Tuesday, October 22, 2013

L.M. Montgomery (1874-1942)

Lucy Maud Montgomery
Teacher, Proofreader, Poet, Diarist, Author of Novels and Short Stories
Born November 30, 1874, Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Died April 24, 1942, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Believe it or not, Lucy Maud Montgomery, creator of Anne of Green Gables, also contributed to Weird Tales. Hers was but a single story, "The House Party at Smoky Island," published in the August 1935 issue of "The Unique Magazine." She was born on November 30, 1874, on Prince Edward Island, the setting for her Anne of Green Gables books. Called Maud by her friends, she was orphaned before the age of two when her mother died and her grief stricken father left her with his wife's parents. Maud grew up a lonely child, and though she enjoyed a whirlwind social and romantic life as a young woman, once she settled into marriage, Maud endured a good deal of unhappiness. Her husband, a Presbyterian minister, was unhappier still. According to Wikipedia, "writing was her one great solace."

Under the pen name L.M. Montgomery, Maud wrote twenty novels and 500 short stories and poems. Her first novel was the acclaimed Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908. Like Sax Rohmer with Fu Manchu, Maud tired of her most famous creation and authored a number of other series. None is or was as popular as her stories of the irrepressible redheaded orphan of Prince Edward Island.

Shortly before she died, Maud penned a note, later found at her bedside. It read in part:
I have lost my mind by spells and I do not dare think what I may do in those spells. May God forgive me and I hope everyone else will forgive me even if they cannot understand. My position is too awful to endure and nobody realizes it. What an end to a life in which I tried always to do my best.
The cause of her death is unclear. Some believe she killed herself. Others say no. In any case, Lucy Maud Montgomery died at home in Toronto on April 24, 1942. She was sixty-seven years old.

L.M. Montgomery's Story in Weird Tales
"The House Party at Smoky Island" (Aug. 1935)

Further Reading
You can find more on Lucy Maud Montgomery at Wikipedia and the Speculative Fiction Database, which has links to other sites.

I have never read the Anne of Green Gables books, but I saw the PBS series from many years ago. In that series, Anne is of course a positive and cheerful girl. Little did I know that there were darker undercurrents in the life of her creator. Among the Shadows (1990) collects the darker stories of L.M. Montgomery. Five of the nineteen tales in this collection have supernatural elements.
Here is the French-language version of the book . . . 
And a variant cover, which looks more like a Gothic romance from the 1970s.
Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

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