“THE DEAREST AND MOST LOVABLE CHILD IN FICTION SINCE THE IMMORTAL ALICE” (MARK TWAIN): FIRST EDITION OF ANNE OF AVONLEA, THE SEQUEL TO ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
MONTGOMERY, L.M. Anne of Avonlea. Boston: L.C. Page, 1909. Octavo, original gilt-stamped light green cloth, mounted cover label, uncut. $1250.
First edition, first issue, of Montgomery’s second “Anne” novel, with front cover label and frontispiece portrait by George Gibbs.
The story of the red-haired orphan Anne Shirley and the elderly brother and sister who adopt her "is the most popular and enduring of a host of girls' stories published in the United States and Canada in the first years of the 20th century" (Carpenter & Pritchard, 25-26). "Montgomery began writing about Anne as a serial for a Sunday school periodical in the spring of 1904. The character became so real that she eventually decided to develop the idea into a full novel. Much as she would later with readers, Anne took hold of her creator, developing into a feisty, imaginative little being who demanded to be noticed and loved" (Keeline, 41). Anne of Green Gables, the first novel in a series of eight, was published in 1908. "At the end of Anne of Green Gables, Anne is sixteen-and-a-half. The precocious child has grown into an intelligent—but still imaginative and hard-headed—teenager. Anne faces a bend in the road: Matthew has died, and Marilla, who is losing her eyesight, is faced with selling Green Gables, which she cannot manage alone. Anne gives up her plans to go to college in order to stay home with Marilla. While preparing Anne of Green Gables for publication, [publisher Lewis C.] Page asked Montgomery to begin working on a sequel. She had not planned for this while writing the original story. She was somewhat nonplussed, and regretted that she had included Matthew's death in the first book. But there was nothing for it but to go on, and on she went with the story, taking Anne from girlhood to young womanhood" in Anne of Avonlea (Keeline, 43). First issue, dated "September, 1909" on the copyright page. Copies are found in both buff and light green cloth bindings, as here. Without virtually unobtainable dust jacket. With eight-page publisher's catalogue at rear. Contemporary date in ink. Neat owner stamp.
Interior generally quite nice, light soiling and a bit of wear to original cloth. Exceptionally good condition.