A Maud of her own: re-visioning L.M. Montgomery’s “Western Eden” in Melanie Fishbane’s historical fiction
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 07:15 by Jessica Young
This major research paper considers the connection between the genre of historical fiction and the complex dynamics of revisionist history in Melanie Fishbane’s young adult novel Maud: A Novel inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery (2017). More specifically, this study critically examines how Fishbane appropriates L.M. Montgomery’s Western Canadian writings for her own purposes to update complex social realities and sensibilities in her historical novel. Because Montgomery’s personal and fictional writings reveal a deeply conflicted and contradictory ideological stance on race issues, particularly where Indigenous peoples are concerned, which may frustrate or alienate 21st century mass readership, Fishbane opted to make her character, Maud, more sympathetic towards the plight of the Indigenous peoples in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; this revisionist approach, I argue, has potential to gloss over the real Montgomery’s more problematic and more heteroglossic representations on race. This study’s findings indicate that the revisionist nature of historical fiction, moulded by the new context in which it is written, influences the way that texts and historical figures, like L.M. Montgomery are re-imagined and re-written.