CSL:LMM, C.S. Lewis and L.M. Montgomery (L.M. Montgomery Series)

Leading up to the L.M. Montgomery Institute’s 13th Biennial Conference here in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, I thought that I would do a short series on Montgomery. Throughout May and June, each Thursday will feature a post on Montgomery and her work. These posts will include research notes, particularly resonant features of her work, and some thoughts that emerged in reading through the Anne of Green Gable Series, her autobiography, some of her short story collections, and Emily of New Moon.

I thought I would set up the series by spending time thinking of C.S. Lewis and L.M. Montgomery together. It is not a natural fit, many would argue. Montgomery primarily published in women’s magazines with bright, buoyant, realistic stories of home life in Atlantic Canada, while Lewis was an Oxford academic who was known as an apologist, literary historian, and writer of fairy tales and dystopic sf. Despite these differences, I think there are some resonant moments between the two.

CSL:LMM, A Prolific Pair

No one would deny that Clive Staples Lewis and Lucy Maud Montgomery were prolific writers. I have had the opportunity to read through all of Lewis’ writings, but have not had the chance to read all of Montgomery’s published works. Part of this has to do with the nature of her writing. Beyond the novels for which she is famous, Montgomery honed her craft by writing short stories and publishing poems in women’s magazines, children’s collections, newspapers, and literary journals. Like Lewis, she also published some public essays about religion, literature, and social issues. During her lifetime, she published 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays.

While Montgomery and Lewis have archives with about the same number of pages—I estimate them each at 20,000 or so pages of primary material—Lewis extended himself out with a diversity of kinds of works in a narrow range of publication spaces, while Montgomery scattered her work far and wide, endlessly hunting for print as she climbed “the Alpine Path” to literary note. And while Lewis ultimately rejected journal keeping and revealed himself best in his autobiographical work and letter-writing, Montgomery kept a steady diary through her writing life and published a relatively limited memoir, focusing on her craft.

CSL:LMM Collections

Lucy Maud and Clive Staples are each a library of works, not merely a shelf, and reading them would take years. Fortunately, in both cases there are scholars, editors, archivists, librarians, publishers, and book collectors who have dedicated their lives to getting these masters into the hands of a grateful public. There are a number of CSL archives (listed here), and there are LMM archives at the University of Guelph and the University of Prince Edward Island. The interest is warranted. After all, Lewis and Montgomery are two of the most prolific English authors of the first half of the 20th century, each approaching 100,000,000 or so books in circulation.[1]

Even counting the number of books that Montgomery has published is a bit tricky, as it is for Lewis. Narrowing in on novels, she published 20 novels in her lifetime, 19 of which are set here in Prince Edward Island. During her life, she published 8 Anne books, 3 Emily books, 2 Story Girl books, 2 Pat of Silver Bush books, and 5 other novels. Within the Anne-Avonlea collection, though, there are two collections of short stories edited within her life (one authorized and one done without her permission). A final volume of Anne-Avonlea stories, The Blythes are Quoted, was completed by Montgomery and left with her publisher just before she died.[2]

CSL:LMM Adaptations

Notably, taking Montgomery’s books to the screen has worked very well with films that have interesting dialogue with the texts, while the Narnian films have been big budget films that were flat in a lot of ways.

The new Niki Caro Anne series on CBC/Netflix has caused quite a stir. It is a well-written, character-driven loose adaptation that restores parts of the text and transforms other parts. The three Kevin Sullivan miniseries were strongly resonant of Montgomery’s original work, and Road to Avonlea—the serialization of the Story Girl books—is still in broad circulation globally. I was not caught by the Emily of New Moon TV series, partly because the creators misunderstood or ignored Montgomery’s worldview in the way the producers of the Narnian films did of Lewis. But as a low budget series, Emily of New Moon has some endearing qualities, while the only Narnian film worth watching twice is the 2005 feature film of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe—though I have heard there is a cult following to that crazy 1980s BBC series. There is hope for Narnia on the screen as Anne has been adapted every couple of decades, in 1919, 1934, and 1956 before Kevin Sullivan succeeded. And while I love Martin Sheen, the 2016 Harrison Anne film was a stinker.

Intriguingly, both Lewis and Montgomery work well on stage. Anne of Green Gables: The Musical has shown every summer in PEI since 1965 (a Guinness World Record), and though I’m going on the experience of others, word is that the various adaptations of Screwtape and The Great Divorce on stage have been engaging, and that the Perelandra opera in 1998 was moving.

