Canadians are up in arms about a recent makeover of beloved literary heroine Anne of Green Gables.
A new Three in One edition of the novel, produced by CreateSpace, depicts the well known youthful and, until now, red-headed heroine as a tawdry blonde teenager, sparking a fierce backlash from scholars and fans alike. CreateSpace did not respond to requests for comment, but readers are seeing red, and not in a good way.
“What a different life Anne would have led if she had been the peachy, buxom, gold-tressed maiden that graces the cover of this edition,” one reader wrote. “Anne’s fiery hair, unfortunate complexion and gangly build define her character… for she learns to cultivate ideals of inner and outer beauty,” one Amazon.ca reader commented.
And the cover had even had our Twitter followers armed and ready with their own particularly cultural form of protest, “this is far from over… PEI is potato country, so yes, poutine bombs may be launched.”
The image contradicts the specific textual references to Anne’s appearance and is committing what some are calling a “character assassination of a figure known for her vivid imagination and knack of defying convention.”
In an interview with Global News, Nick Mount, Canadian literature professor at the University of Toronto, speculates that the image was used in part to contravene strict copyright protections. Although the text is part of the public domain, the image of red-headed, pig tailed Anne is owned jointly by the province of Prince Edward Island and the heirs to the author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s estate.
Anne Of Green Gables herself, Megan Follows, who won a Gemini playing the literary character back in 1985, is giving the producer the benefit of the doubt saying, “perhaps the person who picked the photo is colour blind. We’ll give them that.”
But Professor Mount is on readers’ sides, saying “if there’s any one book that Canadians, even today in this generation, continue to have in common it’s Anne of Green Gables, so messing with this particular image is asking for trouble.”