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ANNE OF GREEN GABLES Research Project adsa


Term:

Spring

Department:

21L: Literature

Faculty Supervisor:

Marah Gubar

Faculty email:

gubar@mit.edu

Apply by:

February 1, 2020

Contact:

4124047111

Project Description

I'm looking for a student to assist me with a research project I'm doing on L.M. Montgomery's famous children's book ANNE OF GREEN GABLES (1908). I'm trying to find out when the earliest dramatic adaptations of this famous novel debuted and how they compare to the source text in terms of the amount of words Anne speaks--because the novel features Anne indulging in pages-long monologues that (I'm guessing) get shortened in actual stage representations, because even though they are monologues (an inherently dramatic form!) they ironically wouldn't work well onstage because they go on too long. Interestingly, readers who love the ANNE books don't seem to perceive these astonishingly long monologues as off-putting or narcissistic. Why not? My hypothesis is that it's because we read them as reflecting a kind of self-love that is not only _acceptable_ for Anne to engage in, but emotionally sustaining, even life-preserving (i.e. she needed to love herself because no one else was loving her during her childhood before she finds a permanent home at Green Gables). Side note: Our modern psychoanalytic conception of narcissism (as developed by Sigmund Freud) was being developed right around the time the first ANNE book was written, so I'm also interested in exploring how Montgomery's positive representation of self-involvement compares with Freud's negative depictions of narcissistic youth. Among the puzzles I'm hoping you'll help me solve are: 1) Initial research suggests that ANNE wasn't immediately adapted for the stage (even though other similarly popular children's books at that time were). Why not? Was Montgomery opposed to allowing her work to be adapted? (This will involve reading Montgomery's letters and diaries looking for evidence related to early adaptation requests, and looking for articles about the history of adaptation of ANNE and reviews of early dramatic productions.) 2) Are the monologues that Anne voices in the first ANNE book as unprecedentedly long as I suspect they are? How do they compare to speeches made by heroines in other, similar novels such as POLLYANNA? To dramatic monologues in famous plays (e.g, does Anne have much longer monologues that Hamlet)? Etc. (Answering these question will require you to help me calculate how many words she speaks in the first ANNE book, versus how many she speaks in at least one dramatic adaptation of the ANNE books; what Pollyanna's longest speech times in as; etc.). 3) Were early psychologists talking about the aftereffects of trauma on young people in ways that influenced Montgomery? Was Montgomery reading Freud (or vice versa)? Is Anne narcissistic according to Freud's definition of the term?

Pre-requisites

I'm happy to work with anyone who is patient and careful and responsible! That said, if you know how to create plain text files from OPCs (optimally characterized documents), use programs like Abbyy Firereader, and do data visualization (e.g. like making bar charts that compare how much novel-Anne talks as opposed to drama-Anne), that would be a plus. And/or if you've done research on literary texts before, that would be great--but not required, as I can teach you how to use the research tools & databases of my trade, as necessary.