CLS:LMM as Authors

Though they were both popular and prodigious authors, they had unique approaches to publication.

As we’ve already seen, Lewis had broad output was in the variety of projects while Montgomery’s broad output was in places and ways she could get her work to print. In this Montgomery was much more clever about publication. Lewis was not terribly good at naming books, sometimes made errors in his proofs, and largely followed the advice of his publishers—offering most of his own opinions in cover design and adaptations.

By contrast, once Montgomery had made enough errors in her early years, she found her way. After her initial successes that were largely owned by the tyrannous L.C. Page & Co. in New York, she took control of her destiny, even launching a decade-long high-dollar lawsuit when it was clear that Page was just going to run her over as a naïve woman author. She very carefully shaped her public persona, and she carefully prepared her journals for publication, cultivating the image that she wanted to emerge from them.

Though Lewis was moderately successful as an author and it looked like Narnia was growing in interest, it wasn’t until Lewis was married that he started to see the potential of his work as someone who provided not just ideas and stories but books as products for the world. He largely allowed the publication world to go on as it would, at one point getting into financial trouble because he gave all his royalties away.

Montgomery and Lewis both felt the sting of early rejection. For Lewis, his first two books of poetry were far from literary successes, and his 1926 Dymer, which he had worked on for the better part of a decade, had almost no response. In 1930, he wrote to his best friend, remembering “the evening when the MS of Dymer came back from Heinemanns [Lewis’ previous publisher] rejected without a word of criticism or encouragement: and I remembered that after a very miserable night I sat down to assume the worst…” (18 Aug 1930 letter to Arthur Greeves). In that letter, Lewis goes on to recognize that the sheer pleasure of seeing a book in print was a kind of delusion for him. He wanted readers, and wanted to be known as a poet. As he moved to a more spiritual perspective, he came to terms with the fact that he would not be a “poet” in the sense he imagined, and his publishing career came slowly—beginning in academics, then moving to SF and apologetics work, then extending out from there.

Montgomery talks in her memoir about her own initial rejections:

After leaving Prince of Wales College I taught school for a year in Bideford, Prince Edward Island. I wrote a good deal and learned a good deal, but still my stuff came back, except from two periodicals the editors of which evidently thought that literature was its own reward, and quite independent of monetary considerations. I often wonder that I did not give up in utter discouragement. At first I used to feel dreadfully hurt when a story or poem over which I had laboured and agonized came back, with one of those icy little rejection slips. Tears of disappointment would come in spite of myself, as I crept away to hide the poor, crimpled manuscript in the depths of my trunk. But after a while I got hardened to it and did not mind. I only set my teeth and said “I will succeed.” I believed in myself and I struggled on alone, in secrecy and silence. I never told my ambitions and efforts and failures to any one. Down, deep down, under all discouragement and rebuff, I knew I would “arrive” some day (The Alpine Path).

Arrive she did, in spectacular fashion with a bestseller, Anne of Green Gables. But this classic struggled to its first publication. In publication, Montgomery had a rule: “Nine out of ten manuscripts came back to me,” Montgomery wrote, “But I sent them out over and over again, and eventually they found resting places” (The Alpine Path). This trend of rejection continued when she had succeeded in writing a novel—a dream of hers. After shopping her manuscript of Anne of Green Gables around to a handful of publishers, she “put Anne away in an old hat-box in the clothes room” (The Alpine Path). She bumped into it again while rummaging—something that Lewis admitted happened in his own writing, and may have been the provenance of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe—and decided to give it another try. Anne with an “e” and Lucy of Narnia remain two of the most endearing and enduring characters of the 20th century, each born out of a long process of authors finding their way to print.

CSL:LMM, Other Connections

There are other connection points between Montgomery and Lewis. Both are genre fiction writers, Lewis working in fantasy and science fiction while Montgomery excelled at women’s writing and romance. Both are noted writers of youth fiction who largely succeeded by not really writing to kids, but writing stories they found to be worthwhile—and juvenile readers agreed. Both are interesting poets with imaginative verse and a good metrical sense, but whose prose outshines their poetry. There are pretty complete collections of their poetry now. Lewis is commemorated in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey, while Montgomery was the first Canadian woman to be named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in England. Although they began their publishing careers as poets, however, they are remembered today for prose, not poetry.

