A new volume from Nimbus Publishing showing L.M. Montgomery’s creative process in crafting one of the world’s most famous novels will be officially launched on August 1 from 3:30 to 5:00 at Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown. Carolyn Strom Collins (editor) will discuss some of the discoveries she made while transcribing the manuscript for Anne of Green Gables: The Original Manuscript. Some of the original manuscript’s pages and a selection of early and foreign-language editions will be on display.
For over 100 years, the 844 pages of L.M. Montgomery’s original, handwritten manuscript of Anne of Green Gables have largely remained under wraps. Montgomery kept it with her all her life; in the 1960s, it was acquired by Confederation Centre where it has been carefully stored and occasionally displayed. Now, in this volume, readers will be able to see how the manuscript evolved and changed before it was finally published in 1908. Thirty-eight pages from the manuscript, published for the first time, illustrate the book, allowing readers to see parts of the manuscript in Montgomery’s own handwriting.
Montgomery began writing the book, her first, in May 1905, according to her journals. A native of Prince Edward Island, she was living in Cavendish at the time. She started with a central idea: “Elderly couple apply to orphan asylum for a boy. By mistake, a girl is sent to them.” Over the months of 1905 and into 1906, Montgomery wrote about that girl, Anne Shirley, creating one of the most memorable characters in literature.
Once she typed the manuscript, Montgomery sent her novel to four publishers, each one rejecting it. Discouraged, Montgomery said she put the manuscript in a hatbox and stored it in a closet, intending to shorten it for magazine serial. But after reading through it again a few months later, she decided to try again. She sent it to L.C. Page and Co. in Boston. They accepted it and the book was published in June 1908. It has since sold millions of copies, has been translated into over forty languages, and is beloved by people all over the world.
Until now, however, readers have seen only the published version. This volume shows a different view of the novel, namely Montgomery’s method of creating it, with her many strike-throughs, added words and phrases, and her system of “Notes,” added in a separate section as the book evolved, that included Anne’s musings on the possibility of becoming a nun, nursing her friend Diana back to health from smallpox, and finding a mouse in a jug of pudding sauce in the pantry.
A brief biography of L.M. Montgomery is included in the book, as well as excerpts from her journals that explain different parts of the story and its setting on the north shore of Prince Edward Island.