Alec produced a “diary” his father had kept for several years and we read it together. I don’t think I ever read anything quite so delicious in my life. Charles Macneill was an odd sort of a man, whom as a child I always loved because he was so kind to children. ... He inherited from his mother—his father was not one of “our” Macneills but his mother was—a queer streak of the Macneill literary knack …
Anne of Green Gables author L.M. Montgomery does a surprising thing in her handwritten journal of 1925: she transcribes the entire diary of her ancestor, PEI farmer Charles Macneill, into her own work.
In a journal entry dated August 4, 1923, Montgomery recounts how on a visit to PEI in 1923, a friend and cousin presented her with a unique document:
Montgomery is fascinated by this “artless” yet compelling diary. Published now for the first time is the full diary, an atmospheric depiction of the rural Island setting found in Green Gables, Emily of New Moon, and other novels. Macneill’s diary, kept between 1892 and 1896, transports us to a time before wireless communication and industrial agriculture, when people were their own farmers, doctors, and veterinarians.
As Montgomery copied out Macneill’s words, she wrote that the “sights and sounds of that old north shore farm” came back like the “voices of ghosts.” Also included in this edition is Montgomery’s commentary on the diary, where she situates her younger self in the diary’s world. Her commentary is an exploration of her own unique “mind’s eye,” her exceptional ability to recall this past world with an almost overwhelming intensity.
114 pages • 2 b/w images • 6x9 • paper
Available June 2018