Writing department professor launches new book, L.M. Montgomery and War

Professor Andrea McKenzie, from York University’s Writing Department and Graduate Program in History, launched her new book about renowned Canadian author L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.

L.M. Montgomery and War, co-edited by McKenzie and award-winning poet and editor Jane Ledwell of PEI and published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, is a collection of new research and scholarship on Montgomery’s life and writing in relation to the wars during Montgomery’s lifetime.

Above: From left, Andrea McKenzie and Jane Ledwell at the book launch

“The goal of this book is to restore Montgomery to her rightful place as a major war writer,” said McKenzie. “Montgomery’s life was directly touched by four wars in her lifetime from 1874 to 1942, and she deals with war frequently in her life writing and creative writing. It was part of the landscape of her life.”

“If people think of L.M. Montgomery and war, they most often think of her evocative descriptions of life on the home front during the First World War,” said Ledwell. “Her best-known novel about war is Rilla of Ingleside, and of course our book includes lots of discussion of this book, but readers will be surprised at how frequently the shadow of war falls over many of Montgomery’s novels, stories, and poems.”

book cover shows an image of Lucy Maude Montgomery
Cover of L.M. Montgomery and War

“Unlike most other war novels of its time, Rilla of Ingleside has been continuously in print, and continuously read and appreciated, for almost a hundred years, and yet Montgomery’s importance as a war writer is not acknowledged. It’s time to change that,” added McKenzie.

L.M. Montgomery and War includes 10 chapters on aspects of Montgomery and war, with expert authors offering historical and literary critical perspectives, and with special emphasis in two chapters on visual imagery, one of which McKenzie wrote.

“The book makes some really interesting insights about women’s war writing and women’s experience of war available to readers in a new way,” said Ledwell. “And the book is very beautifully made, with a handsome cover and a lovely set of colour plates. We couldn’t be prouder of it.”

This is McKenzie’s second book about war in two years. War-Torn Exchanges: The Lives and Letters of Nursing Sisters Laura Holland and Mildred Forbes (UBC Press) was published in 2016