Anne of Green Gables
Cover art of the first edition
AuthorLucy Maud Montgomery
IllustratorM. A. and W. A. J. Claus
Cover artistGeorge Gibbs[1]
CountryWritten and set in Canada, published in the United States[2][3]
SeriesAnne of Green Gables
SubjectLittle orphan girl
Set inPrince Edward Island
PublishedJune 13, 1908
PublisherL.C. Page & Co.[4]
Followed byAnne of Avonlea 
TextAnne of Green Gables at Wikisource

Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery (published as L. M. Montgomery). Written for all ages, it has been considered a classic children's novel since the mid-20th century. Set in the late 19th century, the novel recounts the adventures of 11 year old orphan girl Anne Shirley sent by mistake to two middle-aged siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who had originally intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in the fictional town of Avonlea in Prince Edward Island, Canada. The novel recounts how Anne makes her way through life with the Cuthberts, in school, and within the town.

Since its publication, Anne of Green Gables has been translated into at least 36 languages and has sold more than 50 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books worldwide.[5] It was the first of many novels; Montgomery wrote numerous sequels, and since her death another sequel has been published, as well as an authorized prequel titled Before Green Gables.[6] This prequel was written in 2008 by Budge Wilson[7] to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the book series. The original book is taught to students around the world.[8]

The book has been adapted as films, television films, and animated and live-action television series. Musicals and plays have also been created, with productions annually in Canada, Europe and Japan.[9][10][11]


The portrait of Evelyn Nesbit by Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr. which inspired Montgomery.[12]

In writing the novel, Montgomery was inspired by notes she had made as a young girl about two siblings who were mistakenly sent an orphan girl instead of the boy they had requested, yet decided to keep her. She drew upon her own childhood experiences in rural Prince Edward Island, Canada. Montgomery used a photograph of Evelyn Nesbit, which she had clipped from New York's Metropolitan Magazine and put on the wall of her bedroom as the model for the face of Anne Shirley and a reminder of her "youthful idealism and spirituality."[12]

Montgomery was inspired by the "formula Ann" orphan stories (called such because they followed such a predictable formula) that were popular at the time, but distinguished her character by spelling her name with an extra "e".[13][14] She based other characters, such as Gilbert Blythe, in part on people she knew. She said she wrote the novel in the twilight of the day, while sitting at her window and overlooking the fields of Cavendish.[15]


Anne Shirley, a young orphan from the fictional community of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia (based upon the real community of New London, Prince Edward Island),[16][17] is sent to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, unmarried siblings in their fifties and sixties, after a childhood spent in strangers' homes and orphanages. Marilla and Matthew had originally decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage to help Matthew run their farm at Green Gables, which is set in the fictional town of Avonlea (based on Cavendish, Prince Edward Island). Through a misunderstanding, the orphanage sends Anne instead.

Anne is fanciful, imaginative, eager to please, and dramatic. She is also adamant her name should always be spelt with an "e" at the end. However, she is defensive about her appearance, despising her red hair, freckles and pale, thin frame, but liking her nose. She is talkative, especially when it comes to describing her fantasies and dreams. At first, stern Marilla says Anne must return to the orphanage, but after much observation and consideration, along with kind, quiet Matthew's encouragement, Marilla decides to let her stay.

Anne takes much joy in life and adapts quickly, thriving in the close-knit farming village. Her imagination and talkativeness soon brighten up Green Gables.

Anne attacks Gilbert

The book recounts Anne's struggles and joys in settling in to Green Gables (the first real home she's ever known): the country school where she quickly excels in her studies; her friendship with Diana Barry, the girl living next door (her best or "bosom friend" as Anne fondly calls her); her budding literary ambitions; and her rivalry with her classmate Gilbert Blythe, who teases her about her red hair. For that, he earns her instant hatred, although he apologizes several times. As time passes, however, Anne realizes she no longer hates Gilbert, but her pride and stubbornness keep her from speaking to him.

The book also follows Anne's adventures in Avonlea. Episodes include play-time with her friends Diana, calm, placid Jane Andrews, and beautiful, boy-crazy Ruby Gillis. She has run-ins with the unpleasant Pye sisters, Gertie and Josie, and frequent domestic "scrapes" such as dyeing her hair green while intending to dye it black, and accidentally getting Diana drunk by giving her what she thinks is raspberry cordial but which turns out to be currant wine.

