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Becoming Green Gables

Alan MacEachern
pubblicato da McGill-Queen's University Press

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In 1909 Myrtle and Ernest Webb took possession of an ordinary farm in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. Ordinary but for one thing: it was already becoming known as inspiration for Anne of Green Gables, the novel written by Myrtle's cousin Lucy Maud Montgomery and published to international acclaim a year earlier. The Webbs welcomed visitors to "Green Gables" and soon took in summer boarders, making their home the heart of PEI's tourist trade. In the 1930s the farm was made the centrepiece of a new national park and still the family lived there for another decade, caretakers of their own home.

During these years Myrtle kept a diary. When she first picked up the pencil in 1924, she was a forty-year-old homemaker running a household of eight. By the time she set the pencil down in 1954, she was a seventy-year-old widow, no longer resident in what was now the most famous house in Canada. Becoming Green Gables tells the story of Myrtle Webb and her family, and the making of Green Gables. Alan MacEachern reproduces a selection of the diary's daily entries, using them as springboards to examine topics ranging from the adoption of modern conveniences to the home front hosting of soldiers in wartime and visits from "Aunt Maud" herself.

While the foundation of Becoming Green Gables is the Webbs' own story, it is also a history of their famous home, their community, the nation, and the world in which they lived.

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