Beguiling royalty is entirely in keeping with Anne’s range of influence. Anne of Green Gables has been translated into more than 36 languages, and Anne’s idiosyncrasies have proved endlessly adaptable. Swedish readers “responded to her abilities to see through sham,” says Mary Rubio of Guelph University. In Poland, her loyalty to homespun family values won her a devoted following. Young women in Japan, where Anne of Green Gables first appeared in a 1952 translation, welcomed the wise girl who defied authority – behaviour considered unwomanly in postwar Japanese culture.
A malleable character who can be all things to all people clearly has value as a lure for visitors. Margaret Atwood, a long-time fan, listed 32 reasons why Anne attracts Japanese readers in an article for Britain’s Guardian newspaper. They include: her passion for cherry blossoms, her exotic red hair, her willingness to work hard (while still being able to dream), her respect for elders, her appreciation of poetry and her talent for escaping the Japanese taboo that tempers must be held in check.
This, in the end, is the most universal of Anne’s good qualities, says Ms. Epperly. “Anne personifies all the things we think, but dare not utter. She’s this vibrant spark that you hope can change the rigidity and insularity around her rather than be dampened by it