diana reading poetry and flower-gathering in the beautiful island fields (unknown artist).