Monday, 4 July 2011

The Princess and I

Here's a bit of what we academics call 'impact'.

Some royals are visiting Canada, and staying for a while on Prince Edward Island, seemingly because Kate - the female royal - is a fan of L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables.

What a coincidence - I've delivered a conference paper on the series, and have another one in the works, hopefully for the L. M. Montgomery and Cultural Memory conference on the island in June next year, if it's accepted.

I wonder what the royal's love of Anne is based on. Is it the character's near-endless deferral of heterosexual love and marriage? Is it the frequent racial slurs ('street-Arabs', the French and Americans are the main targets)? Is it Anne's fervent espousal of the Conservative Party? Or the novels' eventual whole-hearted endorsement of World War One, on the basis that a country isn't a nation until lots of blood has been spilt? Montgomery repented of this neofascist position when WW2 turned up - it may have been a contributory factor to her suicide (another detail not often mentioned on the back cover of Anne).

Or might it be that she's only skim-read the first novel and never bothered with the many sequels? Perhaps she'll come to the conference so I can explain all this to her. Before producing a guillotine.

(And by the way, Guardian: it's not a 'Victorian classic'. It was written in 1908, seven years after Victoria's death.).


The Red Witch said...

I haven't read Anne of Green Gables since I was a wee thing with red hair and freckles meself but doesn't all that political stuff come with the sequels to the first book? Hardly anyone reads them.
Maybe Kate is really there for the potatoes. They are awesome but no one will believe that she eats. Especially carbs.
Or Skinner's Pond? Don't they have a Stompin Tom museum? They should. Stompin Tom is the best. :-)

The Plashing Vole said...

The racial stuff appears in the first novel, but the rest comes in the sequels. When I presented my paper, even the experts hadn't read them. I have. What a painful experience. They just get worse and worse.

Must look up Stompin Tom.

Ewarwoowar said...

Forgive me Vole, but this rather bizarre rant brought to mind this:

The Plashing Vole said...

Ha! I like it.

EVWA said...

Have you read ALL the novels? Even I as a massive Anne fan haven't done that. Funny - I missed all the racist and political parts when I was 9 - just loved her funny character. I really want to go to PEI - can I come in your pocket, please?

The Plashing Vole said...

I have indeed read them all. They're quite strange in many ways. I don't actually think the racial bits are any more offensive than most other texts of the time - rather less in many cases.The later books become very strained as she searches for more amusing and cute children to put at the centre of events.

Apparently several of her other books are quite good, but I haven't read any of them (yet).

The Red Witch said...

@but this rather bizarre rant brought to mind this:

hope that wasn't about me. My comments are all tongue in cheek. Except the part about Stompin Tom. He is awesome. And if you look at his bio, he is appropriate to mention in connection to Anne.