Women Writers of Children's Literature

By Harold Bloom | Go to book overview

Lucy Maud Montgomery
1874 - 1940

LUCY MAUD MONTGOMERY was an orphan raised on the small seaside settlement of Cavendish on Prince Edward Island: less than two years after her birth on November 30, 1874, her mother, Clara MacNeill Montgomery, died of tuberculosis; her father, a shopkeeper, left his only child in the care of her maternal grandparents and went west. Lucy and Alexander MacNeill were of old Scotts stock, severe in their Presbyterian beliefs, and Lucy Maud's sensitive, artistic temperament was antithetical to the ethos of her grandparents and their farming community. The natural beauty that surrounded her, however, and her pleasure in keeping a journal provided solace in her otherwise isolated childhood.

In 1890, Lucy Maud's father sent for her to join him, his new wife, and their two children in Saskatchewan. Despite her pleasure in being reunited with her father, her stay lasted only a year, for her stepmother exploited her as a wageless housekeeper and nanny. The publication of a poem and an article on the beauties of Saskatchewan in various newspapers during this time somewhat alleviated her frustration and her homesickness for the beauty of her island home.

Upon returning to Cavendish, Lucy Maud entered the Prince of Wales College, where she earned her teaching license. She taught for a year in Bideford and used her earnings to return to school, this time in Halifax at Dalhousie College. Shortly thereafter, she fell in love with a farmer, but, despite the intensity of her sexual attraction to him, she felt that their class difference was too great to overcome. News of her grandfather's death gave her an escape from this dilemma, and she returned to Cavendish to care for her grandmother.

From 1901 to 1911, Lucy Maud lived with her grandmother, leaving only briefly to work as a columnist and editor at the Halifax Daily Echo and to build her career as a writer. In 1906 she became engaged to Ewan MacDonald, a minister at the Cavendish Presbyterian church, despite her distaste for the life of a minister's wife and her lack of passion for Ewan; she convinced him to postpone the wedding until after her grandmother's death. In the intervening five years, Lucy Maud wrote and published her first and most popular novel, Anne of Green Gables ( 1908), and three sequels.

When her grandmother died, in 1911, Lucy Maud and Ewan were married and moved to Leaksdale, Ontario; a year later, their first son was born. Lucy Maud's dislike of the role of the minister's wife did not

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Women Writers of Children's Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Women Writen of Children's Siterature *
  • Contents *
  • The Gnalysis of Women Writers xi
  • Introduction xv
  • Louisa May Alcott 1832-1888 1
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett 1849-1924 17
  • Louise Fitzhugh 1928-1974 32
  • Kate Greenaway 1846-1901 43
  • Ursula K. Le Guin B. 1929 55
  • Madeleine S'Eng B. 1918 70
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery 1874 - 1940 82
  • Edith Kesbit 1858-1924 95
  • Katherine Paterson B. 1932 114
  • Beatrix Potter 1866 - 1943 125
  • P.L. Jravers 1899 - 1996 140
  • Laura Inagalls Wilder 1867 - 1957 151
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