Daniela Janes teaches Canadian literature at the University of Toronto Mississauga. A life-long re-reader of L.M. Montgomery’s works, she has taught the novels Anne of Green Gables, Rilla of Ingleside, and Emily of New Moon in classes on Canadian literature, children’s literature, the First World War, and the artist novel. She has presented her work on Rilla and the print culture of WWI and on Rilla and trauma at conferences in Charlottetown and Toronto. Daniela is a member of the steering committee of “Conversations about L.M. Montgomery,” a virtual discussion series launched during the pandemic to connect Montgomery readers. She has also published articles on historical fiction, social reform writing, the castaway narrative, and the short story cycle.
L.M. Montgomery’s First World War novel, Rilla of Ingleside, is a text preoccupied with time. The novel paces through the harrowing years of war along a horizontal axis, chronologically following its young heroine from youth to maturity. Its structure, though, illustrates the gap between two modes of experiencing and representing time: standard time, a system of measurement that is external and objective, and autobiographical time, which is wrapped up in the personality and perceptions of the experiencing subject. Montgomery’s novel juxtaposes standard time and autobiographical time to capture the individual, subjective experience of war and to register the war’s private traumatic impact. The disjunction between standard time and autobiographical time in Rilla of Ingleside demonstrates the slipperiness of time as a human experience, emphasizing its abstract, individualized nature in the context of war-time trauma. I argue that through characters’ processes of organizing and understanding time, we witness the ongoing battle to make meaning out of the war.
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