CLS:LMM and War

As I will suggest in more detail later in the series, both Montgomery and Lewis were profoundly affected by WWI, and their work is shaped by war.

While Lewis was preparing to head to the trenches in France, Montgomery was working as a pro-war activist in Ontario, giving speeches and writing essays. Both the Ransom Cycle and Narnia are linked in various ways to WWII—a link that is particularly intimate in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength, as well as The Great Divorce—and war is a thematic concern in Prince Caspian, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and Till We Have Faces.

While writing romantic books that feature girls as their heroes, it is clear that the great war had its impact on Montgomery. The war haunts behind Rainbow Valley, and it comes to fruition in Rilla of Ingleside—the book that I think may be Montgomery’s greatest achievement (though Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon are brilliant). The Rilla story, I will argue, should be one of our canonical war books, and I don’t think the impact of the clash of civilization ever left Montgomery. Montgomery died during WWII with two boys at fighting age; we shouldn’t be surprised that she died the week before a referendum on Canadian conscription for war service.

CSL:LMM as Christian Writers

It should be obvious, but isn’t always so, that both Lewis and Montgomery were Christian writers—each of whom in their own way rejected the literary modernism that dominated their formative years and that we see in writers like the Bloomsbury Group, the Paris expats of the 20s, and other smart sets of the time. Each of them were rooted in the romantic tradition, and each revelled in humour. Though there is darkness in the work, it lacks the sour tang of modernism, and rejects the dialectical roots and the relentless hunt for newness. While rocked by WWI, their work does not spin sideways because of it.

There are critical differences, but Lewis as a Christian public intellectual and Montgomery as a minister’s wife each found ways to speak their faith into poetry and story in overt and subtle ways. While each of them published in religious venues, their main work was published for the mainstream community. The flavour of that Christian-informed writing, though, is quite different. Montgomery is writing for a much broader Christian audience in pre-WWII North America—a community that is experiencing an uptick in personal Christian commitment—while Lewis is writing to a British public that is steadily setting religion aside, despite some return to faith during WWII.

What difference that difference makes I will explore later.

CSL:LMM as Islanders

And, of course, L.M. Montgomery and C.S. Lewis are both Islanders. You’d be surprised how much of a difference this makes to one’s perspective. At UPEI we have an entire MA program dedicated to the question of “Islandness,” but it certainly shapes the worldview of these and other authors.

Though Great Britain—and Lewis lived his whole life on two of the British isles—is a tiny cluster of islands off the coast of a powerful continent, they felt it their mission to take over the entire world one way or another (through conquest, religion, allied war, political diplomacy, and the spread of democracy, language, and culture). Here in Prince Edward Island we haven’t quite managed the same feat. But we imagine that we could do so, and we generally view the world along two lines: people from here, and people from away. Don’t underestimate the Islandness in Island works.

These wandering thoughts are just some of the connections I have made, and perhaps you could add some more. Montgomery is a second string on my bow, complimenting my work in Lewis studies. And in that the conversation between the two has been rich. I hope you enjoy the series and feel free to add comments to help others see the CSL:LMM links that are no doubt there.

[1] The Wikipedia page for “Bestselling Books” has Narnia at 120,000,000 books; not including pirated books and out of copyright distribution, we could guess that the rest of Lewis’ sales come in around 150,000,000 copies. Montgomery is undoubtedly Canada’s bestselling author, ahead of Margaret Atwood (whose annual sales are 500,000 to 1,000,000) and Robert Munsch. It is estimated that Anne of Green Gables has sold 50,000,000 copies.

[2] The Blythes are Quoted is hard to get, and is the only Anne-Avonlea book I haven’t read. A new edition was supposed to be released on the 76th anniversary of her death and the day the publisher received a copy of the book (24 Apr 1942), but Penguin didn’t get it ready in time. I’m in line at the library for a copy of this unusual book, featuring short stories, poems, and vignettes and covering the WWI through WWII periods.

About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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65 Responses to CSL:LMM, C.S. Lewis and L.M. Montgomery (L.M. Montgomery Series)

  1. Two of my favourite authors, I will follow this series with great interest!


    • Awesome! Glad to have you around.

      Liked by 1 person

    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      Yep! And two famous writers whose fiction I did not read till I was grown up (however strangely that happened).