At sixteen, Anne goes to Queen's Academy to earn a teaching license, along with Gilbert, Ruby, Josie, Jane, and several other students, excluding Diana, much to Anne's dismay. She obtains her license in one year instead of the usual two and wins the Avery Scholarship awarded to the top student in English. This scholarship would allow her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree at the fictional Redmond College (based on the real Dalhousie University) on the mainland in Nova Scotia.

Near the end of the book, however, tragedy strikes when Matthew dies of a heart attack after learning that all of his and Marilla's money has been lost in a bank failure. Out of devotion to Marilla and Green Gables, Anne gives up the scholarship to stay at home and help Marilla, whose eyesight is failing. She plans to teach at the Carmody school, the nearest school available, and return to Green Gables on weekends. In an act of friendship, Gilbert Blythe gives up his teaching position at the Avonlea School to work at the White Sands School instead, knowing that Anne wants to stay close to Marilla after Matthew's death. After this kind act, Anne and Gilbert's friendship is cemented, and Anne looks forward to what life will bring next.


Diana and Anne

The Green Gables household

Anne's friends/classmates

Avonlea's locals


Publication history

Anne of Green Gables was first published by L.C. Page & Co. of Boston on June 13, 1908.[18] The book quickly became a best seller. Over 19,000 copies were sold in the first five months. Since then, over 50 million copies have been sold worldwide.[19] A full scan of the first edition, first impression is provided by the L. M. Montgomery Institute.

Montgomery's original manuscript is preserved by the Confederation Centre of the Arts, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The centre has announced a project to publish images of the manuscript online in 2022. A transcript of the manuscript was published by Nimbus Publishing in 2019.

Montgomery's original typescript and the corrected proofs are lost.[20]

The first edition has errors in the text. Critical editions will identify corrections that have been applied to the text by the editor. The choice of corrections depends on the editor, and will vary between editions. As an example, the Penguin Classics edition,[21] edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, lists the following corrections:

Penguin Classics: Corrections to the 1st edition of Anne of Green Gables
Chapter Page Text With Link Description
TOC vii Mrs. Rachael Lynde Is Surprised Change to Rachel, to match the body of the text
TOC vii Mrs. Rachael Lynde Is Properly Horrified Change to Rachel, to match the body of the text
1 3 people called “Rachel Lynde’s husband—was Add close-quote, after husband
1 8 Barnado boy Misspelled, should be Barnardo
8 82 anl then studied diligently Misspelled, should be and then
16 169 to forget, said Anne Missing end-quote after forget
17 187 Ella May Macpherson Capitalize to MacPherson
20 231 resent the license Change to repent
25 272 it is much as he did Change to it is as much as he did
30 335 must win. because it Change to comma must win, because it
30 335 tucked ‘Ben-Hur’ between Change to Ben Hur, to make consistent
32 365 Spurgeon stayed resolutely away Add period after away.
35 398 professor Tremaine Capitalize to Professor Tremaine
38 426 told her Thomas that night. Change period to colon that night:

Related works

Based on the popularity of her first book, Montgomery wrote a series of sequels to continue the story of her heroine Anne Shirley.

Lucy Maud Montgomery's books on Anne Shirley:
Book Date published Timeline year
1 Anne of Green Gables 1908 11–16
2 Anne of Avonlea 1909 16–18
3 Anne of the Island 1915 18–22
4 Anne of Windy Poplars (Canada and USA)
Anne of Windy Willows (UK and Australia)
1936 22–25
5 Anne's House of Dreams 1917 25–27
6 Anne of Ingleside 1939 34–40
The following books focus on Anne's children, or on other family friends. Anne appears in these volumes, but plays a lesser part.
Book Date published Timeline year
7 Rainbow Valley 1919 41–43
8 Rilla of Ingleside 1921 49–53
9 The Blythes Are Quoted 2009 40–75
Anne Shirley features in one story (and is referenced in other stories) in each of the following collections:
Book Date published Timeline year
Chronicles of Avonlea 1912 approx. 20
Further Chronicles of Avonlea 1920 approx. 20

The prequel, Before Green Gables (2008), was written by Budge Wilson with authorization of heirs of L. M. Montgomery.

Tourism and merchandising

The Green Gables farmhouse located in Cavendish
Sign marking trail through Balsam Hollow

The Green Gables farmhouse is located in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. Many tourist attractions on Prince Edward Island have been developed based on the fictional Anne, and provincial licence plates once bore her image.[22] Balsam Hollow, the forest that inspired the Haunted Woods and Campbell Pond, the body of water which inspired The Lake of Shining Waters, both described in the book, are located in the vicinity.[23] In addition, the Confederation Centre of the Arts has featured the wildly successful Anne of Green Gables musical on its mainstage every summer for over five decades.[24] The Anne of Green Gables Museum is located in Park Corner, PEI, in a home that inspired L.M. Montgomery.[25]

The province and tourist facilities have highlighted the local connections to the internationally popular novels. Anne of Green Gables has been translated into 36 languages.[26][27] "Tourism by Anne fans is an important part of the Island economy".[28] Merchants offer items based on the novels.

