Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

November 24, 1998

New volume of Montgomery journals chronicle tough years

The most difficult years of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery's life are detailed in the recently-published fourth volume of her personal journals, edited by University of Guelph professors.

Professor Mary Rubio and Professor Emeritea Elizabeth Waterston from the School of Literatures and Performance Studies in English were among the first academics to seriously study Montgomery's work. Rubio was asked by Montgomery's son, Dr. Stuart Macdonald, to edit the journals, and the first volume -- a Canadian best seller -- was published in 1985. "The Selected Journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery" Volume 4 is already in its second printing, and a fifth and final volume will be published in the next few years. Rubio and Waterston have also published a short biography on Montgomery called "Writing a Life," and Rubio is now finishing the longer authorized biography of Montgomery to be published with Doubleday.

Volume 4 of " The Selected Journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery" chronicles her life from age 55 to 61, when she was beset by personal suffering. It is a time when she finally profits from a 12-year lawsuit with a former publisher, only to watch the money disappear in the 1929 stock market crash. Depression invades her life on several levels as she faces financial despair, her husband's growing mental illness, and propositions from a young lesbian admirer. Even her beloved sons embarrass her with their poor academic performance in university and irritate her in their romantic endeavours. "Montgomery had a wicked sense of humour and that kept her going," Rubio said. During these seven years, Montgomery publishes four more books and begins work on her last two novels, including the final addition to the Anne series.

Writing a diary may have been therapeutic for Montgomery, but it was also an outlet for her talent as a storyteller, Rubio said. "She would write little notes to herself, and when she had time, she'd sit down and assemble an entry from those notes." The U of G's L.M. Montgomery Collection includes the notes and journals, as well as scrapbooks, photo collections and newspaper clippings. It has attracted scholars and aficionados from all over the world.

Since the first publication of Anne 90 years ago, Montgomery and her fictional characters have had a strong presence in the lives of millions of readers around the globe. She wrote 22 novels and 53 years of personal diaries. Her books have been translated into 30 languages and continue to sell well in Canada (about 35,000 copies a year), the United States, Japan, Poland and Scandinavia. The journals are published by Oxford University Press (Canada).

For information, contact Professor Mary Rubio, (519) 821-0604. For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120 Ext. 3338.

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