      Looking forward to all we’ll learn…

      To boldly query – do we know if the fairly omnivorous Lewis brothers ever read any LMM? (As she is Chesterton’s contemporary – only six months younger, though longer-lived – the young Lewises could even conceivably have read her around the same time they were reading E. Nesbit as her works appeared.) Dr. Clive Tolley and I were both ever keener LMM readers while we were taking turns looking after The Kilns together – maybe we were unconsciously part of a tradition – which has continued since, without our knowing it (!).

      Again, do we know what-all, if anything, LMM read of ‘the Seven’ or so (MacDonald, Chesterton, Lewis, Barfield, Sayers, Tolkien, and Williams)? Does it just ‘feel like’ MacDonald is also in her background, or am I forgetting something I actually read somewhere?

      Liked by 1 person

      • None of the names appeared on a quick search in The Alpine Path but that obviously doesn’t prove anything (although I enjoyed finding that she read H.C. Andersen as a child, so did I).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have checked through C.S. Lewis and there is no reference that I can see. It might have been outside his taste, as she only flirts with faerie but never tumbles fully in. The women’s magazine stories were not Lewis’ favourite. What of Warren?
        I have thought of Montgomery, but she died in 1942. The key would be to go to the indices of the journals, but I only borrowed #1. Next library visit.
        She did read MacDonald, though, and I think the flavour of her next-field-over fairyland is MacDonald fey + Tennyson’s tragic romance. But I haven’t done the hard work on that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Susan Marston says:

          In Anne of Avonlea, a letter by Paul Irvin about sailing in the sunset, which was actually flowers, made me think of Reepicheep on the end of the world in his little boat, as it was flowers there, too.


  2. L.A. Smith says:

    Oh I loved this! Echoing the previous comment, these are two of my very favourites so this post was a special treat. I cant’t wait to see what you have in store for us as you explore the works and legacy of LMM.

    I didn’t realize LMM was as prolific as she was. Wow. She is truly one of my writing heroes.


  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    I so liked the first two Sullivan’s (and to a certain extent whatever of the Road to Avonlea ones I saw) I don’t know if I want to try anything else…

    I do think there is a lot to like in the BBC Narnia’s and prefer them in lots of ways to the big-screen LWW and VDT – what might they have been like if they had been budgeted like some other BBC productions?


    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      Whoa – Dutch apostrophe s usage slipped in… !


    • I have to catch the BBC series sometime. There is a BBC Anne kicking around somewhere, I think. It is probably bad, but the Kevin Sullivan materials are (I think) excellent. The third movie I haven’t seen since it came out, but I suspect I will love this war movie better than before.
      I also like the new Anne series.


  4. Thank you, Brenton! This post is such a treat, both in your choice of the two people you are comparing and in the wealth of knowledge and study you bring to the subject. Plus your bookshelves look JUST! LIKE! OURS! (except you obviously have some first editions–or are those just old and tattered?).

    I would love your thoughts on Islandness–maybe more properly termed Islandism by those of us from Away? (Snobbery can be a two-way street.) I grew up in Japan but my literary heritage and preference from early childhood has been all things British, from Winnie the Pooh (my all-time favorite but only Milne’s original) and Alice in Wonderland through Dickens to Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series (We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea is the most delightful to me because I also grew up on a 50-foot yacht circumnavigating the world) (Is that redundant?), Mary Poppins, Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men and a Boat (but a smaller boat, navigating the Thames) and James Herriott’s All Creatures Great and Small, etc.

    (Take breath to clear fog caused by extended sidetrack.) I have thought about the similarities of those two island clusters, about equal in size, latitude and (at some time in each of their pasts) imperialism. Somehow in both England and Japan the conquer-and-colonize mentality never tainted the innocence of their children’s stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Three Men IN a Boat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        How about The Wind in the Willows, with all its messing about on the water? (The Rackham illustrations scared me as a small child, but I’ve come to love the story as a grown-up.)

        Liked by 1 person

    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      I had the admiration of the Tolkien’s for Arthur Ransome’s books and Ransome’s for The Hobbit in the back of my mind in wondering about who may have read whom, above…

      What Japanese children’s stories in translation would you recommend? (All that pops into my mind are fairy tales translated/retold by Lafcadio Hearn…!)


