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“L.M Montgomery and the Matter of Nature” wins the Gabrielle Roy Prize

Book co-edited by UPEI’s Dr. Jean Mitchell wins the Association of Canadian and Quebec Literatures’ annual prize for literary criticism
Posted: 
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
L. M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) is published by McGill-Queen’s University Press

L. M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s), a book co-edited by UPEI’s Dr. Jean Mitchell, has won the 2018 Association of Canadian and Quebec Literatures’ (AQCL) Gabrielle Roy Prize. The AQCL recognizes two books every year with this prestigious award for literary criticism, one in French and one in English. This year’s awards were announced at the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“On behalf of the Faculty of Arts, I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Jean Mitchell,” said Dr. Neb Kujundzic, dean of Arts at UPEI. “To receive a nationally recognized award is a great honour for the faculty and the University of Prince Edward Island.”

“This well-curated collection of essays approaches the intersection of humanity and nature from diverse and exciting perspectives,” reads the feedback from the award jury. Although the individual essays come from a variety of fields, including (but not limited to) literature, animal studies, and law, the collection is both concise and coherent. These excellent analyses of familiar texts and figures provide new and useful insights into individual works and the larger field of ecocritical studies generally.  L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s)illustrates what anyone familiar with the orchard in Anne of Green Gables already knows—that Montgomery’s flair for pastoral writing is among her finest attributes as a serious writer.”

Dr. Jean Mitchell is an associate professor of anthropology at UPEI. She co-edited L. M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) with Dr. Rita Bode of Trent University. The book is a critical study of L.M. Montgomery’s relationship to the material world and the revealing interconnections between nature and culture.

From the publisher’s website:

L.M. Montgomery’s writings are replete with enchanting yet subtle and fluid depictions of nature that convey her intense appreciation for the natural world. At a time of ecological crises, intensifying environmental anxiety, and burgeoning eco-critical perspectives, L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) repositions the Canadian author’s relationship to nature in terms of current environmental criticism across several disciplines, introducing a fresh approach to her life and work. 

Drawing on a wide range of Montgomery’s novels as well as her journals, this collection suggests that socio-ecological relationships encompass ideas of reciprocity, affiliation, autonomy, and the capacity for transformation in both the human and more-than-human worlds, and that these ideas are integral to Montgomery’s vision and her literary legacy. Framed by the twin themes of materiality and interrelationships, essays by scholars of literature, law, animal studies, anthropology, and ecology examine place, embodiment, and difference in Montgomery’s works and embrace the multiplicities embedded in the concept of nature. 

Through innovative critical approaches, L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) opens up conversations about humans’ interactions with nature and the material environment.

Congratulations, Dr. Mitchell!

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.

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