The novel has been very popular in Japan, where it is known as Red-haired Anne (赤毛のアン (Akage no An)),[29][30] and where it has been included in the national school curriculum since 1952. 'Anne' is revered as "an icon" in Japan, especially since 1979 when this story was broadcast as anime, Anne of Green Gables. Japanese couples travel to Prince Edward Island to have civil wedding ceremonies on the grounds of the Green Gables farm. Some Japanese girls arrive as tourists with red-dyed hair styled in pigtails, to look like Anne.[31] In 2014, the Asadora 'Hanako to Anne', which was about Hanako Muraoka, the first person to translate Anne into Japanese, was broadcast and Anne became popular among old and young alike.

A replica of the Green Gables house in Cavendish is located in the theme park Canadian World in Ashibetsu, Hokkaido, Japan. The park was a less expensive alternative for Japanese tourists instead of traveling to P.E.I. The park hosted performances featuring actresses playing Anne and Diana. The theme park is open during the summer season with free admission, though there are no longer staff or interpreters.[32]

An actress as Anne of Green Gables at the Green Gables Museum
An actress as Anne at Green Gables

The Avonlea theme park near Cavendish and the Cavendish Figurines shop have trappings so that tourists may dress like the book's characters for photos.[33] Souvenir shops throughout Prince Edward Island offer numerous foods and products based on details of the 'Anne Shirley' novels. Straw hats for girls with sewn-in red braids are common, as are bottles of raspberry cordial soda.[34]

Panorama of Green Gable farmhouse and grounds in Cavendish
Entrance to Anne of Green Gables Museum in Park Corner

Legacy and honours

Postage stamps
Reading lists


Films (theatrical)

The first filmed appearance of Anne Shirley was in the 1919 silent film, Anne of Green Gables, in which the role was played by Mary Miles Minter. The film was directed by William Desmond Taylor. As of 2011, no prints of this silent film adaptation are known to survive. The 1919 film version moved the story from Prince Edward Island to New England, which one American critic—unaware that the novel was set in Canada—praised for "the genuine New England atmosphere called for by the story".[44] Montgomery herself was infuriated with the film for changing Anne from a Canadian to an American, writing in her diary:

It was a pretty little play well photographed, but I think if I hadn't already known it was from my book, that I would never had recognized it. The landscape and folks were 'New England', never P.E Island...A skunk and an American flag were introduced-both equally unknown in PE Island. I could have shrieked with rage over the latter. Such crass, blatant Yankeeism!.[44]

Montgomery disapproved of Minter's performance, writing she had portrayed "a sweet, sugary heroine utterly unlike my gingerly Anne", and complained about a scene where Shirley waved about a shotgun as something as her Anne would never do.[45]

In the 1934 adaptation of the novel, Anne was portrayed by Dawn O'Day, who legally changed her name to "Anne Shirley." She reprised the role in Anne of Windy Poplars, a 1940 film adaptation. Montgomery liked the 1934 film more than the 1919 film, not least because now the book's dialogue could be portrayed on the silver screen and that two scenes were filmed on location in Prince Edward Island (though the rest of the film was shot in California), but still charged that neither the 1919 nor 1934 versions of Anne of Green Gables quite got her book right.[46] Writing about the 1934 version of Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery wrote in her diary that it was a "thousand times" better than the 1919 version, but still it: "was so entirely different from my vision of the scenes and the people that it did not seem like my book at all".[45] The British scholar Faye Hammill wrote that 1934 film version stripped Anne of the "Canadian and feminist" aspects that the Anne of the books possessed, stating that there was something about Anne that Hollywood cannot get right.[46] Hammill observed that the idea that Anne was entirely cheerful is a product of the film and television versions as the Anne of the books has to deal with loss, rejection, cruel authority figures, and loneliness.[46]



Radio productions

Stage productions

Television films and episodic series (animated)

Anne as she appeared in the 1979 Japanese anime adaptation of Anne of Green Gables.
Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series

Television films and episodic series (live action)

Web productions


As one of the most familiar characters in Canadian literature, Anne of Green Gables has been parodied by several Canadian comedy troupes, including CODCO (Anne of Green Gut) and The Frantics (Fran of the Fundy).


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