    • Confession: I stole the bookshelf pic, cribbing it from a couple of other sources. My LMM bookshelf has 15 cheap paperbacks!
      I know a bit about your yacht story: Is living on a yacht like a very small Island?
      It sounds strange, but I think that PEI, Japan, and the UK have together a similarity that I suspect they share with Taiwan and Tasmania and Iceland that they don’t share with Botswana or Idaho or Poland. What that is is harder to define, but the sense of us/other is certainly part of it, as if the reality of the geography seals in the mythology.
      There are people who have studied it more carefully that I’m sure could speak to the Islandism (though I think “Islandness” would make a better book title).

      Liked by 1 person

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Burbling a bit… where a big island is concerned, I wonder how much difference being aware one is on an island makes to one’s experience of being near the sea (and vice versa) – I’m ‘sea-moved’, and living in Massachusetts and now the Netherlands, I feel closer to the sea, more stirred by the sea, as far as I can tell, than living ‘inland’ on an island, in places like Grantham and Oxford (but how I feel it, visiting Whitby, or (most of?) Wales!).


        • Critical point. I didn’t feel the Islandness where we were in Japan (next to a volcano on a beautiful plateau), but once I was on the highway I felt it. It was the sea that drew me, so that in Vancouver I very much felt the coastline.I also lived in Newfoundland, very Island-like. Trundling around Oxford and Chester, I didn’t feel anything particularly Island-like (though closish to sea), but as soon as I went into Wales I felt it.
          It could be I’m making it all up!


      • Back to “islandness” for a moment. You asked, “Is living on a yacht like a very small island?” Yes, now that I think about it, being out of sight of land on a 50-foot yacht is VERY much like being on a small island (or planet even, like The Little Prince). An island, in our case, with two palm trees (if your eyes didn’t follow them to their tops) or like Lewis’ Perelandra–an island or islands in constant motion, an island that keeps you queasy.

        But then I wonder about what the man with the impressive name (above) says about just living by the sea whether you’re on a big island or the mainland. No, I’m not sure that works, because of the awareness. There is a knowing that you can drive or take a train overland to other bits, bits that connect you, that I think is different from knowing there is a bridge. I felt delightfully disconnected from All That Out There (said with a scornful toss of the head) while on PEI. I didn’t want to leave the coziness of that isolation.

        So, yes–once the lines are thrown off, a boat IS a small island and also yes, “the reality of the geography seals in the mythology.” Even if it weren’t true, I like the elegant way it sounds.

        Now I really must go find a couple of light sabers and a Storm Trooper helmet or something for the Star Wars party we are taking 13 mainland Chinese students to tonight. Should be a kick to watch first contact (to borrow from Star Trek)–11 of them have never heard of Star Wars. Maybe, being small, I’ll Yoda be instead.


        • Thanks for sharing, Jessica. I can’t scientifically say much, but I do agree about the Islandness and that sense of space. I am now in New Brunswick, on the “mainland,” and although we’re surrounded by encroaching flood waters, it feels a lot more solid and … continental.
          I would love some life on a boat.
          May the 4th be with you!


          • (May the 4th be with you)–and with you! Ten mainland Chinese students, 18-20 years old, here in the United States for four months of English conversation (among other things) came to the Star Wars party at our church tonight. They know little English and only two of them had ever heard of Star Wars. They immediately lined up to decorate foam light sabers and had enthusiastic battles with little kids who were delighted to pile on an adult. The food was rice bowls (chicken, beef, pork) which they said was “just like home.” They had a blast! I think the evening took Chinese-American relations to a whole “nother” level!

            Liked by 1 person

        • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

          “There is a knowing that you can drive or take a train overland to other bits, bits that connect you, that I think is different from knowing there is a bridge.” Yes, I think you’re right – that’s always there, if ‘under the surface’. (I think of the classic (supposed?) headline, ‘Thick Fog in the English Channel – Continent Isolated’.)

