of the World. International conference, Uppsala University, Sweden, August 20-23, 2009.
Read about L.M. Montgomery Celebrated in Sweden
from the Summerside Journal Pioneer Newspaper on Prince Edward Island
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||The 2009 international L.M. Montgomery conference began with a reception in the Linnéanum, at the edge
of the botaniska trädgården (botanical garden) in Uppsala, Sweden. The building was erected in honour of Uppsala’s hometown
celebrity, 18th century botanist Carl Linnaeus. The Baroque garden seen here originally belonged to Uppsala castle, but was
donated to Uppsala Universitet (university) by King Gustav III.Jocelyne Lloyd/Journal Pioneer
Montgomery celebrated in Sweden JOCELYNE LLOYD
The Journal Pioneer
UPPSALA, Sweden – Where would you expect to find the world’s most respected scholars of Lucy Maud
Montgomery congregating, meeting fans and sharing their lives’ work? Probably not Sweden.
But that is where the “giants”
of the Montgomery scholarship world (as they were referred to repeatedly) met recently to celebrate the 100th anniversary
of the first translation of “Anne of Green Gables” into Swedish.
“Montgomery is not only important in
Canada or Prince Edward Island,” explained conference co-organizer Dr. Gabriella Åhmansson, “but all over the
Indeed, the conference was called “L.M. Montgomery — Writer of the World” and attracted
delegates from as far away as Japan (of course), Finland, Russia and China. Organizers expected about 200 Montgomery enthusiasts
for the four-day conference in Uppsala, Sweden, and 120 of them were present for the English wrap-up presentations Sunday.
should all be in church,” Dr. Elizabeth Waterston admonished the international crowd before she launched into a 30-minute
snapshot of Montgomery’s life and writing.
Waterston later joined a panel discussion with her University of Guelph
colleague Dr. Mary Rubio, probably best known for their collaboration in editing and getting published Montgomery’s
journals. The pair were flanked by the founder of the Lucy Maud Montgomery Institute at UPEI, Dr. Betsy Epperly, and Åhmansson,
who wrote the first doctoral thesis ever on Montgomery’s work, “A Life and its Mirrors: a Feminist Reading of
L.M. Montgomery’s fiction”.
Åhmansson related that a male colleague had told her when she was beginning this
thesis, “If I used the word feminist in my title, it would ruin my career. And he was right. But I would not go back
to 1981 and change anything.”
The other women on the panel experienced similar reactions to their choice of subject.
Epperly had also wanted to write a thesis on Montgomery.
“That wasn’t allowed,” she said. “You
couldn’t do that. So I did my paper on a dead Victorian man.” She still enjoys Anthony Trollope, but has focused
her career since on her first love.
“After all,” she told the crowd, “I had changed my citizenship from
American to Canadian because I loved Montgomery so much.”
Montgomery’s granddaughter and president of the Heirs
of L.M. Montgomery, Kate Macdonald Butler, confessed to being amazed at her grandmother’s universal appeal.
2008 I had the opportunity to travel a fair bit. I was so struck,” she said. “Well, in Japan, the readers, they
cry when they meet me. They just love the stories so much and they’re moved when they meet me.”
plenty of fans in Uppsala lining up to meet Macdonald Butler — even asking her to sign their copies of “Anne of
“We’re all pleased to be here,” Waterston reiterated. “We’re all grateful
to L.M. Montgomery.”
L.M. Montgomery’s world famous novel Anne of Green Gables
has continued to attract readers from all over the world for a century. Our centenary conference is a tribute to all of those
who have made 100 years of readership possible. The main theme of the
conference is “Reading Response.” We will explore reading experiences of Anne of Green Gables and other
works by L.M. Montgomery. One section will be dedicated to Anne of Green Gables in Sweden.
Conference Co-ordinator Gabriella Åhmansson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conference Co-ordinator Åsa Warnqvist