Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
September 27, 2004
Final volume of Montgomery journals depicts ‘end of an era’
The fifth and final volume of the personal journals of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, edited by two University of Guelph professors emeritae, will be published Oct. 1.
The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volume 5 chronicles the author’s life from 1935 until her death at age 68 in 1942. “This final volume is a remarkable document because of the social history in it,” said Elizabeth Waterston, who edited the journals with Mary Rubio. Both are retired from the University’s School of English and Theatre Studies.
The final volume is as much a depiction of the end of the Edwardian era and of the profound shift in Canadian society as it is a record of the life of one of Canada’s most important authors, Waterston said. “Throughout this volume, Montgomery interweaves her account of the historical period leading up to the Second World War with the story of her personal life: of writing her final three books, of travelling around Ontario to speak, of being active in the Toronto literary world, of coping with a husband who periodically sinks into melancholy, of watching with grief as one beloved son lives an increasingly disordered life while the other, a hard-working medical student, prepares to be sent off to war.”
Rubio added that the volume also provides insight into the effect of untreated mental illness within a family as Montgomery confronts her husband’s growing depression. “Today, when clinical depression is much in the news, Montgomery’s entries are particularly touching and valuable because she often describes how clinically depressed people actually feel,” she said. Montgomery also depicts famous people she meets, including Grey Owl and Mary Pickford, and significant world events such as Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia and the abdication of King Edward VIII.
During her lifetime, Montgomery wrote 22 novels and 53 years’ worth of personal diaries. She also kept extensive journals from the time she was 14. Rubio was asked by Montgomery’s son, Dr. Stuart Macdonald, to edit his mother’s personal journals. The first volume was published in 1985 by Oxford University Press (Canada) and was a national best-seller, and the subsequent volumes were also highly successful. The research for these publications was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the University.
In 1966, Waterston became the first academic to publish a serious in-depth treatment of Montgomery’s work, and she and Rubio have collaborated on writing and editing projects since 1975. They published a short biography on Montgomery called Writing a Life, and Rubio is working on a longer authorized biography of the author.
The University of Guelph is also home to the L.M. Montgomery Collection, which includes the author’s journals, scrapbooks, memorabilia, photo albums, genealogical files, legal and business papers, needle and decorative handiwork, and the Order of the British Empire medal she received in 1935, as well as original typescripts of some of her stories and other works.
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824- 4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.