          I’ve just read 1805 by Richard Woodman and am just reading Ramage and the Guillotine by the late Dudley Pope, two ‘historical naval’ novelists (among other things) who, the Wikipediast tells me, both spent a lot of time living ‘on board’. Of Woodman, “He went to sea at the age of sixteen as an indentured midshipman and has spent eleven years in command. His experience ranges from cargo-liners to ocean weather ships and specialist support vessels as well as yachts, square-riggers, and trawlers […] and [he] continues his close association with the sea as a keen yachtsman.” Of Pope: “He took to living on boats from 1953 on; when he married Kay Pope in 1954, they lived on a William Fife 8-meter named Concerto, then at Porto Santo Stefano, Italy in 1959 with a 42-foot ketch Tokay. In 1963 he and Kay moved to a 53-foot cutter Golden Dragon, on which they moved to Barbados in 1965. In 1968 they moved onto a 54-foot wooden yacht named Ramage, aboard which he wrote all of his stories until 1985.” Wow! (I don’t know how much of a difference it makes, as I have no watery experience between a rowboat on a lake* in Boars Hill, and Channel ferries (and, once, a hovercraft), and the QE II, but both have been delightful reading! Also thoroughly enjoyed Tim Severin’s The Brendan Voayage, recently – giving a vivid picture of the very distinct experience of life aboard a mediaeval leathern boat!)

          Islands make all sorts of differences – when I knocked around with Professor Chang Chin Erh, from Taiwan, he was thoroughly delighted in being able to drink as much fresh milk as he liked.

          *The Wikipediast tells me ‘Llewellyn’ “combines the theonyms Lugus and Belenus” – both of whom may have inland watery connections.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Something curiously inviting strikes me (perhaps more than idiosyncratically) – to compare – and contrast! – Anne’s initial experiences in Avonlea, with John’s childhood in The Pilgrim’s Regress (!)


    • Puritania = Avonlea?


      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Not exactly ‘equals’, but, yes – the ‘Calvinistic’ Reformation background in Avonlea (as in various realistic MacDonald novels, like Robert Falconer, for instance: maybe a good one to try!) which seems to inform the name ‘Puritania’ and (to my sense – but I should reread!) details of the depiction, though with distinct contrasts, too – Avonlea does not have the systematic hypocrisy of Puritania (as I remember it…), for a very big difference!


  6. loritischler says:

    FanTAStic. I always knew in the murky recesses of my mind that there were similarities. Beautifully, thoroughly said, BD! A real treat: THANK YOU.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Hmm… just noticed the mischievous left-handed Lewis photo at the top: I can’t remember who(-all) has published it, that way, but getting acquainted with The Kilns first made me suddenly notice in whatever book – ‘that’s not where the fireplace is in Lewis’s room!’. But, it makes such an aesthetically pleasing effect together with the photo of LMM, here, perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned it… (I’d say, leave it as is, with this comment like an ‘erratum slip’ in a published book!)

    What marvellous Anne and Dymer early edition covers: wow!

    And that 2008 commemorative stamp somehow keeps bringing me up short – the palette and style somehow remind me of an early Italian Renaissance painting, which makes Anne’s straw hat seem like a stylized nimbus on a saint (!)


    • Ha, yes, I actually turned both of those around at various times. I know Lewis’ room, but I don’t know if Montgomery was left or right handed.
      There are only a handful of Dymer covers in existence, but there are a few Anne ones (I think it printed 8000, so quite a first edition in 1908). Neither of those stamps are terribly brilliant, honestly. And the Anne license plates here were atrocious (but won a license plate design award…).


  8. Brenton, did you finally go to THE Anne play–and wasn’t it Just Right?


    • Believe it or not, we haven’t gotten to the musical yet (since we were teens). We will, and would have this year, but Jesus Christ Superstar is taking all our theatre money for the year. But my niece did play Marilla last week in a very good high school stage play in New Brunswick!


  9. > I think that PEI, Japan, and the UK have together a similarity that I suspect they share with Taiwan and Tasmania and Iceland that they don’t share with Botswana or Idaho or Poland. What that is is harder to define…<

    When I shared the concept of Islandness with my brother Ted, who sailed with us around the world–actually NAVIGATED us around the world, at the age of 16–he said he saw at once the similarities of the first group that are not shared by the second one: Botswana, Idaho and Poland all have "o"s in them, whereas PEI, Japan and the UK do not. (My response to him: Where is a sticking-out-one's-tongue emoji when you need one?)

    He also wondered if Mont St. Michel should be considered an island or not–do they share a sense of Islandness only when the tide is up? Can Long Island be considered a fully-qualifying island? quoth he. And how about Rhode Island? (My brilliant brother can also be engagingly absurd.) HE said a small boat is not IN ANY WAY like a small island, to which I need the same emoji.)


