After Green Gables: L.M. Montgomery's Letters to Ephraim Weber, 1916-1941
University of Toronto Press, 2006 - Literary Collections - 288 pages
Ephraim Weber (1870–1956) was a struggling young writer when he began corresponding with L.M. Montgomery (1874–1942) in 1902, six years before she published her first novel. Weber's initial letter was that of an admirer. Montgomery responded warmly, and the two quickly began a correspondence that became an intellectual mainstay for both of them over the following forty years. After Green Gables is a fascinating collection of letters sent by Montgomery to Weber between 1916 and 1941. This was the period of Montgomery's greatest literary success, but privately she was deeply troubled by her unhappy marriage.
The letters, revealing an intense social and intellectual dynamic between Montgomery and Weber, cover, among other subjects, their strong differences of opinion on matters such as pacifism and war and their joint rejection of the effects of literary modernism. Drawing on Weber's voluminous correspondence with other Canadian figures – particularly journalist Wilfred Eggleston – editors Paul Tiessen and Hildi Froese Tiessen skilfully illuminate Weber's interaction with Montgomery, especially in matters concerning literature and culture, religion and politics, and education and entertainment. The editors provide various readings of Weber, based on his aspirations as a writer, his active participation in the Canadian culture of his day (including his friendships with hometown schoolmate William Lyon Mackenzie King and community leader Leslie Staebler), and his heritage as a Mennonite.
After Green Gables brings to life a distinctly Canadian literary and intellectual association of writers. Montgomery's letters to a man committed to writing and to the cultural development of Canada reveal her intellectual preoccupations and her personal hardships. This is an essential text for Montgomery fans and scholars as well as readers with an interest in the development of Canada's literary culture.