Friday 10 June 2016

Anne of Green Gables' World Wide Appeal

"Despite its distinctly Canadian setting, Anne of Green Gables belongs to the world." (Canada Post)

Every Canadian knows about the flame-haired orphan who warmed her way into the hearts of Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert.  We know about Anne hitting Gilbert over the head with her slate when he teased her about her red hair.  We know about her kindred spirit, Diane, and about her tear felt goodbye to her beloved Matthew.  We remember her academic success and the trials of her first teaching assignment.

"[However] despite its distinctly Canadian setting, Anne of Green Gables belongs to the world."  (  Who would have thought that a book with such a Canadian flavour would first be published by an American company?  Lucy Maud Montgomery had already been turned down by Canadian publishers and as a last ditch effort, in 1908, approached an American one, the Page Company of Boston  (  

It should be no surprise, then, that one of Anne's earliest fans was the famous American author Mark Twain who wrote to Montgomery and praised her for creating "the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice [in Wonderland]" (

It was only a year later that Anne was translated into Swedish, titled Anne pa gronkulla.  It was so well received that two further Swedish translations followed in 1941 and 1962.  

The Swedish edition was followed in 1911 by a Polish translation titled Ania Z Zielonego Wzgorza.  During the Second World War, members of the Polish Resistance were given black market copies of Anne of Green Gables to read at the Front, inspiring them to fight for their principles.  

In 1939, a Canadian missionary visited Japan and left her prized copy of Anne of Green Gables with a friend who secretly translated the text into Japanese, Akage No An (Red-Haired Anne).  After the war, when the Japanese school system was looking for good quality Western literature, Anne of Green Gables was selected for its curriculum.  Today, generations of Japanese celebrate Anne by visiting Green Gables on Prince Edward Island.  Many celebrate Anne-themed weddings at home.  Thousands of Japanese tourists flock to the Island each year, the women often dying their hair red and fashioning it in pigtails.  The Japanese cannot get enough of Anne.  

1 comment:

  1. This is exquisite to see how true beauty in art influences future generations. I have read Anne of Green Gables several times yet it amazes me to see the fervor she still motivates. Lovely post.