    • Well, that’s a twist I hadn’t thought of…. Rhode Island and Long Island are in my mind peninsulas. It doesn’t sound like we got a lot of evidence out of that conversation!


      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Have a look at Wikipedia’s “Aquidneck Island” (as “last edited on 24 March 2018, at 01:22”): wow- I never heard of any of this, before (as far as I recall)! . (And their “Long Island” article includes, “Adriaen Block followed in 1615 and is credited as the first European to determine that both Manhattan and Long Island are islands.”)


    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      Made a good start on the longish title poem of a book by a young poet known to Lewis, S.O.S…’Ludlow’ (1940) by Christopher Hassall. It’s set aboard an 8000 ton ship on the Atlantic in October 1939, and starts with a chess game between two passengers… very interesting, in all sorts of ways, so far…


      • Well, if they turn it into a movie, all they need is one set. And a chessboard!


        • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

          Not to strew spoilers, but, I’ve finished it now, and, as it happens, things happen, and more sets will be called for… It’s very vivid and (inadequate adjectival) interesting in all sorts of ways, including, like and unlike the River in Prince Caspian, in some sense having Ocean as talking character – while being very ‘realistic’! (More teaser than spoiler, I hope – though how many libraries have it…?)

          Liked by 1 person

        • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

          I can now reveal that the occasion of my reading S.O.S…’Ludlow’ (1940) by Christopher Hassall has to do with in what sense it was known to Lewis. Michael Blakeley contacted Arend Smilde, having identified the quotation in chapter nine section two of That Hideous Strength as having come from the title poem of that book. But he made the discovery via a google books version that only gave selective access to the text, so most of the context was tantalizingly missing. Arend asked if I had a copy or knew of anyone who did, I hadn’t, but asked Dale Nelson – who had just returned a copy he’d read via Inter-Library Loan! Meanwhile, Arend discovered a library copy in the Netherlands… So now, at least three Lewis-lovers who know each other have recently read this very interesting and earnestly enjoyable poem (I’m not sure if Michael Blakeley has read all of it, yet).

          Arend has just added a note here – for anyone willing to find out what happens later in the poem, without having read it right through:


          We haven’t discussed it in detail, but I think it is interesting to compare and contrast the experiences of the speaker in the poem up to that point, and those of Mark Studdock in THS up to the point where Lewis quotes it…

          Liked by 1 person

          • This is very cool! Next time you drop a bomb like this let’s make it a guest post to advertise Arend’s excellent ongoing work.
            The thing about “intertextuality” is that it works best as a community affair: no one person can track the reader life of a reader like Lewis. But together….


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  14. katehthomas says:

    How interesting to read a comparison of these two authors!


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  16. I just spent the last 20 minutes reading this post and all the myriad comments, lost in a lovely web of literary and geographical references! Delightful! And there is so much I would love to respond to!

    To begin, I came across your post by way of a simple search, actually: I recently picked up my well-loved copy of Anne of Green Gables after 20 years or so and made some startling discoveries, one of which led me to draft an outline for an essay on Anne and CSLewis’ The Four Loves, which I had recently finished reading. Of the four, only Eros is noticably absent, though that in itself is worth examination, I think. There are, of course, strong Friendships, clear Affection and sincere Charity in Anne, and in many of LMM’s works, but I think an examination of Lewis’ view is worth making because of the complexity of the relationships in her work.

    In addition to my love and admiration for LMM and CSL I am also a huge and unabashed Arthur Ransome fan! In fact, I have a special place in my heart for children’s literature, and I know I am not alone: Tolkien read Ransome and Lewis returned again and again to The Wind in the Willows. Anyway, thank you for this lovely journey! I’ll return for more adventures!


    • Thanks for this nice note! The 4 Loves + Montgomery is a good idea. For eros I think the Emily series is more complex than even the older Anne books, where “romance” means all kinds of things wrapped into one, like fairy tales and adventures and love. It could be worth a study!
      Yes, Ransome has a touch, and the Wind in the Willows is an important book. Though it has never caught me totally, I still remember childhood reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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  26. gerrycarlson says:

    Thank you for this blog. I am introducing my two adopted granddaughters to the worlds of Lewis and Montgomery. The girls are from the foster system but have been our own for eight years now. BTW, we have been to see “Anne” in Charlottetown twice. Once we took our daughter, who directs plays, some years before she adopted the girls. We’ve also biked the Confederation Trail and of course visite the Green Gables.


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