September 17, 2022
In the chimney there’s a whistling, in the fields the wind soon joins in, in the clouds the party’s swinging, all the elements are singing.
Feeling green and calm,
for your hand is like lily of the valley (...)
Agnieszka Osiecka, fragment from “Zielono mi [Feeling green]”
The green of hills, peaks and gables has of łatę become the topić of a debate surrounding the novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery. This is because a new translation, by Anna Bańkowska, titled in Polish
Anne z Zielonych Szczytów has been published on the 110th anniversary of the publication of the original translation titled in Polish Ania z Zielonego Wzgórza and this has sparked a deal of controversy and fierce debate among lovers of Montgomery’s writing and literary critics. Those who have read it, and those that have no intention of reading it have all spoken up in the debate. Quite simply, it brewed up a “storm in a teacup”!
Cover of my novel Anne from the Fairytale Land of Green Gables published on Prince Edward Island by Kindred Spirits of PEI in January 2022. Kindred Spirits of PEI is run by George Campbell, host of the Anne of Green Gables Museum and a relative Lucy Maud Montgomery. It was my lengthy correspondence and friendship with George that inspired me to develop the stories of Anne from the Fairy Tale Land of Green Gables, the fi rst part of which was published separately as a short story in 2018, by Wydawnictwo Miniatura from Kraków. The current volume in novel form was created from 2018-2021.
A heated debate has sprung up around the names, the use of the diminutive form for the heroine, English-language names, the room up- stairs – the famous gable room, the roof and the location of the Cuthbert family house. Some think the author had “this” in mind, others “that”. Both “this” and “that” are, to my mind, highly debatable, as it’s hard for Lucy Maud Montgomery to join in the debate, seeing as she passed away in 1942. Some say that Ania – rather than Anne, was too childish, that today we need the more mature Anne – not Ania.
I have sat back and observed this literary ker- fuffle, ensconced in green. I’m even writing these words in green ink. Also, the loft room where Ania lives during her stay in the Fairy Tale Land of Green Gables is green. The light green, minty hue of the walls contrasts with the deep green of the wardrobe and the bed, and the cheery, pea green of the chairs. I do not doubt that my Ania is feeling green in her grandparents’ loft room.
I confess, it was not easy for me, a lover of the creativity of Lucy Maud Montgomery, someone raised on the original translation of Ania z Zie- lonego Wzgórza to get used to Anne – not Ania. In the end, though, I believe that we readers now have a choice. For some, the spirited dreamer with the vivid imagination and fiery hair will remain Ania z Zielonego Wzgórza, and for others she will be Anne z Zielonych Szczytów. I wonder if the old Ania would like today’s Anne? I do hope she would. I also believe that they would both like Anne from the Fairy Tale Land of Green Gables.
– That Green Gables really is similar to ours – said Anne with deep conviction. – Apple and cherry orchards, a stream, ferns, meadows full of dandelions, herbs, lilacs, pines and firs – she recounted excitedly. – It’s all right here.
Fragment of the novel Anne from the Fairytale Land of Green Gables, Translated by: Graham Crawford
Green is a good colour. It symbolises hope, peace, harmony and closeness to nature. It calms the soul and soothes the eye. Pastures are green, meadows, frogs and grasshoppers, too. The tops of the trees in spring are green. Chives and parsley, too. We arę surrounded by all shades of green, juicy and joyful like fresh grass, or as dark and gloomy as the ivy that wraps around the shadowy statue of a mysterious stranger. Green eyes and glances have magical power: fairies, water nymphs, or the fleurettes from my own tales. Green arę the forests and picturesque lakes. So, given there’s so much green around us, then in literature, too, there must also be enough space for both a Zielonego Wzgórza as well as Zielonych Szczytów. After all, it’s nice in green.
Weronika Madryas Author of the novel Anne from the Fairytale Land of Green Gables published by Kindred Spirits of PEI, Prince Edward Island, 2022.
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